“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.” (Romans 6:5-7 ESV)
The issue of sin in the life of the believer is not a question of right or wrong; it’s a question of life and death. If we establish the fact that sin, by definition, is disobedience to God, then the transformative power of grace is defined by the daily surrender (metaphorically dying to self) to the will of the Father.
Jesus said in John 10:10 that “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly.” A life that is characterized by sin and walking in the selfishness of the flesh is a life that is submitted to the thief and is marked as a dead existence. However, a life that is characterized as submitted fully to Christ, daily surrendering our will to the will of the Father through the power of the Spirit for the glory of the Son is a life that is resurrected.
We find salvation in Christ because the Holy Spirit has convicted us of our sin and as a result we come to understand that our way of living is a dead end and doesn’t work in the grand eternal scheme. We learn that like children we are enslaved to our natural appetites, desires, and carnal thinking. However, living in the Spirit is a transformative experience that begins with the renewal of the mind, transforming the heart, and working its way out in our choices, actions, attitudes, and behaviors.
Repentance is a daily renewing of the mind, recognizing that that our old life before we met Christ is now crucified and buried and left for dead behind us. Our new life in Christ is a life that is no longer a dead, burdensome existence that weighs us down, but is characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are all the fruit of the Spirit-filled life that grow in our hearts, minds, and attitudes driving our actions forward for the sake of the Kingdom of God, not our own mini-kingdom where we make the rules on our own.
As a result, this necessitates an external standard of moral truth as opposed to a relativistic standard of truth that applies to each individual. Truth is not relative. We can all agree that murder is wrong, but on what basis? When we take away an objective, external standard of moral truth, we end up with shifting standards that result in chaos, confusion, and anarchy.
As a bondservant of Christ, we are free from the shackles and enslavement to sin that is self-destructive. The difference between being a slave and a bondservant is the ability to exercise the will. As a bondservant, it is your choice to submit to the will of the Father in your heart and mind. Aside from Christ, you are enslaved to your sin and self and all of the desires, appetites, and self-destructive behaviors that can naturally bring. Sure, by worldly standards, there are “good people” in the world. But that standard is constantly shifting with the winds of time from one month to the next, none more apparent than it is today.
However, with a standard that is solid and unchanging – a foundational rock upon which you can build your life, the life in Christ – there is peace and stability and hope. There is confidence in knowing that the standards do not change. There is confidence in knowing that we are all held accountable to the same standards. There is confidence in knowing what it takes to please the Father because His nature is unchanging.