Sunday, October 27, 2013

Free to Do Whatever You Want

Here is a comment I made on Facebook in a discussion over this board of Brad's:

The way that I read Romans 6-7, a Christian is now able to not let sin have mastery over him (6:12). This is not the case for the non-Christian, so I agree with J-- that there is an existential difference between a Christian and a non-Christian. However, it seems clear to me also that the REASON for the difference - the reason why sin doesn't have to have mastery over a Christian but why sin does have to have mastery over a non-Christian - is because the Christian is not under law while the non-Christian is (6:14, 7:1-6). What this means is that when we are under law and its obligations, sin stirs us to rebel (7:7-24), so that anyone under law and obligations must be a slave to sin. The law is what gives sin its power: the "have to" makes us "not want to". But since the Christian is freed from law and obligation, having died with Christ, they are now free to pursue goodness because they "want" to and not because they "have" to, and it is only in this situation of fresh air that sin doesn't gain mastery. So ironically, the very good law is our problem, not because the law is bad but because we are. Only when I am free to do whatever I want am I free to do whatever I want! I am not suggesting that Christians can just sit back and relax and expect to produce goodness - no! It is not automatic. Doing good requires effort, diligence, focus, desire, etc. We are exhorted repeatedly to do good as Christians in the New Testament... but we are never threatened! The Christian can do good if he wants to, and the trick now becomes making the Christian WANT to do good, through showing him the beauty of God in Christ, the value of his neighbor, the consequences of his actions, etc. But the key is: he is henceforth never ever to do good because he HAS to, under threat. That is the law, and that is what the Christian is freed from forevermore. So the truth is, Christians are justified and are justly free to do whatever they want. Amen. Now let us pursue goodness, because we can.

No comments: