Wednesday, Mar. 1
The plight of the unredeemed sinner seems to be hopeless. Think of a dead man floating down the river. But there is hope. “God is not willing that any should perish.” 2 Pet. 3:9. Christ, fully God and fully man, paid the sin debt, providing new life. Our new relationship with God makes it possible to swim up stream. Paul describes this new relationship in Romans. On the basis of belief alone, a man is declared righteous. But being declared righteous and becoming righteous are two different things. The change is not automatic. We don’t all of a sudden become sinless. But the option to change is available. Belief, repentance, regeneration, justification (declared righteous), the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the beginning of sanctification all begin at one point—called conversion. As the sanctification process continues through our lifetime, the default to sin is still there. Using the crossing the river analogy, the dead body has come to life, but the tendency is still to float down river. Paul deals with this in Rom. 7-8. Chapter 7 describes the frustration of wanting to swim up stream, but not being very successful. Chapter 8 gives the solution. The indwelling Holy Spirit is right there to prompt us to right action as well as provide the power to do it. The dead man that has come back to life can now choose to swim up stream. Paul calls it “walking in the Spirit.” The indwelling Holy Spirit is always there, but we can choose to reject him—to “quench the Spirit” (1 Thes. 5:19). I may not become a champion swimmer, but I’m moving in the right direction.