I have talked about the wonderful bible study I attend on Mondays enough times. I can't seem to stop because it is one of the biggest blessings of my life and they never disappoint. I don't remember how we got to this point of discussion. I just remember it is the main thing I took away from Monday's discussion. It could also be because I have had questions in that area a lot.
Our main point of discussion was death; not just physical death but the dying to sin that the bible calls us to.
We talked about how we so often treat death as the enemy and we begrudgingly give into God's call of carrying our cross daily. God's love for us is shown through the cross. The cross is the door, the way out of the old man and into the new man. The old man, Adam, is inherently flawed, before he utters a single word, or entertains a thought,his nature is his enemy. You and I are born of that nature.
In comes Jesus and he presents the cross and death to that man. However, that is not where it ends, He gives new life, Himself, the only life there is. This man that we are born into is enslaved, we are enslaved to desires that do not even satisfy. It is as if we are always on a mission to destroy ourselves. The natural man embraces types and shadows and rejects the substance hence an unending cycle of frustration and pain
Romans 8:1 talks about how there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. The day I got revelation of this portion of scripture was a very liberating day for me. The weight of being good enough had become too heavy to bear and always had me in constant fear that God would break up with me. It is around that time that I started on my journey of learning about grace, first as something that God gives, then more recently, as who God is, Grace.
However, in being liberated, I took a few (not so few) liberties in certain areas that in no way even add to my life. I believe some people are afraid to teach about grace because they are afraid people will go on a rampage if they found out that God is not going to withhold their blessings because of the beer in their fridge or the Lil Wayne album on their phone. I took a few liberties, and some are made easier with particular company and I continued. There are days I would wonder what on earth I was doing with my life? It in no way stopped me from talking to God without fear and approaching Him boldly, but still something lingered. I wondered, "maybe my legalistic problem is bigger than I thought"
I struggled to find a balance between knowing that God does not look at certain things, that even the church has named taboo, as such and being settled with how reckless it all seemed. More recently, I have been thinking about the aspect of discipline and how it is not necessarily a bad word. I am such a radical grace person that sometimes discipline tends to sound like legalism. But recently I've been asking questions, and discovering it has more to do with purpose.
On Monday,the discussion on the beauty of death evolved into a discussion on Grace. Mirembe put it in the best way possible. She defined the grace of God as the presence of God, and the presence of God comes with the power of God. You see, so often we look at grace as license to do certain things. We use the freedom we have been given to overcome to trap ourselves once again. We usually get to that point and stop there. We pitch camp at 'everything is permissible' and hardly ever see 'but not everything edifies.'
The grace of God has been given to us so that we can overcome the failings and weaknesses of the old man. It is for much much more. We do not just die to sin, we are alive in Christ. We start on a journey of pursuing Christ, who is our new life. Grace tells us, you can choose otherwise, you can see otherwise, you can learn otherwise. Selah
Galatians 2:20 New International Version (NIV)
20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
However, if you read the following verses of Romans 8, they highlight life over selfish desires
Romans 8:1-5 New International Version (NIV)
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a]free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.