Sat, July 05, 2014
Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ
The struggle of the Christian man to be good while the bent toward self-assertion still lives within him as a kind of unconscious moral reflex is vividly described by the apostle Paul in the seventh chapter of his Roman Epistle; and his testimony is in full accord with the teaching of the prophets. Eight hundred years before the advent of Christ the prophet Isaiah identified sin as rebellion against the will of God and the assertion of the right of each man to choose for himself the way he shall go. "All we like sheep have gone astray," he said, "we have turned everyone to his own way," and I believe that no more accurate description of sin has ever been given.
The witness of the saints has been in full harmony with prophet and apostle, that an inward principle of self lies at the source of human conduct, turning everything men do into evil. To save us completely, Christ must reverse the bent of our nature; He must plant a new principle within us so that our subsequent conduct will spring out of a desire to promote the honor of God and the good of our fellow men. The old self-sins must die, and the only instrument by which they can be slain is the cross. "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me," said our Lord, and years later the victorious Paul could say, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me."
My God, shall sin its power maintain
And in my soul defiant live!
‘Tis not enough that Thou forgive,
The cross must rise and self be slain.
O God of love, Thy power disclose:
‘Tis not enough that Christ should rise,
I, too, must seek the brightening skies,
And rise from death, as Christ arose.
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."
No more accurate description of sin has been given that the words found in Isaiah 53:6: "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, / each of us has turned to his own way."
Father, give us the strength to deny our selfish desires and to turn to You for our salvation.