Monday, May 18, 2015
HOW TO BE FREE
What a vivid picture Paul gives us! If we're honest, every human will admit to having a moral center that knows what is right and wrong. Even the most ardent atheist will admit that human trafficking is wrong or that child abuse is abhorrent. No one will argue that theft or abuse of power runs against all decency. Yet, most of us don't wish to bring it to a personal level, like the apostle does. Only the penitent will look inside and see the wretched state of the soul as it rebels against each commandment, as if that commandment had opened some new opportunity for villainy.
"Thou shalt not covet!" and we start looking around, eying what others have, comparing and wanting more of other people's things or circumstances.
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me!" and we begin putting our hope in other means of securing our needs, such as money, fame, popularity or superstition.
Of course, many will know they covet, know they set up other gods, or commit adultery in their minds, or steal, lie and hate, but chalk it up to being "human." Nothing more to see here.
Yet, in the same breath, we decry injustice and suffering.
Those things are cut from the same cloth. Our hearts yearn to delight in the law of God. But only the penitent person will come to the shocking conclusion, "Wretched man/woman that I am!"
Paul pictures our 'flesh,' or sinful, rebellious nature as a "body of death." Back in Paul's day someone devised a torturous execution method by which a man would be tied to a rotting corpse. He would have to walk around with this putrefied body, which would infect the host, ultimately killing the victim over the course of several days. It may be that this was what the apostle envisioned when he said, "who will free me from this body of death?"
How can we be free from the flesh, whose end is death and whose rebellious works are killing our spirit?
The answer is that we cannot do this alone. Our best of intentions will never do. We need to let the flesh be considered dead with Christ on the cross and we need to take the righteousness of Jesus by right of faith.
Are you struggling with pride? Take Jesus humility. Do you feel the weight of lust? Take the purity of your Savior! For each ailment of our flesh is the more powerful antidote of God's Holy Spirit and character.
Who will free us from the body of death? Jesus will.
But you need to come to Him in repentance, accept His sacrifice as killing your flesh.
Paul says that we were "sold in sin." When we repent and accept Jesus as Lord, we are bought by God at the costs of His own blood. So, while the enemy may have sold us into vile slavery of evil passions, God has purchased us with His own blood.
Have you been purchased? Repent and make Jesus your Lord and you'll know that you were and are!