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Sunday, October 02, 2005

Word For The Week

I have a sharp tongue and a wicked sense of humor - I can go from zero-to-gutter in about a half second. It is a fairly simple matter for me to skewer someone in such a manner that they don't know that I have cut them to the quick until long after I have walked away from the scene of the crime and they find their psyche hemorrhaging. I have some evil tendencies, and oftentimes when I would do right I find that what I actually end up doing is worlds apart from what I should do. Have you ever found yourself to be dead wrong?

Paul notes in our text today that he found a principle at work within himself, specifically that while he joyfully assented to the will of God, while he truly wanted to do all that God commands, what he found himself doing was too often at odds with God's commands. Can you feel Paul on that? I know with certainty that I love the LORD and I want to do His will. I know that He is the Creator of all that is and that He is due all of the honor and glory that I can give Him. I know that this is His creation and that I am to submit to His will - I get that, I understand that, I'm down with that. I just have a problem actually doing it, and so did Paul. This is why Paul exclaimed, "Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?"

Paul had a problem with actually submitting to the will of God, but in America today many people - if not most people - have a problem with the very concept of submission. There is no more profane word in American society today than the word "submission" - unless you're talking about a term paper. No one should have to submit to another according to American groupthink - children shouldn't have to submit to their parents, wives shouldn't have to submit to their husbands, men shouldn't have to submit to Jesus Christ. Submission is a profane concept to the American mind, yet it is central to the mind of Christ. Part of our problem as Americans is that we confuse submission with domination. Jesus does not dominate us - He does not make us do anything - but He offers us the opportunity to come into fellowship with God through submission to Him. What most Americans don't seem to get is the fact that man is in bondage to sin, that sin has its way with us, ravaging us again and again and again. Many Americans like it rough and enjoy it that way, preferring to be a slave to sin and having sin run rampant through their members. Me, I call that rape, and I have no intention of being raped by sin. Nonetheless, when I would do right, I often find myself bound and gagged by sin. Oh wretched man that I am! Who will free me from the body of this death?

But One has come to free me from this bondage to sin. He has come that I might have life and have it abundantly, that you might have it as well. Jesus came and sacrificed his life that we may be free from the penalty of sin. When we accept His atoning sacrifice the Holy Spirit progressively regenerates us to free us from the power of sin. And when this life is over and we bask in the glory of the Father, we will be free from the presence of sin. So we much press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. We must press on to overcome the wiles of the world as He has overcome the world. We must press on to do that which is right, forsaking the bondage of sin that is behind us. It's not easy, but we have to press on to make our flesh conform to the will of God.

May The LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who encourages you to press on toward the goal,
My He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM

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