When you want something, really really want it, you will likely do anything to get it. That includes God Himself. I am so desperate for more of God, more of His presence, more of His truth, more of His love, more of His conversation, more of Him. Even though it is God I want, even though it is the most noble of all desires, it can lead me to fall from Grace. What? Now you think I am crazy but let me explain.
I am reading a book about a person’s journey with God. Actually much of his life was filled with his own agenda but God called him one day. Since then his life has been filled with encounters and vision into the “behind the scenes” action of the Kingdom of Heaven. I really want that. I believe everyone does on some level. As with all of us in our human nature we want to share our story especially when it is filled with amazing God encounters. We often find ourselves in this mode of explaining things in human terms, trying to capture and understand the subtle workings of human effort that gets results. The problem is that isn’t Grace, that is man’s effort, that is living in law.
The author of this book believes his obedience and dedication to living free from sin positioned him to receive all this blessing in his life. This is the scripture he quotes.
Rom 6:13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. (ESV)
And he uses this one.
1Co 15:31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! (ESVST)
If you are a lawyer living by the law then these verses out of context will lead you to believe sin management is a priority. If you are believing in the Grace of God, the true gospel then you see the context of these verses and more. Paul says over and over we are dead, free from sin and free from the law like this verse that immediately follows Romans 6:13.
Rom 6:14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. (ESVST)
And these verses that precede Romans 13:
Rom 6:7 For one who has died has been set free from sin (ESVST)
Rom 6:11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (ESVST)
In Corinthians Paul is talking about resurrection, truth and the fear these people had of dying. They were questioning if Jesus had been raised and their doubt brought all kinds of bad teaching. Paul was so confident in His faith in Jesus he declared his death. He says the same thing in Gal 2:20.
This passage in Romans is actually about living in harmony with your new self. Paul is telling us emphatically that sin (read lies of the devil) has no more control over you. You are free so live in harmony with who You are. The word for “members” is the root word (melos) for the English word “melody.” When we are living from a right relationship with God we are making melody with ourselves and God in us. We are agreeing with our new nature. When we are listening to the lies of the enemy and believing we are in a wrong relationship with God we are in discord. “Instruments” in this case are instruments of war. We are fighting against our new nature. Check out what the Message says, it is awesome!
Romans 6:11-14 MSG Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin’s every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did. That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!—into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God.
So why did I fall from grace? Here is the reference
Gal 5:4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. (ESVST)
I was believing that my efforts would make me more worthy of receiving his gifts just like the guy in the book. I was believing that maybe I had missed something. To do that is to say Jesus missed something. Not possible. I was so jealous and hungry for the gifts I began to doubt my status with God and began to think I could improve my status. That is a lie. That is law. That is yeast.
Gal 5:9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. (ESVST)
The lie of the enemy is subtle but powerful. He wants us to doubt our relationship with God. He wants us to doubt our security in Christ. He wants us to doubt God’s provision. He wants us to take ownership and stay self focused. That is a place of no faith. That is a place of unbelief. That is a place fallen from grace. God gives gifts. Gifts are not wages they are free.
I don’t understand God’s timing. I don’t understand why He gives gifts to some even when they are missing the fullness of His Grace. God bless the guy in this story. His surrender to God is amazing. Still I have questions that I am learning to trust in God for the answers. Our Father is a perfect blend of what looks like paradox to us. God is sovereign and love. God is resourceful and independent of time. God has instant recollection of the numbers of hairs on your head and knows the infinite possibilities of your future. God has specific timing in mind but all His provision is never late, it is just at the right time. God answers every prayer instantly and in His time which may be very different from our expected timing but perfect when it happens??? It is a great mystery. He is infinitely intriguing.
I will continue to contend with God and cry out for more. I will be like Jacob wrestling with God for my blessing. But I will not let the yeast of self-righteousness and law into my thinking. That actually gives power to that sin monster and puts us all back into bondage. God is that good. He can be trusted. He has a perfect plan with perfect timing for me. My only lot in life is to believe in Him. I find my trust and I cling to my hope. All of those are certain and simple. I do love my Abba.
So Go get Him. Watch out for the “stone tablets” that trip you up. Watch out for tripping over your on our own self-effort feet. If you do fall, get up and look up and press on toward the goal, Jesus!