Previous Chapter: The Ransom
For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in the life through the one man Jesus Christ.
Through the perfect act of God’s love, man’s redemption became free and available to all. This gift, as scripture affirms in the words of the Apostle Paul, is then a gift and offering which can wash away any sum of sin. There is simply no sin, or amount of sin, that can outweigh the redemption presented to us through the Christ. Therefore peace and the foundation for a charitable heart is made accessible for whomever allows for themselves the opportunity.
Inasmuch as, where we see sin as both disobedience to Life and obedience to Death, we see how all sin is sin and generally is not separable by degree. For in God’s righteous judgment any one sin, regardless of our perceived sense of severity, is considered as giving power to body of death. As all sin is then apart of one body, it is punished as one body. Accordingly, the free gift of grace is equal for each to receive as no individual is ever more worthy than another, because all have sinned and we all will sin again.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
When we were sold to death, in disobedience, we were made a servant to death doing only the will of death. It is then only by acknowledging our death in sin that we come to find the true fullness of life in God. Such life, otherwise known as living in the Holy Spirit, begins only with the birth of our spiritual self by the Spirit. As per the gospel, it is only through this spiritual birth, does one genuinely gain the perspective to shed their sinful tendencies and honestly adopt the ways of righteousness. It is only by this birth do we ever come to transform back into the image of God we were first intended to be.
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
As we make this transformation, we should always remember and account for the fact that we are always under grace never having been truly worthy for any portion of blessings from the Spirit. As a matter of fact, it is actually only through abolishing the idea of “righteousness through works” that we can ever truly be empowered to earnestly overcome the sinful passions of our bodies in the first place. Such that, the more control and glory we give to God, the more we understand how little control and how little glory we have.
For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.
In this manner, where there is a consequence of death, death has power over us. However, where there is no consequence of death, death has no power over us. Since all things lead to grace, the desire of our flesh to rebel becomes nullified and void through humility and grace. Naturally then, the words of the gospel are such that we may be led from our flesh and towards things of the spirit instead.
But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code but in the new life of the spirit.
In living according to the old law, which is in essence “righteousness through works,” is also living according to the flesh. So then, for those who try to earn their salvation or be made more worthy by their actions in the eyes of men, they are also trying to indulge their pride in their accomplishments – which is certainly an aim to satisfy the flesh. For the flesh leads man away from God, all things which lead away from God must be of the flesh.
Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
Where by the old law alone no one could ever be deemed righteous, without doubt, no one who now alone lives by the old law can be deemed righteous either. As such, all those purely living under the judgment of the law do so live without vindication before God. Where faith has become greater than works, it is only through faith (though this faith is established in the genuine act of humbling ourselves to God) that we receive the Lord’s mercy and grace. It is then only in faith that we are ever justified before the Father. It is then only in this justification that we ever become married with the Spirit which also resurrected Christ from His tomb.
…brothers, we are debtors, not of the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Where our unrighteousness to the old law had made us slaves to death, our new-found righteousness, as manifested only by the pure faith in God’s giving grace, has freed us from our slavery. In this liberation established through faith, we are then given a new authority over the hateful ambitions of our flesh. Where in love we cannot sin, we are therefore set free to love our brother and sister, our neighbor, our stranger, and our enemy and to love them demonstrating the presence of God’s love.
Assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
– Continue to Chapter 4 –
“The Reception” © 2018 ML Ainsworth
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