Friday, June 5, 2009

Living in accordance withthe Gospel and sound doctrine.

1 Tim. 1:8-11 (ESV)
Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, [9] understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, [10] the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, [11] in accordance with the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

The law is good, if one uses it lawfully. The law is good. I don’t think we could properly live without it. It keeps the peace. It isn’t laid down for the just. Luther talks about this in “on Secular Authority” that Christians don’t need the law if they are Christians. Christians live just lives. They restrain themselves and do not wish to break the law, because they love their neighbors. It is the unjust the ungodly and sinners that need to be restrained by the law. The law is good if it is used lawfully. The law though is like a whip. It can be used unlawfully. It can be used to persecute the just. Truth is we are all sinners and somewhere somehow the law can be used against us. Paul though here is talking about sinners as those who are outwardly immoral, ungodly, and profane.
The law is to be used against such people, people who live contrary to sound doctrine, who don’t live in accordance with the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which Paul was entrusted. Not the Gospel strictly speaking is the forgiveness of sins, that frees us from sin, death, and the power of the devil. It pulls us out from underneath the condemnation of the law. The gospel is an objective fact that never goes away, that Jesus Christ died as a propitiation for our sins. Having been freed from sin, though, we do not wish to return to sin, to be enslaved by it, yet again. Sin ensl aves man, as bad as any enslaver. Here is perhaps the biggest condemnation against slavery there is in the New Testament. If there were no enslavers where would slaves come from? In the ancient world there were those who sold themselves into slavery, in order to pay off debts. But the idea that a person could go into Africa grab an otherwise free man, and enslave him is not in accordance with sound doctrine. Arabs don’t have that condemnation, Muslims don’t. It is a sad irony too me that African Americans often see Islam as being “their” religion. Islam still has slavery! It is Muslims enslaving the black Christian tribes of southern Sudan even today! Saudi Arabia only outlawed slavery in 1972, and that was nothing but lip service to appease the West, which if not Christian had been deeply influenced by Christianity. But I have digressed. Sin enslaves.
I’m really not sure what sin is not addictive on some level. And we all have them those sins we fight against day in and day out. We fight and fight and yet is stays. Then we finally break free of that temptation only to find that we are tempted by another sin. Often, though we don’t recognize the next one as sin. Pride does that hides the fact that we are sinners from us. Sometimes we even fall to the temptation. And the law comes to claim its trophy, our head mounted over the fireplace. But the Gospel yet again frees us.
Living in the Gospel, though, in accordance with sound doctrine, the Christian does not wish to be yet again enslaved to sin. So we resist temptation. Free from sin, we desire to live in love for our neighbor as Christ lived in love for us, freeing us from sin.

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