Dying and Rising with Christ Romans 6 (New Habits (I go through life as a…
Dying and Rising with Christ
I go through life as a transient on his way to eternity, made in the image of God but with that image debased, needing to be taught how to meditate, to worship, to think.
Donald Coggan's description of the spiritual life is completely in keeping with the Apostle Paul's presentation of the spiritual life:
Aware that we have to learn and practice new habits of the heart (Rom 12:1-2)
Spiritual Disciplines or Practices.
In other words, we need to learn the cultural habits of the kingdom of God into which we have been rescued.
"Do not conform...but be transformed" Paul in Romans 12:2
Action: "Present your members (body parts) (Romans 6:13)
Action is essential, we are bodies; authentic spirituality cannot be separated from the way in which we use our bodies.
Paul affirms this by advising us to engage, not just our minds, but our bodies in living our lives in relationship with God.
Mind: "So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus".
*"We have died to Sin"
"All of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death"
"Dead to the World"
is an expression we used in English to describe someone who is asleep on the couch and completely unaware of what is happening around them.
Recent studies of the brain has revealed that we really can change our emotional outlook and our habits by redirecting our thought processes.
Christian meditation...bringing our mind to reflect and ponder on the goodness, wisdom and justice of God, and the character of Jesus is essential.
If we try to launch a frontal attack on our sinful behaviour we will always be defeated.
Paul takes a different approach. We have to die to our old way of life
So that we may live a new way of life
The transfer is not complete, Paul acknowledges that sin is still a reality in this present time (Romans 8:18) but we can now learn...
In the path of righteousness there is life,
in walking its path there is no death.
The father of one of my school friends growing up was a Judo instructor. I remember him teaching us that Judo doesn't require lots of effort, because it's about using your opponent's strength to throw them off balance. What is needed is a balanced centre. If we try attacking our sins that have pushed their way into the centre of our lives we'll get pushed back every time. We need to give Jesus the centre of our lives.
Habits Paul alludes to with his imagery of Dying with Christ and Presenting our Body Parts for Righteousness (Romans 6:12–13), and then directly in Romans 12:2 "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds."
Paul affirms our human dignity, created to share the glory of God (1:23)
Acknowledges our disorder and how debased our lives become when we come adrift from our spiritual centre (1:28)
Blame the Apostle Paul
Paul's contrasts between:
Law and Faith
Works and Grace
Raised an objection from his opponents, "Are you saying that..."
Paul's answer was, "Not at all!" There is in fact no conflict between faith and grace on the one hand, and living lives of holiness and goodness on the other.
"The Good Life of the Kingdom of God breaks into our hearts by the grace of God alone. We are not only saved by grace, but we live by it as well, However, we must see that we have a part to play in the drama of holiness."
"Should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace?"
Romans 6:1, New Living Translation
Christians with Double Standards
"CHRISTIANS AREN'T PERFECT JUST FORGIVEN"
Leads us to murky waters
Are we saved regardless of our behaviour?
Nick Cave's Story
Brings to mind the caricature of nominal Catholics going to Mass or Confession only to commit a sin immediately afterwards.
Protestant Tradition: Conflict between Faith and Works
Is it actually impossible not to sin?
The Drama of Holiness: Characterised by Two New Contrasts
Two Distinct States
Citizens of two different ages of humanity AND therefore Slaves of two different masters
Illustration: Living in a country scarred by conflict, injustice, scarcity, wanting nothing more than to leave but being enslaved by the circumstances of life. (Picture of our spiritual state)
Finally rescue comes, and we are airlifted out of that country and taken to new country, a safe place. This is a gift, a grace, because it is done for us.
The real scandal of grace has nothing to do with a conflict between our faith and actions: The scandal of grace is that it doesn't matter what we've done during our life (in the old country), we can all be rescued as a gift. Whether we were innocent victims or those who bullied and gossiped. There are no exceptions.
Saved by grace from the dominion of sin, or from the age of human history dominated by the sin of Adam
But the rescue is followed by a phase of adjustment as we learn to take on the habits and culture of the new country. We are saved by grace and we live by grace.
Paul describes this process of culture change as a pattern of Christ's Death and Resurrection
Dead to Sin
The choice or the act of faith is ours, but the rescue is God's doing...
In Adam. (Romans 5:12–14)
Slaves to Sin (Romans 6:20)
In Christ (Romans 5:15–17)
Slaves to Righteousness (Romans 6:18)