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What does it mean to be dead to sin?

Romans 6 (NIV)

Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ

1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

 19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!

22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life inChrist Jesus our Lord.

Now, if we are dead to our “human failure to measure up”, we cannot then live as “human failures” (the word translated as sin means missing the mark, failure, frailty). Neither can we decide to do it on purpose. There is no guilt to being human, and in error. Unfortunately the old English word, sin, does have that meaning.

But, you say, sin is sin. If you do it on purposed, you have become a slave to it, like Paul says.

Well, Paul is not saying that. He is showing how we were before Jesus died to sin.

We who believe in Jesus are also dead to sin – because we died with Him. And as He is alive, we are alive in Him.

Now, we are free from sin. If we are dead to it, we have no relation to it, just as a dead man can neither run nor observe a stop sign.

So, what about when we do something we think is bad or wrong?

First of all, we do not know sin except by the law, and we are also dead to it.

In fact, the law was for the Jews, not the Gentiles. Most believers have never been Jewish. Those who are Jewish are still not under law, because Jesus did away with it, establishing a new covenant.

So, again, how do we know something is bad or wrong? What is the standard? There would seem to be none. We have conscience, but can’t the conscience be seared, and let us do things that are against it?

Grace teaches us godliness. It is our new “conscience”, for it is the influence of God on our hearts.

Now we have the tree of life, which is Jesus, and we have a new kind of guidance system. It does not operate from a list of rules, or what we just feel is good or bad.

Grace operates through the Holy Spirit, in which we walk. We, who are Christ’s, walk in the spirit. He is the new “default” setting. Did you know that the fruit of the spirit looks a lot like the many facets of grace?

Anytime we look at what someone does wrong, we are looking at law.

When we look at law, that is all we see, and it condemns us. It is a downward spiral. We cannot win. However, Jesus has won the battle, and He has lifted us up with Him out of condemnation. We are free!

Look with His eyes, which never condemn and always lift up. He looks at our hearts and works in our hearts. It’s intensely personal and subjectively varied. If you think someone is in “sin”, it is not for you to judge.

If you think you are in “sin” you have forgotten you were forgiven, once and for all time.

For the believer there is no such thing as living in “sin” or continuing in it. You can’t have it both ways. You are either dead to sin or you are not.

And you are dead to sin. You do walk in the spirit.

To repeat, if you judge someone as being in sin, you have just put yourself under the standard of sin and have lost the benefit of grace. Personally, I have tried to drop the word “sin” from my vocabulary, which proves to be difficult. It’s very ingrained into our minds and culture.

Operate out of grace. That is ministering life.

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Man is a living soul. This is the basis of who and what man is. It starts in Genesis.

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

1Corinthians 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.  

The idea that the real man is a spirit is not Biblical.

Man is not described as even having a spirit in the beginning. It is pagan. It’s the Greek idea that the natural world is lower than the spiritual and that the two really aren’t connected.

In fact, the prevailing idea behind man being a spirit also generally implies that the physical or natural realm is less real than the spiritual or unseen realm. This is nothing but dualism in Christian disguise. (Dualism is classical thought that has crept into the western view of scripture. But both the old and new testaments are written with an eastern/Judeo viewpoint. They saw the natural and spiritual as a whole, not separated.)

From far too many evangelical pulpits we hear that man is a spirit, has a soul, and lives in a body. In many parts of the world, that is called spiritualism. Voodoo. The basis of ghoulish tales.

If man is a spirit, where does the spirit come from? Some religions believe in a spirit body that lives in a natural body and even looks like that body – or the reverse – the body looks like the spirit. Spirit is described with words that mean air and breath, because it can’t be seen.

I propose that man has a spirit and is a living soul – quite the opposite of the popular notion being preached!

Heaven forbid.  Some religions say our spirits pre-exist with God. And that they are rational, sentient beings which never die. Really? Never die? When Jesus only has immortality? That is not biblical.

1Timothy 5:14b…..until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: 15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

1 Timothy 1:16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. 17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

God is a spirit. By definition, He isn’t immortal because He never was mortal. He is eternal. John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. This may come as a surprise, since we usually hear that only God has immortality. But it is Jesus to whom this refers. And it is by belief in Jesus that we inherit eternal life.

Paul says this: Romans 2:6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

So it is reasonable to conclude that eternal life is what provides immortality. First to Jesus, and then to us in the resurrection (for clearly our present bodies will see decay).

Please see that it is us who receive eternal life. It is us who will put on immortality. It is us who will have incorruptible bodies. No mention about our spirits. Peter says this: 1Peter 1:23 Being born again (having been regenerated – from the Greek) not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

But didn’t Paul say we are body, soul, and spirit?  (Young’s Literal Translation)1Thessalonians 5:23 …and the God of the peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved unblameably in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ;

This passage does not imply separate parts, but merely is a way of describing the whole, and was a common way of expressing things in Paul’s day. Man is, as described elsewhere in scripture, a living soul. He isn’t a spirit that has a soul and lives in a body. That idea is not scriptural.

The words for soul and spirit are used almost interchangeably. That makes a good word search. Very interesting.

Hebrews 4:12 for the reckoning of God is living, and working, and sharp above every two-edged sword, and piercing unto the dividing asunder both of soul and spirit, of joints also and marrow, and a discerner of thoughts and intents of the heart;(Young’s Literal Translation).

God knows the thoughts and intents of the heart.

That is hidden from us; we can’t know it. The distinction of soul and spirit is not clear in scripture. It takes God to know what is in the heart. This passage is not ground for saying the spirit is an entity. It is in no way even implied.

We need to stop listening to fables contrived by man. They lead us into some very strange and ungodly places.

Another passage that is usually referred to for saying man is a spirit is this: 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. Some versions actually say “species” instead of creature. But that is not true to the sense or to the Greek!

Ktisis is the Greek word, and here is the meaning, from Thayer and Smith:

Ktisis – the act of founding, establishing, building etc

  1. the act of creating, creation
  2. creation i.e. thing created
    1. of individual things, beings, a creature, a creation 1b
  3. anything created 1b
  4. after a rabbinical usage (by which a man converted from idolatry to Judaism was called) 1b
  5. the sum or aggregate of things created
  6. institution, ordinance

How someone concludes that this means man’s spirit is born again, but not the rest of him, is beyond me. We know that our bodies will be changed.

We are now converted and are a new “creation”.

Nothing like us has ever been known before. We are re-generated by incorruptible seed and heirs of eternal life. Once again, the fables of man have been placed over the scripture to try and make it support that which is not true.

Let’s start saying what God says, and not what man says.

 

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