Andy and I finished reading Galatians yesterday.
What do you do when sin is staring you in the face? Whatever your poison how to you face it? Pornography, facebook addiction, religiosity, anger, impatience. Whatever the fruit it's all anti-gospelness, it's all Christ-denial and cross-emptying. It persists in us all but how do we live with it? That's one of the key questions in Galatians. More specifically what do you do in that situation when you're a Christian. The one who isn't a Christian is pictured going with the flow of sin, or being religious. Both are slavery. And equated to one another. But, the Christian is free. Set free at the cross of Christ. Set free to be free.
Consequently when sin is eyeballing the Christian slavery is out of the question. Capitulating to sin isn't necessary, and to impose a rule would be the same as just sinning. (My logic on this is the way that Paul connects and then appears to interchangeably talk about sin and law as slavery, the latter merely satifying the former). If not these then what?
The Christian is free instead to walk by the Spirit and boast in the cross. That's two very fine sounding religious phrases, meaning what? Something like when sin comes eyeballing the Christian he instead says I'll take the opportunity to do good, to do what the Spirit would do here. Boasting not in my having overcome sin but rather that Christ set me free. Rejoicing not in my victory but in his victory. Not in my righteous behaviour, but in his perfect righteousness that has been creditted to my account by his death.
Sometimes however the Christian will sin. Often, actually. With two natures at war within us - though by no means equal. And when I sin what will I do? I can only boast in the cross. I repent and fling myself on Christ declaring I am a new creation, the life I lead in this wretched body is dead - but in Christ I'm alive. I wear him on the outside. He lives within me by his Spirit. And none of this is because I'm good. All of it is his gift. Without Christ I'd be a slave. With Christ I'm a son however my life goes.
Sin lurks and often fools me, my feeble heart yielding to unbelief in the promises of God that are really my life. I weep that I mock God with my sin. I weep that I mock God with my rule-keeping. Actions that look 'good' but are mere shadows and dreams. Actions that attempt paint over cracks of where I'm not really believing the gospel, but instead getting out of step with it. Let me never trust anything but the cross - not the lies of sin that boast ability to satisfy me, nor the lies of religion with their claims to help which are really just further enslavement.
In Christ, I'm a son - and that's enough.
Mo: For too long I have heard (and believed, sadly) that godliness is some type of project involving effort and accountability that one gets on with after trusting the Gospel to become a Christian. It isn't. In fact, that's veering towards the Galatian heresy in my not so humble opinion. Godliness is my battle to believe the Gospel. When I sin, I need to dig out the root of unbelief....