If you think this is a lament about the state of the world and/or the church, you are right. But it is not what you may expect. I am not lamenting the usual opinion that winking at sin is the reason the world/church is in such bad shape. Far from it. When a believer thinks in this manner, he has forgotten the message of grace.

The believer in Jesus Christ has no relation to the law and therefore lives apart from sin. (Gal. 2:19 – For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. Rom. 7:6 – But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. Rom. 7:8b ….For without the law sin was dead.)

Shocked? Well, this is the message of grace. What then are we to do? Does what we do matter? How does it matter? And how do we know we have missed the way – can we actually miss the way? Sin means to miss the goal. But God guides us by the Holy Spirit. Is He weak that He can only guide us some of the time? No! He accomplishes His purposes in us. Even when we think we’ve blown it.

Paul writes about our relationship to “sin” in Romans this way:

Rom 6:2 – God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Rom 6:7 – For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Rom 6:11 – Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rom 6:13 – Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

We are to understand that we are living in Jesus, and no longer in unrighteousness.

That’s what it means to “reckon”. When we do something that is not compatible with Christ, we will know, for the Spirit will show us. As we learn to here His voice, we will know, for we have the mind of Christ. There is no condemnation but only grace. Our mistakes are not sins. They are just mistakes. We are sorry for them, but then we go on with Him. That is the true meaning of repentance.

The life in the spirit, that has no relation to the law is a wonderful, glorious life, lived in freedom and grace.

It can be a bit frightening for us, because we are so used to rules. We are not practiced in listening only to the Holy Spirit (who will not lead us against scripture, but often will lead us beyond our understanding of scripture into new understanding – and into things of the spirit which are not written down on pages, for God is still moving and speaking and doing new things. We are to try the spirits, and judge prophecies!)

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Note that grace teaches us how we should live. The work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts does this. The heart is where the laws of God are written. We don’t read them but instead we know them, for they are spiritually discerned. We walk in them by faith that He is indeed guiding our steps. Grace looks a lot like the fruit of the spirit.

When we stop thinking in terms of rules and laws, we find ourselves not judging others in terms of sins either. If we judge others by law it has some uncomfortable implications. But if we do not regard the law, we cannot put restrictions of law on anyone. If we do, we will have put ourselves under law again, and will have fallen from grace (will not have lost our salvation, but will have lost our freedom and life in the spirit).

(Galatians 5:1-4 – Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.)

We need to go beyond “loving the sinner but hating the sin”, which is a sham and very condescending anyhow. If you hate what someone does, they really won’t feel the love coming from you! When we stop thinking in terms of sins, we will have begun to see the pure love of Christ.

Jesus is the representation of God to us, and He loved those who came to Him, without condemnation. He was the end of the law, by which sin is known. It truly is finished!

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