KNOW, RECKON AND YIELD

As a believer in Christ I have to know some things. The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans five that we were all in Adam when he sinned therefore we all sinned. That’s not such good news but thank God the story doesn’t end there. We also discover that just as sin entered into the world through one man, righteousness also came in through one man. His name is Jesus or the last Adam. “In Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.”

The Apostle Paul closes Romans five saying, “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more…” Obviously he knew how most readers would hear this so he went right ahead in Romans six and asked the question, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?” Of course his response to the hypothetical question is “God forbid.” He then tells us we have died to sin so how are we going to still live in it? You see if all that happened was us being washed in an outward manner we probably would want to keep sinning, but the good news is part of the New Covenant was the promise of a new heart. With a new heart that loves God we aren’t going to want to sin and that’s the key. Once our wants get lined up with God’s wants we are well on our way.

Continuing on, there is something else we need to know. First he asks, “Do you not know that we have been baptized into Christ’s death?” In other words we have been crucified with Christ and our old man has died. That’s right that old sinning man we used to be in Adam is gone. We have died to sin and are free; so why would we want to go back into the bondage sin always brings?

Some of the trouble arises with believers, and them knowing they’re dead to sin, because they still feel the pull of sin. Feeling the pull of sin doesn’t indicate we have to obey it. This would be like having one of your old bosses calling you on the phone to tell you to do things for him. Since you used to listen to his demands your first reaction may be to do what he says, but if the truth be told he is no longer your boss. You don’t have to listen to him anymore. You have a new boss now. You are dead to that old boss.

Once we see we are dead to sin we have to count on it. The King James Bible tells us to “reckon.” The word “reckon” is an accounting term. Another word for “balancing” your checkbook is reconciling. For instance if you have $100 you wouldn’t reckon you have $500. In the same way God is telling us we are dead to sin so we are safe to reckon on it. God wouldn’t tell us to reckon on it if it wasn’t true. So we can trust that we are in fact dead to sin and alive to God; we can count on it.

The last thing we read in Romans six is we are to yield ourselves to God. Once we know we have been crucified with Christ and we reckon on being dead to sin, we have to yield ourselves to God for his purposes. Just as we use to give ourselves to our old sin boss; now we are told to give ourselves to our new boss Jesus Christ. Our humanity is seen as the same instrument, or weapon, only now we are being wielded by another. In other words, it was never our humanity that was wrong it was the master that ruled us. Now that we have been crucified and raised with Christ, we walk in newness of life with our humanity back on track to be what God intended which is for Christ to be fully formed in us.

Louie

Advertisements

NEW HEART, NEW SPIRIT, NEW WANT TO

I  will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. (Ezekiel 36:26-27)

These are the main two verses I used tonight while speaking to the men in jail. I shared with them that God isn’t looking at us as if to say, “You should be doing better than that.” Rather he’s looking at us, if we haven’t been born again, saying, “I will give you my Son, I will put my Spirit in you and change you from the inside out.” Ever since I first read these verses I have been in awe of them. To think that most people are trying to live the Christian life in their own strength and hundreds of years ago God promised He, Himself, would move us to do what he says.

It seems as though I’m always taking these guys all the way back to the Garden of Eden to explain why we’re in the condition we’re in. Without seeing that Adam died in his spirit when he disobeyed, we can’t really see that we too were dead in our trespasses and sins. I want so badly for others to see that we have a deeper problem than just bad behavior. We have to be enlivened by God’s Spirit.

According to the scriptures, we have been crucified with Christ, buried and even resurrected to walk in newness of life. It isn’t that he wants to make us “bad people”, good. He wants to resurrect our dead Adamic spirit. Once we have been joined to Christ, we’ll begin to see changes in our behavior. That’s the part about him causing us to walk in his statutes and observe his ordinances. It can only happen after our heart transplant and Spirit infusion.

As I shared these things with the men tonight I could tell some were quickly becoming distracted, some were really scrunching their faces wanting to get hold of what I was saying, and others were sitting with their heads down. One of the men sitting right up front raised his hand and spoke up saying, “What you’re saying may be a little deceiving…You’re saying to just place your faith in Christ but the Bible says, “faith without works is dead.” I reminded him that Jesus said he was the vine and we are the branches, and apart from him we can do nothing. I agreed with him that there will be “works” but only as a result of Christ and us joined together not us independently attempting to do things “for” God. Our main work is to agree with him and he will move us on to good deeds.

Overall, my point to them tonight was God wants to change our hearts and our want to’s. There’s a story I once heard a preacher tell. He said back when he was a lost man he used to love to fight. He said, “I used to love fighting so much if I were to drive down the street and see two men fighting I would stop and ask if one of them wanted to rest a while.” He went on to say, “Since I became a Christian I can fight all I want to, I just don’t want to. I can chase all the women I want to, I just don’t want to. I can drink all I want to, I just don’t want to.” I thought this summed the night up pretty well. God is after our hearts. If he can get our heart he’ll have all of us.

My wife Tracey says it like this. “I don’t clean the house or cook dinner for Louie because I have to. I do it because I love him and I want to.” She doesn’t have to look on the refrigerator every morning to read the Ten Commandments of how to love my husband; she just loves the one she is joined to and the works, if you will, are the outward evidence.

Louie

A NEW HEART

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them.” This is the promise God gave to Israel way back in the time of Ezekiel and was fulfilled at Pentecost as recorded in the second chapter of Acts. This is an awesome promise and it is worth looking at a little closer.

Keeping a long list of laws in order to please God was never his intention. I believe God gave Israel a list of laws in the hopes that they would see how far from him they were and would cry out to him for help. The problem was Israel (we) was so hardheaded and stiff necked they didn’t get it. Jesus himself said these people come near me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. All along God wanted a relationship with us, his creation, made in his image.

It seems as if it takes trial after trial and struggle after struggle to wear us down. Once we are sufficiently broken He can come to us with the offer of a new way. This is where the new heart and spirit come in. God all along knew we couldn’t keep his laws, but we didn’t. We at first are so proud and sure of ourselves. I mean how full of yourself do you have to be to think you can please a perfect and Holy God in your own ability?

According to God’s promise he will give us a new heart and spirit and will cause us to walk in his statutes, and keep his judgments. What! are you kidding me? He is going to obey his own laws through us. Do you mean all my struggling and striving to keep God’s laws and trying to please him isn’t necessary?

It is true Jesus Christ did in fact pay the price to make that new heart and spirit available to us. It wasn’t free, it cost God everything he had. He gave his only begotten Son to die that we might live. In doing this he opened the way for us to receive the new heart and spirit. As the old Hymn says “Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain he washed it white as snow.”

I can say that he did in fact give me a new heart and mind. The result is that we love what he loves and hate what he hates. I know this is what has happened in my life. Since coming to know Jesus Christ I can drink all I want to, I just don’t want to. I can chase all the women I want to, I just don’t want to. I can fight all I want to, I just don’t want to. So you see God can change your want to’s. In fact that is the only way you will ever be pleasing to God. In the flesh (our own ability) we cannot please God. Thanks be unto God he has given us a new heart and spirit.

Written by Louie