Sunday, July 03, 2011

Dependence, not Independence

excerpt from today's Sermon
Valley Covenant Church
Eugene, Oregon
by Pastor Steve Bilynskyj
Copyright © 2011 by Stephen S. Bilynskyj

Romans 17:13-25
“Law Good, Sin Bad”July 3, 2011 - Third Sunday after Pentecost

"...Law is like adult diapers. It’s a treatment for the symptoms of moral incontinence, not for the problem. And like a diaper it probably only makes you that much more aware of what you can’t control. Like a diaper it only makes you carry around your sin with you that much more closely. What’s needed is a cure for sin, not a better diaper to hold it in.

No, it is not the primary mission of Christian people, of the Church of Jesus Christ, to get whatever country we live in to adopt and enforce good laws. Law is good, but it doesn’t change people. It doesn’t help people do what is right just to know what is right. No, the mission of the Church is to proclaim the Good News of a Savior who changes people, who can set us free from the power of sin.

As I said, in verse 23 Paul asks for a rescue, for freedom from the “body of death.” As anyone with physical incontinence knows—and I don’t mean at all to make light of an embarrassing and frustrating condition—the only answer may be a new body. We’re promised just that for the future in the resurrection of Jesus. But for right now, we are promised and given an escape from our bigger problem. The last verse of the previous chapter, 6:23, says “the wages of sin is death.” That verse then says, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord,” and verse 25 of our text gives the same answer, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Freedom through democratic government and just law is a good thing. God bless the United States of America. But freedom from sin in Jesus Christ is the best thing, the most important thing. It’s available even where there is no just law. Freedom in Christ can be had when no other freedom is offered. Freedom from the law of sin is the gift of God in Jesus Christ to all of us who fail to keep the law of God.

It’s Jesus who delivers us from the slavery Paul pictures at the end of our text. No matter how much we celebrate independence, we are spiritual slaves to both the good law of God and the bad law of sin. But faith in Jesus Christ calls us out of both slaveries, not into independence, but into dependence on Him."

1 comment:

Ann said...

Thanks for your clarity, Steve via Beth! Too many folks see law as cramping them, rather God's love for us to bless and lift us up. When we are loving God, self & neighbors well, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we look like the law, don't we? Fragrance of life to life!