Thursday, May 23, 2013

Being Dead Feels Great

Having read about half of Ralph Harris' book, "God's Astounding Opinion of You", I've been reminded of truths I already knew, and have also been able to view already familiar scriptures in a new light. The chapter that Ralph used to give me new insight was the very beginning of Romans 7. Paul, in this letter is addressing both Jew and Gentile within one assembly and then speaks directly to the Jews who knew the law:

"Or do you not know, brothers...for I am speaking to those who know the law...that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives?"

This simple verse amazed me. It's so simple that I can't believe I've overlooked it in the past. Or maybe I knew it before but had forgotten. could be I knew it and still required further persuasion from the scriptures to really believe it.

The law only has power over me if I am alive. If I die, the law ceases to mean anything to me because I'm dead. What use has the law in condemning a dead man? Paul says this is literally true for the Christian. The Christian literally died with Christ on that cross so that the law could no longer have a right to judge him.

It apparently pleases God to make it so that I do not have to keep the commandments. It pleased Him! If it were not pleasing to Him, He would not have done it. What!? Are you advocating my sin, God!? Nope. He's advocating ME.

It pleases God that I don't need to worry about being good anymore. It pleases Him that He doesn't need to worry about me being good anymore. He did this so that He could have a relationship with me. If I were under the law, even just a little, so that I could try to be somewhat good, He could not justly allow me to partake of Him.

This seems so irresponsible of God. You're going to make me free? ME? I think you may be a bit too trusting, God. I'm liable to tear this place apart. But apparently it's not as big a concern to Him as it is to me. Why? Because He has already dealt with sin and judgement.

Up until now, I would shun well-intended encouragement from other Christians who would tell me "God's not as concerned about your sin as you think." This was an offense to me. Of course He is! I thought this was just some way to lie, to make me feel better and give an excuse to my sin. Now I understand what they mean. It's God's desire not to hold my sins against me. He enjoys it because that means I can be entirely devoted to Him without the fear of being cast off.

This may not be a big revelation to you, but it was to me. And it's good for me to think on this and write about it.


Jamie said...

Now, how many people were in Christ on the cross? :) Good News, indeed!

Matityahu said...

Maybe that was meant to be rhetorical, but I honestly don't know the answer to that question. I have my own suspicions.

I know Jesus said He would draw all men to Himself when He is raised up. But I think He may have been referring to His resurrection and may have been referring to all men as meaning all nations. The Gentiles being included was a big no-no for the Jews, and Jesus may have been telling them to get over their jealousy of Gentiles being a part of God's salvation.

I reject that literally all men were included in Christ on the cross. Otherwise, that would mean all men, regardless of their faith, would have been crucified with Christ, and if crucified, then resurrected. The Bible makes it plain that is not the case.