Sin

The Old Way

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A believer’s unregenerate self – “our old man”.  The Greek word for “old” does not refer to something old in years but to something that is worn out and useless.  Paul uses the term “body” and “flesh” to refer to sinful propensities that are intertwined with physical weaknesses and pleasures.  But the term “flesh” is not equivalent to the physical body, which can be an instrument of holiness.

Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for Romans 6:6.

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Through One Man

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Adam’s sin brought universal death – exactly opposite the result he expected and Satan had promised: “You will be like God” (Genesis 3:5).  Christ’s sacrifice brought salvation to those who believe Him.  Unlike Adam’s act, Christ’s act has – and will – accomplish exactly what He intended (Philippians 1:6), i.e., spiritual life (Ephesians 2:5).

Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for Romans 5:17.

Who is the Law for?

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The Law was not meant as a means to self-righteousness, but a means to self-condemnation, pointing man to his sin, leading to conviction, repentance, and pleading to God for mercy.

Commentary from notes for 1 Timothy 1:9, the MacArthur study Bible.

False teaching

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False doctrine – anything claiming to be the truth that is in fact a lie.  

False teachers typically claim to have the superior knowledge (as in gnosticism).  They claim to know the transcendent secrets, but actually are ignorant and infantile in their understanding.

Paul identifies 3 characteristics of false teachers: 1) they “teach otherwise” – a different doctrine, or any teaching that contradicts God’s revelation in Scripture; 2) they do “not consent to wholesome words” – they do not agree with sound, healthy teaching, specifically the teaching contained in Scripture; and 3) they reject “doctrine which accords with godliness” – teaching not based on Scripture will always result in an unholy life.  Instead of godliness, false teachers will be marked by sin.

Commentary from the MacArthur Study Bible, notes for 1 Timothy 6:3, 6:20.

A Saving Faith

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The greatest tragedy that can befall someone is to think he’s saved, only to discover after death that he isn’t.  We’d all like to believe the claims of those who say they’re Christians, but Jesus gives a harsh warning because He knows many will be deceived.  They will sit in churches week after week, professing that Jesus is the Son of God, but won’t ever really enter into a personal relationship with Him.

Intellectual faith isn’t the same as saving faith.  It’s not enough to know facts about Jesus or to believe He died and rose again.  Even demons believe that (James 2:19).  Salvation involves more than mere knowing.  It requires trusting that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sin, receiving His forgiveness, turning away from old sinful ways, and entering into a relationship with Him.  What matters is not what we say with our mouth, but what we believe in our heart.

Although you probably won’t understand all that happens at the moment of salvation, when Christ becomes your Savior, He also becomes your Lord.  As the Master of your life, He then has the right to govern what you do.  His Holy Spirit takes up residence within you when you are saved, and that means you will change – God’s Spirit continually works to remove sinful attitudes and behaviors, replacing them with His spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).

We recognize a person’s salvation not by his profession but by fruit.  If you are truly saved, your character will become more Christlike over time, and your desire will be to obey the Lord.  This does not mean you’ll never sin or stumble, but overall, your life will be characterized by obedience.

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, December 18, 2017.

Causes of rebellion

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~Romans 6:12-14~

In God’s eyes, anyone who sins is rebellious, and Scripture tells us we’re all guilty (Romans 3:23).  Now, it makes sense that an unbeliever would choose to act apart from biblical teaching.  But what about those of us who have committed to follow Christ – what would cause us to stray from the will of our heavenly Father?

There are two powerful human tendencies that lead to disobedience: doubt and pride.  Both can be dangerously misleading.

  1.  Doubt is a mental struggle over whether or not to believe God’s promises.  From our limited perspective, we cannot understand how the Lord works.  Sometimes His way does not feel like the right path, so in order to obey, we must step out in faith.  Then it can feel as though we are jumping off a cliff and trusting God’s invisible rope to hold us.  If we listen to our doubt, we will surely transgress.
  2. Pride is the sin that caused Satan to fall from heaven, and it is a deceptive obstacle for believers as well.  Pride has to do with thinking that our way is best, putting more faith in our ability than God’s promises, and desiring praise.  Anything we do out of pride is rebellion against the Lord.

Whatever the cause, sin never leads to the Lord’s best for our life.  God’s way is the only road resulting in fulfillment and peace.

The enemy wants to lure us with doubt and pride – both feel right and are easily justifiable from our human perspective.  But believers should follow Joshua’s wisdom instead:  “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, November 21, 2017.