There is this question floating around out there. It’s asked by people who see the spiritual depth and wonder if they’ll ever get there. The stories about how people get there scare the crap out of them. It’s always some sort of life breaking catastrophe with a miracle in the middle and an album of songs in the aftermath. So the question is, “Do I have to go through something terrible to really see God?”
They all wonder what is going to happen to them.
What they don’t understand is it’s not about what someone will do to them. It’s about what they’ll do. It’s the moment when you see yourself at your worst, are clear about your fault, and are completely hopeless.
The question that comes next: “Do I have to sin to really see God?” But, that’s only dating the false assumption that they don’t sin.
If you think that you are without sin or have the ability to be strong enough to avoid it, then you do not know God. It is impossible to receive a gift if you think you don’t need it. Grace is not yours if you spend your life running from it.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? -Romans 6:1
If that is what you took from this, then you’re not getting it.
By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? -Romans 6:2
Grace is not yours if you spend your life running from it. That means that you can live the most pristine moral life and still not have a relationship with God. Squeaky cups and dirty guts. The best wine could be poured into your glass and come out with rehydrated bits of yesterday’s gross.
You can hear the best delivered truths and your preconceived agenda twists the meaning right out of them.
Those who have been saved by grace in the moment of complete terror and spiritual despair know that their salvation cannot be messed with. They know this because it came to them at their worst. They’re not living in fear, they’re living their new life knowing that sin can never, ever destroy them.
What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? -Romans 6:15
From the moment the Gospel has been preached, the same questions come up. They still come up. Nobody is saying anything new, it’s just that the more explicit the message, the more intense the challenge to the pious. People fight the Gospel like they’re fighting for their life. It’s just that they’re fighting for a life they’re supposed to die to.
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? -Romans 6:16
You’re obeying sin when you’re living in fear of it. That’s how you become a slave to sin.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. -Romans 6:20
Sin is a micromanaging slave owner welding a whip of guilt and threats of condemnation. The overweight bully picks on you because a sense of entitlement demands that everyone else satisfies him while he gorges himself on making you feel like you’re nothing but a failure.
You know you have to be righteous, nobody lied to you regarding that, but if you actually think you have the ability to satisfy the demand, then you are a slave under a master who will never tell you that the war is over and freedom has been won.
It’s time to abandon your little slave shack of faith and run. Yeah, your oppressor will come after you, but by the time you get a chance to glance over your shoulder, you’ll be able to see him swallowed up by the Sea of Truth.
Even better? If sin believes you’re dead, then he no longer has the power to kill you and won’t come looking for you.
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. -Romans 6:3-4
No amount of reasoning can take what Jesus did away from you. Grace wins every single time.
How often have you had to hide the unfinished edges of your attempt to make something good out of your life with lies and fake smiles? Do you not know that what you hope for is actually real and it’s not your responsibility to think it up, get it started, or to maintain it?
But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. -Romans 6:21
It doesn’t matter how dressed up you can get. You can’t blur out the fact that inside your heart you know that you haven’t had a good meal in a long time and you’re starving. Maybe you shouldn’t sit at the table full of spiritual anorexics. They’ve lied to themselves for so long, solid truth makes them sick.
Sin is a master who cannot be satisfied. No matter how good you are, you know you’re not good enough and it makes you die a little inside. That’s the other side of why the ‘wages of sin is death’.
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 6:22-23