This meditation is Part 3 in a three-part series of meditations on Romans 6-8.
When Christians forsake themselves and their self-absorbed way of life, they take on the life of Christ and a new way of life in Christ. Romans 6-7 describes the old way of life as living according to the law of sin and death, living according to the flesh. Unfortunately, the old self and the old way of life are not so easily abandoned, even though we are completely saved by Christ, resulting in the inner conflict I call the duality dilemma.
This meditation is Part 2 in a three-part series of meditations on Romans 6-8.
As Christians, we live life in parallel universes. Our old self has been buried with Christ in His death and He has given us a new self: “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life which i now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, NASB).
In Christ the new self is now the real self, but the old self is still there. It’s like it hasn’t been completely subdued in spite of one’s surrender to Christ. In Romans 7 the Apostle Paul provides a firsthand description of this inner struggle with one’s old self, this duality dilemma.
“So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come… With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever…For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them.” (Hebrews 9:11-14, NLT).
In the ancient Jewish religious order God’s presence was represented as residing in the Most Holy Place in the temple behind two sets of curtains. Only a high priest could enter into this Most Holy Place once a year and then never without a blood sacrifice, which he offered to make atonement for his sin and the sins of the people (see 9:6-7).
“We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives.” (Romans 6:6, NLT).
When you are joined with Christ, your old source of power, sin, gets unplugged and you plug into a new source of power, the Holy Spirit.
“For Christ’s love compels us, since we have reached this conclusion: If One died for all, then all died. And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15, HCSB).
There are two ways to live a holy life, two versions of sanctification. These verses describe the right way sanctification should be manifested or lived out in our lives.
In Matthew 25 Jesus tells a number of “second-coming” parables, one of which is the well-known and oft-quoted Parable of the Talents.
In this parable a man makes an extended trip to a far country so he entrusts his servants with some of his financial resources to invest while he is away. He gives one servant five talents (talent was a unit of weight, about 75 pounds, to measure coinage and now is used to indicate an ability), one two talents, and the other one talent.
If you knew the teaching of Jesus that is repeated the most times in the Gospels, wouldn’t you want to do it? As His disciple, wouldn’t you want to apply it to your life?
Well, here it is: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25, NASB).
Yes, it’s a familiar verse. You’ve probably heard many sermons and Sunday School lessons preached and taught on these verses.