Manage episode 370752130 series 3023172
Sin – it is not a popular topic. We don't want to think about it or talk about it. We want to just sweep it under the rug.
What is sin? Sin is breaking rules. But it is more than that.
SIN IS A DARK FORCE THAT ENSLAVES US TO ITS POWER.
That's why St. Paul often uses the language of SLAVERY AND FREEDOM when he talks about sin.
Sin makes us feel powerless.
This powerlessness is well expressed in Paul's letter to Romans.
I am of the flesh, sold into slavery under sin. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. (Romans 7:14-20)
The last sentence shows the nature of sin very well.
Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. (Romans 7:20)
Sin is not just breaking the rules. It is not just what we do wrong. It is not just our shortcomings.
Sin is the dark power that dwells within you. Sin is the power that brings the worst of yourself. It destroys your self-esteem. It robs you of your confidence. It condemns you.
It is not you who is doing this to yourself. It is sin within you that does it. It sounds like blaming sin, not yourself. That is not what Paul is trying to say. Paul is trying to show the powerful reality that exists very within us. You are deeply affected by this dark power. This dark power is so powerful that you feel enslaved. It is almost like cancer within you.
It takes away the joy of life. It drives you to fear and darkness. It creates guilt within you and this guilt torments you. There is always a dark cloud hovering over you.
We have noble visions, beautiful dreams, ideals and yet this dark power destroys them all. When sin convicts you, you become paralyzed and feel hopeless.
By doing something good here and something good there will not be the way to deal with our sin. Trying to be a nice person will not be able to pluck out the sin that is within you.
We all have laws within us. If you have grown up in Christian environment, you have God's commandment and Jesus' teaching. Even if you have not grown up in Christian environment, you have learned a moral code. You have these laws and try to follow them. These laws are good. They tell you what is good and what is bad.
But having the law – does it help? Knowing what to do – does it help?
When you don't have power to carry out, what good is it to KNOW what to do? It's like saying to a depressed person, Don't be depressed. It's like saying to a very angry person, Don't be angry.
These laws are useless. Our conscience is not very helpful either.
Do we have no choice then? Do we have to live, dictated by this dark and negative power? Can we ever experience true freedom?
Freedom is not to do whatever you want. Freedom is to be free from this dark and negative power.
Having enough money and not having to work – that is not what freedom is. You have time and money so that you can travel wherever you want to go – that is not what freedom is. That is Lotto 649 Freedom, not real freedom.
Freedom is freedom from sin. It is freedom from fear. Freedom from worries and anxieties. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from greed. Freedom from hatred. Freedom from anger. Freedom from low self-esteem.
Having enough money and not having to work cannot give you that kind of freedom. Travelling wherever you want to go will not give you that kind of freedom.
St. Paul said this in today's passage.
For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. (Romans 6:14)
Only the power that can destroy the power of sin is grace. When Jesus died on the cross, the power of grace was released. It is like a floodgate being opened.
GRACE IS GOD'S DECISION NOT TO CONDEMN YOU BUT TO ACCEPT YOU.
St. Paul realized this wonderful truth about God when he met Christ and reflected on him. He discovered the mysterious truth of God's grace.
This was what he said.
What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? (Romans 8:31)
When God decided to love us in spite of our shortcomings, who will accuse us? When God decided to accept us, who will charge us? Who will convict us?
Who will bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? ( Romans 8:33, 34)
After saying this, St. Paul said this wonderful truth.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38, 39)
God has decided to accept you no matter how weak you are. That is God's grace. It is a simple fact. But when you believe that, the power of grace will be released into you. That is good news. That is the Gospel. That power of grace destroys the power of sin. That power of grace chases out the power of sin that enslaves you. Then you will find freedom at last.
You are free from fear. You are free from condemnation. You are free from always having to prove yourself. You are free to be who you are.
When other people accept me as I am and love me, I experience freedom. How much more freedom you will experience when your Almighty God accepts you as you are and loves you?
Yes, that is the power of grace.
Freedom At Last!