Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Shall We Continue in Sin? Part One

And it seems that we shall indeed.

When one is studying a verse or passage of Scripture, one must constantly be aware of context. If not, then one will very likely
develop his theology around a verse or passage taken out of context and find himself adrift on a confusing and contradictory sea of error. This has been the downfall of the Word of Faith movement.

Christians of all stripes have fallen into this error simply by ignoring word meanings, grammatical rules, historical contexts, and
pericopes. It is tempting to take a verse, word or passage out of its overall context, the Bible. Romans 6:1-11 demands from the student of Scripture and the disciple of Christ that context be his guide. We have the Holy Spirit living within us and it is He who will show us great and wonderful things from His word (Jn. 14-16; Rom. 5:5; 1 Jn. 5:10. And good theologians aren't bad either).

IMMEDIATE CONTEXT

The apostle Paul (Rom. 1:1) has taken his readers through the spiritual history of the human race in the five chapters 
preceding our passage. We have had our attention turned to "the gospel of God" and the fulfillment of that gospel in "His Son Jesus Christ our Lord" (vv.1-6). We have been identified ourselves in the gracious terms "beloved of God" and those"called to be saints." So it is immediately known to whom the apostle was writing. This is what we want to keep in mind when we come to chapter 6.

Before any disciple of Christ can grasp the glorious truths of grace he must first grasp the dark and terrible truths of his own sinful nature. And that can only be accomplished by our seeing ourselves as God sees us before He graciously saves us and afterwards as well. Thus the "wrath of God," the law of "natural revelation" and the law of Moses are introduced for that very purpose (1:18-3). But above all we see these things in the Cross. The nature of God and the nature of man are manifested on the Cross.

Upon hearing the gospel we hear of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ and why that sacrifice was necessary for our justification. The gospel is "good news" because the bad news is so horribly bad; we are born spiritually dead, separated from our Creator, and justly doomed to eternal damnation. The good news ends that separation once and for all and removes from the saint any possibility of ever facing God's wrath; it was all poured out on His Son Jesus Christ (1:16-17; 7:24-8:4; 1 
Thess. 1:10).