From Sin’s Power - Part I of VIII
Aspects of Paul’s Gospel
Most aspects of the truth of God
are expressed in at least a duality – old or new, death or life, Jew or
Gentile, etc. The Christian gospel itself has two aspects for its recipients.
The first is the presentation of a salvation
gospel to the lost of the world, offering salvation from perdition
(judgment). It actually is quite a simple message.
For us to be saved we first come
to recognize that we have sinned; we then realize we are guilty before God, and
we face judgment. We then may hear or read of the good news of God, who as the
judge of the living and the dead, now freely offers us salvation and forgiveness
by grace (a gift) through faith in His manifested Saviour, Jesus of Nazareth,
who the Father gave to come to earth to redeem fallen mankind, reconciling man
to God. This applies to every person who believes, that is, who trusts in the
Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. This gospel is of the precious Savior who is
the One that all can see and hear of historically from the Bible, or from
preaching, it is of Jesus who died for
us, in our place, on Calvary’s cross, shedding His precious blood on
our behalf. This gospel’s simplicity is why even a young child can embrace
salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. It is wonderfully simple to the
convicted heart, yet it is as foolishness to the hardened heart of the
magnificent as this is, it alone is not sufficient for one to live the Christian
life effectively, with rest and peace in his heart. Offering this
"salvation gospel" as the totality of God’s gospel for mankind is
exactly why we see the problem of individually weak, immature, Christians, and
also why we then see the pitiful spiritual condition church at large today. This
first part of the Gospel presented as “all there is”, is the product of the
neo-evangelicalism of the last 75 years or so in the USA. The few that go on to
grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord can be likened to the small number
or the remnant of Israelites that had been freed by Cyrus, King of Babylon, who
went back with Nehemiah to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple, though all
had been freed to return to Jerusalem. Today we see only a small remnant who go
on to care for God’s living temple, which we are (Eph 2:21).
If our initial salvation from judgment was sufficient we wouldn’t need anything more, but there is so “much more” that God has provided for us in Christ. The Lord, as seen through the Apostle Paul’s writings, offers us much more. God gives us the full and effective answer to the inner problems the Christian discovers and faces after their initial salvation. The initial salvation Gospel is not sufficient for us to go onto live the Christian life. Wonderful as it is, to know that our past is blotted out in His precious blood and that we’re saved from wrath does not enable us to live the Christian life. Most of us have tried for many years and ultimately must come to admit we just can’t do it, we can’t seem to live the Christian life as we know we ought, and we do not enjoy the peace and rest that we have heard about in Scripture.
As we go on in life we will begin to find this inner problem, and then as we seek Him, we will find God’s innermost answer for it. For this God has given us a further Gospel, beyond our reconciliation with God; it is what Paul calls the “much more” of “being saved by His life”. Romans 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. Note that the “shall be” in this verse indicates something yet to come following reconciliation, and that it comes by “His life”. Reconciliation came by the death of His Son, now the much more comes to us by His life.
there is this other aspect of salvation – it is the renewal of our self-soul,
our inner man, by the work of His
indwelling life, which has been resident in our innermost
man – our human spirit, since the very moment of our regeneration at
salvation. This renewal may be likened to the beautiful flower blossom that
was resident all this time, within the simple flower seed.
am thankful also that it is God who is at work renewing our inner or inward man
of the soul. 2 Cor. 4:16 For which
cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the
inward man is renewed day by day.
is working within us, to seek Him for the remedy; that He might come to be fully
blossomed from within us. Philip. 1:6 Being
confident of this very thing, that he
which hath begun a good work in you will
perform it until the day of
Jesus Christ: Philip. 2:13
For it is God which worketh in you
both to will and to do of his
good pleasure. It is then that we may come to rest, and enjoy the living
relationship that Christ offers us.
answer for the problem of our inner self’s incapability to walk in the
Christian life is for God to bring us to know and depend upon the very life of
the indwelling Christ to be the new us, in place of the old us. Thus, Paul’s
mystery Gospel and all his writing is written from the viewpoint of the
indwelling Christ as our new life.
…this mystery among the Gentiles;
which is Christ in you, the
hope of glory: Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ
liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the
faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
The deposit or dispensing of “the
spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:2a)” into our human spirit is
necessary to deal with the problem of the inner self, which is a more complex
issue than initial salvation – it now touches us inwardly, in our soul-self.
Our initial salvation was completed in one moment when we said yes, and received
God’s salvation through the work of Jesus on the cross. But this further
salvation concerns the meat of God’s Word. The focus is upon God
who worketh in us both to will
and to do of His good pleasure (Philip 2:13). We now go from the milk to the
Christian Magna Carta
It is in Paul’s letter to the
Roman’s that we see the Magna Carta for the Christian. In the year 1215 the
document called the Magna Carta limited the power of the King in England, by
law. It was the first such document in the world. Similarly, the Romans Magna
Carta, as I call it, expresses the work of God through Christ on the cross,
limiting of the power of Sin over the Christian.
The power of Sin is derived from
the law. 1Cor 15:56b… the law
is the power of sin. Paul clearly declares the freedom of the Christian
from “the law” here in Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion
over you: for ye
are not under the law, but under grace.
In fact, the Christian is now freed from the power of Sin, which was
empowered by “the law”. The law was given to Israel through Moses; it was not
given to believing Christians. All believers are delivered from the law because
they have a new and living way to be righteous and live righteously – it is by
serving in newness of their spirit, where Christ is their new life and innermost
source. Romans 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. For
this to become effective in our lives, we
need to understand the matter of Sin as a
nature more thoroughly.
In Romans 6 we begin to see the
inner problem about ourselves. “Sin” (not sins) is mentioned in 14 verses in
this chapter 6 and in 9 verses in chapter 7. It isn’t our sins that now
trouble us; they have been taken care of at the cross. Now it’s the sinner
that troubles us. It’s the one who does the sinning. Paul says, “How shall we continue in sin?” The emphasis is upon us
doing the sinning; not the sins, but it is our self as the sinner. Yes, the
consciousness of our past is blotted out, but Paul goes on to say here, “What
shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God
Our problem now is seen as our
self that does in fact continue to sin, it is that we are not conquering sin as
it should be conquered, its a self that isn’t as holy as it should be, a life
which isn’t as pure as we wish it to be, a self which doesn’t glorify Jesus
Christ as it should, a self that can’t produce the fruits that it wants to
produce. The problem of ourselves still sinning has now become visible to us.
Now this is the internal problem of the sin
nature, which Paul thoroughly addresses so well in Romans, 6, 7 and 8.
The next several parts of this study will examine the problem of Sin’s dominion over mankind, and the remedy that God has provided for us by “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:2), in much greater detail. This is a crucial understanding that has everything to do with how we may effectively live the Christian life.