I’ve made my arguments for the eternal victory all true believers have in Jesus. Nothing like that was my goal when i started this study, but I was responding to DM, and what he wrote. So now, like before, i will point out where i think he is in error, but not belabor the point.
The rest of chapter 6…
under the heading: FREEDOM AND LAW
Well right off he hits BOTH my major objections, go figure. Let me show you the inconsistency in what he is saying. I know it doesn’t prove anything in and of itself, but it is right there.
He sees choice in Romans 6:14
For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
For the born again believer, this verse speaks truths: [a] sin shall not be master over you, [b] you are not under law, [c] you are under grace. There is no “choice” spelled out for us in that verse. We can foolishly try to escape the truths in that verse, but there is no choice there.
And then he says that the issue is where he began the study: “doing versus being”. If i take the identity of another, say I play the rich person while on vacation, does that make me a rich person? I may act that way as long as the money is there, but then vaca is up and back to the old grind. Yet DM has us taking on the identity of a child of the Holy one while we still have the nature of sin. We do because of who. We may ‘act’ a part for a time, but in the end, we are who we are, and we do those things that correspond to our nature. [Unless of course our nature changes].
He continues: “If you seek victory over sin merely by focusing on your behavior, you are under a performance perspective that amounts to legalism.” Yes, i agree.
He adds that legalism thinkers think that changing what we do means changing what we are.
Yeah, where did I miss it? According to DM we still have our sin nature. If we don’t exercise faith in our identity we will be faking it or maybe giving up.
Now i am not disputing the thrust of his argument here for it corresponds to exactly what I have been saying: that we are new in Christ, and our perspective in acting is to relearn how to live godly because at our core we are godly. In other words to live out what and who we are: God’s saved children changed from what and who we were to what and who we are now. We are to be holy and righteous, because our Father is, our Savior is, our indwelling Spirit is, and we can. We are of God. We are no longer mere men.
But as i have said, though he has made fundamental errors at the foundational level, what he is saying here is true.
I agree with what he is saying in this section. A God focused mind keeps one from living legalistically while still living righteously.
HOW IT WORKS
I would add that in grappling with sin, i begin to have glimpses of why i sin. Many times my sin is not done to hurt others or even to be selfish, but as a way of coping with fear or stress or other negative thinking/feelings. Sinfulness, not just ours, but also our parents and the world we grew up in and are in have distorted our thinking, have blinded us to realities and lead us down paths of foolishness. Overcoming many of these things can be a long process. If we have the wrong attitude about God or ourselves, our understanding can remain distorted, our results frustrating.
But as we read His Word and grasp its truths, we can apply them to ourselves and our lives and fruit will happen.
“BEING” APPLIED TO “DOING”
In this section he quotes Romans 6:17-19.
He says that in the past we were slaves of sin but God has made us slaves of righteousness.
But need I mention such talk is contradictory to [a] the idea that Christians still have a sin nature, and [b] we will give up if we are not living right, for they are.
But what he is saying right here is spot on. because now of who and what we are, we should walk that way. Since we are born again, we should seek to walk in newness of life. And that we are to change our ways from the criminal sinners we once were through God’s transforming love. Exactly Right.
Now think on this thing:
If we can not change our lives by our doing right in ourselves, how is it we can change our lives in the doing of wrong?
For our actions do not change our position. Our position has already been changed: God made us slaves of righteousness! That we don’t always walk in that upright ‘condition’ but stumble in sin, at times, does not change our position, which DM regularity speaks of Ephesians 2 where we are seated in the Heavenlies in Christ Jesus.
DM correctly tells us that if we act right because of God’s already given blessing, then we are functioning properly under grace. But if we think we need to act to gain His blessing, we are functioning as if under Law.
THE BIG PICTURE
DM finishes the chapter well. We are to rest in Jesus for we have His “finished work” already done for us. We now have to walk in it.
Chapter 7 is next.