Monday, August 10, 2009

how to live holy without succumbing to asceticism

It's a hard question. How do we live holy lives, pleasing to God, without ending up counting the rules we've followed at the end of the day?

Thankfully, Scripture is clear on the issue. Paul, in Colossians 2 and 3, warns against asceticism and the art of discipline...and then he tells us to put to death sexual immorality, greed, obscene talk, covetousness...and so on.

How can he put these two things right next to each other and not be crazy? Because he grounds our disciplined lives in the Gospel. The death of Jesus gives us victory over sin.

WE HAVE BEEN CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST, therefore those sins in us (like sexual immorality, greed, obscene talk and covetousness) are dead. That's our old self. That's not us. We are free from it.

And so, it is no longer a matter of trying to follow the rules, it is a matter of realizing that those sins are dead and we are no longer bound to it.

To quote from Romans "If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin."

How do you avoid rule keeping? By keeping the Gospel in front of you. Jesus took away the POWER of sin in our lives. We get the joy of killing sins. That makes a world of difference.


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