Part 8 – Ping Pong Over The Abyss
In explaining to the Christians in Rome, and to other Christians afterwards, about the radical transformation that has occurred to sinners when they have come to faith, Paul finishes the sixth chapter by reminding us all of the divergent contrasts between the old life of sin and spiritual death, and the new life of intimacy with the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Paul uses the ‘human analogy’ of slavery to illustrate this transformation knowing that it isn’t a perfect illustration, but one that his readers could relate to. Before our conversion we were literal slaves to the devil, the world, and our sinful nature – doing and believing anything that was contrary to the ways of the Lord God. Although humans are capable of ‘good human works’, these works are done for selfish or ‘human’ reasons and NOT done for the glory of God. Fallen man is not capable, nor desirous of doing anything for the glory of God, so it takes a complete spiritual transformation – a taking away (crucifying of the old man) and the giving of Christ’s Spirit in exchange to make us and enable us to love and worship the Lord, and walk in holiness.
When we were in our lost state of sin everything we did pushed us further away from the Lord, and we all realize (or should by now) that even as Christians, when we give in to the crybaby cravings of the flesh we ‘give ourselves over’ to slavery to the flesh, even though it has no real authority over us. But as we walk in holiness – as we walk in the Spirit by trusting and depending on the Lord – then we grow in holiness – we become more and more like Christ, which is what He has predestined us to become like.
The Gospel is summed up for us in the last verse of the sixth chapter – the twenty-third verse – which tells us ‘For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’. Paul calls the results of sinfulness as ‘wages’ because that’s what sinners are ‘working’ towards. They refuse God’s grace so they must ‘work’, and their work only leads to greater sin and ‘greater death’ because again, it’s not done with the Spirit of Life, nor with a heart that desires to glorify the Lord. But eternal life is a gift – a gift given by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, that was wrought into our hearts by the death and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Please don’t play ping pong with the flesh and the Spirit....we won’t win. Christ finished it all and we are to rest in Him.