Judgment and Chastisement, there are two traditional answers in the hallways of religion to why Christians should not think they should continue in sin; spankings from God and judgments from God. Paul gives two entirely different reasons, instead of chastisement and judgment, Paul holds up two entirely different issues, identity and slavery.
Paul would have us ask ourselves, Who am I? Paul told us how we were at the point of our belief, we became fully identified with our Savior, in union with him, so that we actually became a part of him. In a very real sense: Two becoming one flesh from the standpoint of God.
Being fully identified with Jesus Christ means that we died when Christ died. Unbelievers are under no obligation to serve righteousness, because the unsaved world is simply serving the master they are under. Human righteousness comes from self interest motivation, it is self glorifying and while it may be of earthly benefit, that will not cut it when it comes to meeting the demands of God’s perfect justice.
Paul is just bringing this to our attention, and he is not taking us to judgment and chastisement, he is taking us to identity and obligation. We serve God to no greater degree than we serve those to whom he’s joined, and they are joined to Christ equally.
My service to God, is no greater than my service to you. Your service to God, is no greater than your service to the one in Christ’s Body that you like the least. Choices to make? You can not lose your salvation, but you can certainly reap a boatload of harm to yourself and others around you, and we are doing it everyday.
What went wrong that caused people who had dedicated their lives to the Lord, to then feel the necessity to re-dedicate themselves all over again? Well meaning pastors of more than one denominational persuasion attempt to seek decisions by those in their congregations.
People are invited to come and accept Christ as Savior, come and get saved is the idea, but after the initial invitation for salvation, there was always a second invitation after the final person came forward, this was the invitation for those who had already been saved to come and to re-dedicate their lives to the Lord.
The problem people face is that they are generally working under a faulty premise to begin with. Saving faith will ALWAYS walk the walk. The idea being: If you are truly saved, you will stop sinning and you will begin living for the Lord that you love!
The fact that in our flesh dwells no good thing, it is impossible for the flesh to produce the measure of righteousness that belongs to God. If we are truly honest with ourselves, how many of us can say that we love God more than we love sin?
To say that you no longer love sin is saying something else. That would be the same as saying that for you there is no such thing as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Take away the desire to sin, the temptation, the urging, the yearning to do that which is not appropriate and that temptation itself, the urging would not exist if the sin nature was gone.
To remove temptation is to remove the sin nature, temptation comes as a result of the lusts associated with our sin nature, but “tempted” can also be used in the sense of a trying, or a testing totally apart from an issue of sin.
How is it that Christ is the one who is performing that which is good through us, rather than our flesh performing that which is good for Christ? The Idea in Romans 5:5, is God’s love for us. God’s love FOR you is shed abroad in your heart and mind through the realization that God’s love accomplished some fantastic things on our behalf.
Apart from an understanding of the love of God, the love he has for us, the love of Christ and what that love accomplished for us while we were yet sinners, our only motivation to serve others would be self-interest related.
There are a lot of good people out there doing a lot of good things for the sole purpose of being able to feel good about themselves in having done those things. God’s energizing power from on high can produce in you that which God needs from you.
The identity that you have in Christ and the Word of God can do the work of God in your life. It was not Paul’s use of grace age rules proposed within the halls of the religion of Paul’s day and it was not Paul’s love for Christ that motivated Paul to sin less, it was Christ’s selfless love for Paul.
It was the new identity Christ accomplished for Paul that made such a great impact upon Paul. It is not striving to become a better someone, it is recognizing the someone God has already made us to be. When we come to fully understand and appreciate that new identity we have in the second Adam (Jesus Christ), the striving can end.