Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The man in Romans 7........

The man in Romans 7 - I was just thinking today about the argument or debate over the "doctrine of indwelling sin" and how some have compelling arguments about how they still sin, therefore it must mean they have still have indwelling sin.....I know Steve McVey would say he believes we still have indwelling sin, but he would consider it "in our members" or our I would agree that our flesh is weak, because our flesh still gets in the way and often takes us down paths we don't want to go, or into sin .....anyway....the point I want to make is I think it becomes confusing when we don't understand the make up of a believer, by that I mean the trinity of man....spirit, soul and body.....our spirit, is one with Christ, our old nature, or spirit is gone and we are now new creations in in the spiritual realm we are perfectly righteous since God sees us as He sees Christ. Our flesh on the other hand is a whole different my point is, that whether we all agree on indwelling sin or not, I believe it is crucial to point out the difference of our make-up, our three parts....spirit, soul and body.....if we focus on how God sees us in Spirit it frees us to live more like that in reality in our flesh......but if we focus on our "indwelling sin" which is really our flesh, we may think we have no hope of ever being free from sin, or sin patterns, when that is completely not true. We identify as perfect forever! Not as forever people with an indwelling sin problem! That is not a helpful way to walk around in life as a Christian who has been promised to reign in life! Anyway, just some more of my thoughts on this very confusing man in Romans 7........!!

And Joel, please feel free to add your 2 cents worth, ha, I love it!!!! 


Joel B. said...

Hi Lydia,

I think you hit on one of the major keys in the whole discussion of sin/sin nature/indwelling sin. Understanding who we are - body, soul, spirit - and knowing that our spirit has become one spirit with God (1 Cor 6:17), is a new creation (2 Cor 5:17, Gal 6:15), born again of incorruptible seed (1 Peter 1:23), a partaker of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), etc.

I think that various grace teachers who understand spirit, soul and body do arrive at the same or similar conclusions in the end, although their views of scripture cause them to arrive at their similar conclusions in different ways (as pointed out in some words from Ryan Rufus on the Grace in Flood blog).

I've looked into this a lot over the years, and I've seen the various cases that people have made, all using scripture. If I took some time I could probably lay out three different cases that I've heard about us not having a sin nature, and I could probably be convincing about each one. :) And then I could go back and refute various points in each case as well!

So many different factors are used in making each individual case, and unless we can all agree on each of the factors, we'll never come to perfect agreement. What I mean is, certain words in the Greek that hold different meaning than in the English translation are sometimes ignored in various teachings. Certain context is sometimes left out. Certain English phrases are interpreted differently by different people.

And so getting back to what you have said is important... that we understand who we are in our spirits... that's where I think we all have arrived at pretty much the same conclusions. Perhaps the reason we can arrive at the same conclusions, though through different means, is that the Bible does seem to be a lot more clear about the "answer" to sin than it does about making the case for "the problem." :) In other words, the Apostle Paul's writings about the problem of sin seem to be interpreted differently by different people, but yet I think his overall "answer" to the problem seems to be clearer. Walk in the Spirit and you won't fulfill the lust of the flesh. Set your minds on things above. Renew your minds daily. And all his writings about our new identity in Christ. None of his writings tell us that focusing on sin will cause victory over sin.

Again I've said a mouthful, but this time you invited it, Lydia! LOL :) I guess I say all this to say that I've given up being dogmatic about the issue of whether or not there is such a thing as "indwelling sin." I've seen all the arguments and I can respect each one.

What I think we all do seem to agree upon (those of us in the 'grace community') is that we don't have two natures (a sin nature and a righteous nature). Our spirits, which is who we are, have truly become a new creation, fully righteous, fully perfect, born of incorruptible seed, etc. In that we can all rejoice!

lydia said...

Thanks Joel, you did not disappoint me......I have to say the reason I bring this topic up so much, is not so much to discuss it with all of my grace community blogging friends, although I do enjoy a good dialogue and getting different perspectives, as much as it is to bring it up because, as I told you before, I come from a culture that was so focused on this "doctrine" in an unhelpful way, they focused so much more on sin than all the benefits and freedoms we truly have in Christ, so I find it compelling that there are so many more ways to look at this issue than my former culture looked at it!! There is power in Christ's finished work and we do not need to focus on sin, but on Him.....there are so many more reasons why the sin struggle is there, than just their perspective that sin still dwells in us, and I think even they believe we may have a dual nature from the way I understand it, not totally sure but I find it to be very restricting and binding........and I find it so freeing to accept God's gift of righteousness to me, so that is my ultimate heart in repeatedly discussing this issue the way I do!!!! And I know it is yours as well, that is why I invited your 2 cents, ha!!! Much grace to you!

lydia said...

Okay so after posting my last comment, I felt compelled to give some examples, I remember hearing a pastor share from the pulpit that he was standing around talking to some other pastors and he sighed and postured himself in a not so humble stance, (probably because he was frustrated who knows, maybe he was having a bad day and/or tired) and he shared how another pastor approached him to correct him about his posture......this is how intense it was, you simply were not allowed to look sinful in any way....or how often people would assume by something you said was sinful because it sounded bad, but really your heart intent was good it just didn't come out well the way you expressed it.....I suppose I could give you better examples than this, but thankfully right now I can't remember! I just would rather focus on what is right with me, because of what Jesus has purchased for me, because I think that gives God glory.....does that mean I think I am perfect and can't grow, not at all....I just celebrate what He has done in me and continues to do in me, because He promises to complete the work HE began!!!! Hallelujah!!

Joel B. said...

I totally get where you're coming from, Lydia. There is a deep, deep, ungodly focus on sin in the church today, and it's helping absolutely no one!

I think the biggest reason for the dual nature teachings has to do with the misunderstanding of body, soul, spirit, as you pointed out. If people don't understand what has happened to our spirit, they will think that because we sin, we have some Jekyll and Hyde thing going on. But there's just no such thing.

I do know of a few grace teachers who teach dual nature, but they are definitely the exception. Most of the ones I know of teach one nature, a righteous nature. Even in the teaching of indwelling sin ("in our members," not "in our spirits") a case is made from scripture that it's not a matter of dueling natures. We're righteous, we're holy, we're sanctified, we're complete in Him, and to line up with the point I think you're making here, if we focus on Jesus, and who we are in Him, rather than focusing on any sort of struggle with sin, we have victory, because the victory is in Jesus!

I can relate to the examples you gave! Man, I've heard lots of preachers, and I have lots of friends whose sole focus seems to be sin, sin, sin, and how to avoid sin, and how to not look sinful, and how to stop others from sinning, and... it goes on and on! And they can appear so 'convincing' in their fight against sin. It's pitiful. But hopefully through the grace community and through wonderful grace teachers, the focus is turning around to who we are in Christ, and to righteousness that we've received as a gift - and to glorying in that gift!

lydia said...

Amen! Yes it is pitiful to obsess so much over sin like that, I just recently read something from a sermon preached at my old church. They were preaching from Galatians and about walking by the Spirit, anyway, they have these questions that they send out for the fellowship groups and all of the questions are so focused on how can you do better, instead of how has God been working in you and what fruit do you see Him producing through you more and's the fruit of the Spirit, not fruit of your efforts to do better!!! Ugh! Anyway, it's really frustrating because we do all want the end result of growth and fruit, and it's funny I never did one thing, but I have more joy and peace than I ever did while under that old mentality and teaching!