Monday, June 16, 2014

Bigger and better sin

Proper 7 (12) June 22, 2008 Genesis 21:8-21;(Jeremiah 20:7-13; Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17) Psalm 69:7-10, (11-15), 16-18; Romans 6:1b-11; Matthew 10:24-39 -These are some of the readings that can be considered for today

The epistle to the Romans is a cracker!
It is worth sitting down and reading it all in one sitting

I did this once and suddenly I got it!
God is not out to get us!
God actually wants the best for us!

This gives you a better sense of the masterly nature of Paul's discussion.

One of the curious literary devices we come across is his use of "By no means!"
I always chuckle at this
because it seems he lets us see his inner struggle some what.
When he has argued himself into a corner,
and we might be compelled to get the wrong idea
he has to turn us round and steer us back in the right direction.

So then...he says am I saying that everything is so hopeless that there is no point in even trying...this is exactly what he has argued
And he asserts 

So we read today:

6:1b Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound?
6:2 By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it?

Paul has been arguing that one of the greatnesses of God's love to us
is that we are not left to cope with sin by ourselves

In fact he says it is when things are really tough 

that God really cuts in
in fact :

where sin increases, grace abounds all the more,
God's response to us is not to reject us when we sin
but to equip us all the more.
So that we can fight back.
Paul, is no doubt relying on his own experience,
he understands that when he is weakest,
when failure is all too evident
then, he finds that, the grace of God is even stronger.

This is a key insight.
Not that God is trying to catch us out.
But that God is trying to encourage us..

When we allow ourselves 

to embrace this spirit
then that is our experience too.
You see, God is not trying 

to beat us over the head with a stick,
we are not being smacked 

because we are naughty.

We begin from the starting point 

that God loves us
and wants the best for us.
The love of God understands
that sin diminishes us
it actually makes our life worse.
And so, Paul is telling us:
God pours all the resources he can
into enabling us to struggle with this sin.
He has given us the life of his Son
and we are talking here 

about the constant giving of the Holy Spirit
to enable us to progress in the war with sin.

So we might joke (as Paul does)
this fantastic inpouring of the Holy Spirit
is so good for us
that maybe we should sin all the more!
so that God might give us this Spirit.

But to view it like that is a joke.
The serious point is
that God wants to deal with sin
for our good
because God loves us

Dealing with sinSo might we get the point
that if God takes our sin seriously
then so should we.
We often deal with sin
by ignoring it
and yet Paul is telling us here
that it is so important
that God throws everything He has got at it.
We need to see 

that there is a serious invitation here
if God thinks sin is worth this effort
then perhaps we need to see that too.

It is where we sin, 

that the potential for God's grace abounds!

Where I lie, where I hurt others, where I betray, where I steal....
it is exactly at this bad points
that God abounds!

This seems a contradiction to us,
but it is going to be at the points
where we lie, cheat, steal and do not love.

That we encounter God.

Should we then lie more, hate even harder.

By no means!
God is active.
At His most active.
Can we cooperate with this Spirit?
And throw our energies into it?

This week:
Where is God inviting you to act decisively with sin in your life?
Pick one thing  where you are going to cooperate with God and seek to let God deal with it.
This will not be easy,but God will equip you all the more.
Pray for that equipping

Are we serious about our discipleship? 

Then let us be serious where God is most active.

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