Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Free From Sin

In the book of Romans, it says repeatedly we are free from sin, free from sin, free from sin.

"Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." Romans 6:18

"But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." Romans 6:22

"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."  Romans 8:2

God has made many immutable laws. There are spiritual laws and physical laws. The law of gravity is an example of a fixed and unforgiving physical law that God made.  The bible says that by the promises God has given us, we are partakers in the divine nature. 

"Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these [the promises] ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." 2 Peter 1:4-9  

This Scripture also states that believers have escaped worldly lust and corruption. Have escaped. Past tense. Not are escaping or will escape. Have escaped!  

"And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:4-9

We start out as babes in Christ and are encouraged to crave "pure spiritual milk". We mature in the faith of Jesus and begin by making righteous choices one day at a time. In so doing, we add the above list of attributes one on top of the other. This is echoed in the following verses:

"But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken." Isaiah 28:13 

Continuing in 2 Peter...

"But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins."  2 Peter 4:10

According to Scripture, we have been purged from our old sins.  Again, past tense. Purged.  Check out what this word means in the Webster's 1828 Dictionary:

PURGE, v.t. purj. L. purgo.

1. To cleanse or purify by separating and carrying off whatever is impure, heterogeneous, foreign or superfluous; as, to purge the body by evacuation; We say, to purge away or to purge off filth, and to purge a liquor of its scum.

2. To clear from guilt or moral defilement; as,to purge one of guilt or crime; to purge away sin.

Purge away our sins, for thy name's sake. Ps.79.
Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean. Ps.51.

3. To clear from accusation or the charge of a crime, as in ordeal.

4. To remove what is offensive; to sweep away impurities. Ezek.20.

So, essentially purge means something that's been gotten rid of.  God has purged our sins from us. They are gone. This is as miraculous and mysterious as Christ's resurrection. And since God is outside the realm of time, he has, with his own blood, blotted out our sins past, present and future. Like an ink blotter from days gone by, his blood has blotted out the sins of everyone who believes on his name and is born again.

This transaction is a fact written in Scripture - and it is apart from our experience. This is awesome information and great news! :) It is the power of the gospel to them that believe on Him and on his name.

"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound ? God forbidHow shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" Romans 6:1-2

Paul speaks of a state of being called "dead to sin". Not "dead IN sin" - dead TO sin.  Meaning that sin no longer has power to persuade an individual to walk the dark path. Sin no longer has control. We have victory over sin. 

"Know ye not , that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."  Romans 6:3-4

The Bible didn't stop with a theological salvation where one can say that "positionally I'm saved and forgiven but conditionally I'm still a slave to sin." He said it's a new walk based on a previous death. 

"For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed , that henceforth we should not serve sin." Romans 6:5-6

Now whatever sin is, whatever the "body of sin" is - it is at least that thing wherein sin dwells, where sin grows, where sin is fed, where sin meets an expression. So that thing called the "body of sin", Paul says, was destroyed.  The result of that being destroyed, being crucified, is that henceforth we should not serve sin.

"For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him." Romans 6:7-9

It says, "For he that is dead" - he's assuming that is the condition of all believers.  This is not just Bible theory. It is fact.  Read carefully:

"For in that he died , he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth , he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."  Romans 6:10-12

He says to reckon ourselves dead.  Dead, not in figure - dead, not in type - dead, not in theory - dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus.

He said to count that to be true.  Reckon it to be true. That the seat, the foundation, the authority, the method by which a Christian stops sinning and never sins again and has power over all temptation and all sin, is based on the fact that the Christian is dead, just as Christ is dead and is as alive, we are dead but alive and freed from sin just as Christ is freed from sin.

That is what the Bible says.

It's tempting to look at our experience or what we see in ourselves or in others.  But what about just taking what the word of God says and believing it?  If we find it to be preposterous and ridiculous then we can dismiss it as irrelevant and unreal and go back to principal sanctification.

But let's not try to twist the word of God and make it into the mold of our modern concept of sanctification. Let's believe it like it's written or reject it as it's written. But let's not tamper with it.

Scripture says we now have the power to "let not" sin. We now have the power to yield not our members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, but unto God as those that are alive from the dead. 

2 Timothy 3:5 warns against those "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away". God's word is powerful.  When we have the Spirit of the living God within us, it is through HIS POWER that we are able to overcome the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.

"Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you." Romans 6:12-14

"But God be thanked that ye were the servants of sin..." 

Paul was writing to Christians in Rome that it was a fact, a past tense fact, a reality that they're living in. 

"...but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness."  Romans 6:17-18                                    

According to the apostle Paul, Christians are free from sin.  That is bible doctrine.  I know that at this point it needs all sorts of qualifications and limitations placed on it in order to make it fit our experience.  But let's not do that. Let's rise to the word of God rather than drag the word of God down to our experience. 

Paul says in Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ".  Not ought to be, not practicing that, but I am.  He then says, 

"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." Gal 2:20

Paul said he has a new life.  A new life that began with a death.

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudimentsc of the world, and not after Christ."

Philosophy is a love of wisdom; seeking out wisdom. Today Christianity is full of philosophy. It's wisdom of this world and wisdom of God blended together.

"For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him."  Col 2:9,10

I have made a choice to believe God.  He has declared me free from sin and a new creation.  Old things have passed away and behold ALL things are become new.  I have the power of the living God dwelling within me therefore I am no longer a slave to sin, but alive in Christ Jesus, baptized in his blood and risen and seated with him on the right hand of the Father.

Because these things are true, I reject man's teaching of having an  "old man" AND a "new man" inside me.

Because these things are true, I reject man's teaching of having a "sin nature" to blame for sin.  I've never had a sin nature, and neither have you.  God's word is always going to sound controversial these days because:
              a.) it's not being read
              b.) when it is read it's a corrupted version
              c.) it's not being believed and then preached
              d.) people have "itching ears" and more and more aren't tolerating sound doctrine.

But praise God we have the Scriptures to read and learn and live by. Praise God the truth can still be found.  I encourage you to keep seeking the Lord while he may be found and have faith in Him and his perfect word and not in man's philosophies and traditions.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Homespun Haircuts

Not everyone is comfortable with the thought of haircuts done at home. We all want to look our best and you can easily wind up looking your absolute worst with a botched up haircut. I know. Been there!

But giving haircuts to your family at home can be a real money saver. And time saver when you factor in making appointments, driving, waiting for the barber/stylist, etc. 

When my husband and I were newly married, we had very little money and I did all I could to be frugal and thrifty. So one day I bought a clipper set at Target that came with a free how-to video. I watched the video and it filled me with confidence.  "I can do that," I said to myself. And I did. Nowadays the clipper sets don't seem to come with videos anymore, but you can find them all over the internet, so that is just as good, if not better.  

Anyone with a little coordination and an ounce of artistic expression can give a decent haircut. 

My husband was a willing and ready participant.  This spoke nothing of my skill, only of his total aversion to barbers and salons! :)  So I experimented and buzzed and clipped away.  I have been giving my husband and kids haircuts now for 18 years and that is a lot of saving racked up!  

I invested in a better clipper about 7 years ago and it's been great. It is an "Andis" brand and cost about $80.  The only thing I don't like about it is that after three haircuts in a row, the metal body of the clipper can become very hot. But I'm learning to wield a pair of scissors pretty well now so I use the clippers just for the base, back and sides of the hair and scissor cut the tops.  

I have long hair and typically get it cut about 2-3 times a year and since my husband and sons have no desire to cut my hair, I get it cut professionally or at a Salon School very inexpensively, usually for $5 or $10. 

If you're interested in saving money (and we all should be) and expanding your homemaking skills, watch some good hair cutting tutorials and see what you think. It's actually fun and easy. I'm currently researching ways to cut my own hair because I can never seem to get the cut I want from the stylist. One of my favorite hair styling tutorials is over at thesmallthingsblog. Finally someone who shows us how to style side swipe bangs correctly! Woopee!

So factoring the math, this is the savings that home haircuts have afforded my family: 

18 years
6 haircuts per year 
Son 1
16 years
6 haircuts per year
Son 2 
14 years
6 haircuts per year 

Total Savings = $4,320.00!!

That represent a pretty substantial nest egg - enough to pay for a couple of nice vacations!  

I wish I'd have plunked fifteen bucks into a jar every time I gave a haircut. But alas, the extra money went for a bunch of other little things. 

I have had my share of boo boo's and once my husband had to wear a hat for 3 weeks (I told him not to move!) heh.  But that's to be expected. I've learned to have a steadier hand since then.  :-)

Do you give your family haircuts?