This week, we began a new series called “No Condemnation,” through which we are trying to get a deeper understanding of the grace of God. In Romans 6:10 Paul states that Christ, and we with Him, died to sin – once and for all. There are two ways in which one could die to sin. One is to die to the condemnation and punishment for sin and the other would be to die to sinful actions. There is only one of those to which Jesus could have died, and that is the first. Jesus had NO sinful actions. I know we’ve probably heard or thought that Jesus took our sins to the cross. I don’t believe that is entirely accurate. I believe that what He took to the cross was the punishment of all of man’s sin. Isaiah 53:5 says (prophetically) that the chastisement or punishment for our sin was upon Him.
Christ’s work was complete. If He had taken upon Him and died to our sinful actions, then it would be possible for one to live free of sinful actions. We know that is not the case. It is impossible for man to live free of any sinful action. The complete work that Jesus did was to die to the punishment and condemnation of sin. While it DOES take a lot of renewing of the mind to do it, it IS possible to live free from the condemnation of sin.
We already do live free of the condemnation from God – as will be witnessed by all on the day of judgment for those who have received the gift of His righteousness. We must learn to be free of self-condemnation and wrong beliefs that God is condemning us. By that Spirit, that is possible. Living free from sinful actions is not possible, however, while we live in mortal bodies.
Then Romans 6:11 goes on to tell us to “in the same way” be dead to sin and alive in Christ. Verse 12 tells us not to let sin reign in our mortal bodies. You see, Paul got it. Sin is going to BE in your mortal body. To demand it not to be would be an impossible task. What he tells us is to not let it reign. Do not let sinful actions and desires rule your life, your decisions and your destiny. Sin is always going to be there, but do not let it be the ruler of your life!
Condemnation comes when we try to live under law instead of living under grace. Law always leads to condemnation and ultimately death. Grace, however, leads to forgiveness and life. The law demands righteousness from sinful man, but grace provides righteousness to sinful man. God has not gotten soft on sin. He still hates sin and wants us to hate sin. He wants our heart to desire to break sinful habits and addictions. His concern is more for what sin does to us than the offense of the action itself. He also knows, and wants us to know, that the ONLY way to overcome sin comes when grace teaches us to say no to it (Titus 2). If we choose grace, we accept forgiveness, and it leads to life. Law demands righteousness from sinful men, but grace provides righteousness to sinful men. Exodus 32 illustrates this in contrast with pentacost….Exodus brought the law and 3000 died, Peter received the Holy Spirit through grace, and 3000 people were saved!
There has been no shortage of thou shalt in the history of the church, yet sin continues to grow and worsen. Taking hold of the grace of God is the only way to reverse the tide. Let’s get on board. Let’s receive the covenant of grace in our lives and in our homes. The law is still good in that it shows us the best ways to live, but it cannot save us. We need to stop trying to be justified by it and stop allowing ourselves to be condemned when we don’t.