Commitment to the Good   1 comment

What If Characterr Went ViralThis is Part 4 if What If Character Went Viral series. Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 are available at these links.

Salvation isn’t just a mental assent to some stories we read in a book. It is a personal intimate encounter with the living God that changes our eternal destination and begins a transformation of who we are as people. We don’t change ourselves. God changes us.

God changes us by bringing our minds under the teaching of His Word. Scholars debate over why Paul says “form (meaning “example, pattern”) of teaching,” rather than just “teaching.” Trying to avoid dogmatism, but my guess from the context is that he is contrasting his teaching of the gospel of grace with the false teaching of both the legalists and those who say our lives do not need to reflect our faith. Paul is referring to the kind of teaching that he has set forth in Romans to this point, and especially to the bottom line test that sound doctrine leads to godly behavior.

God does not just change our minds to conform to sound teaching. He also changes our hearts. Some scholars can study the Bible in the original languages, dissect it like a biologist dissects a specimen, without the truth affecting their hearts. This is why a scholar like Bart Erhmann can come up with the interpretations he comes up with that are utterly opposed to Christian faith. He doens’t know God, so God has not changed him. God changes the hearts and desires of Christians. While it is important to understand the truth with our minds, our hearts must also rejoice in and willingly embrace the truth.

The evidence of this change of mind and heart is that our wills gladly obey the truth. To be “obedient from the heart” is not grudging, outward obedience, but cheerful, inner obedience. It is obedience on the heart level, where God alone sees, not outward obedience to impress others with how “spiritual” we are.

It’s a matter of commitment.

The King James Bible wrongly translated Romans 6:18 to say that Christians are committed to the teachings of God, but the proper translation is “to which you were committed”, which lines up with the slavery analogy Paul was using. The idea is that becoming a Christian means being put under the authority of God’s Word . We don’t sit in judgment of the Word, but the Word sits in judgment on us. A person who has come under God’s grace in Christ submits to God’s Word. John Calvin described it as God “subdued and brought my mind to a teachable frame.”

Verse 18 is not a command, but a statement of fact. “Having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” We are not, as verse 15 referenced, free to sin because we are no longer under the law, but under grace. We only have two choices — slavery under the harsh master of sin or slavery under the gentle master of righteousness. All Christians have been freed from sin to become slaves of righteousness.

This does not mean Christians have become sinlessly perfect, that we are now free from the old sin nature or that we will never be tempted by sin. We know that isn’t true. What it means that the power of sin over us has been broken, so that we no longer live under sin as our master. We do not obey sin as the normal course of our daily lives. We now desire to obey righteousness. Formerly, we served sin, obeying its desires and urges. Now, we serve righteousness, desiring to obeying God and His Word. The irony is that true freedom is not freedom to sin. True freedom is slavery to God and His righteousness.

Sometimes it’s good to set a teaching to a parable. There was a market in a village in India, where a farmer was selling a covey of quail. Each bird had a string tied around its foot securing it to a stick. The quail walked around in a circle, held captive by the string. A devout Hindu Brahman came along and bought the entire covey. After he paid the money, he ordered the merchant to set them free. The merchant was surprised, but the Brahman insisted: “Cut the strings and set them all free.”

The farmer cut the strings, but the quail kept marching in a circle. Finally, he had to shoo them off. But even then, they landed a short distance away and resumed marching in a circle, as they had done when they were tied to the stick.

God didn’t free you from sin so that you would keep going in circles as if you were still bound to it. He freed you from sin so that you would become a slave of obedience to Him, resulting in righteousness. You’ve gotta serve somebody. The question is: Who are you serving—sin or God?

Posted June 15, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

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  1. Pingback: Dead Men Feel No Weight | aurorawatcherak

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