I think Christianity is the only “religion” (Truth is a better word) where the believer has to periodically challenge themselves to make sure that they really are in the faith.
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test? 2 Cor 2:5
Yesterday I blogged about a double-edged sword and this morning I woke up with “Dual duel” on my mind. Because faith comes from God the battle begins. The outer man, the sinful flesh rejects God and does not want anything to do with him and cannot accept the things of God. And because of the law, we are challenged/at war…with ourselves!!!
But sin took the opportunity provided by this commandment and made me have all kinds of wrong desires. Clearly, without laws sin is dead. At one time I was alive without any laws. But when this commandment came, sin became alive and I died. I found that the commandment which was intended to bring me life actually brought me death. Sin, taking the opportunity provided by this commandment, deceived me and then killed me. So Moses’ Teachings are holy, and the commandment is holy, right, and good. Now, did something good cause my death? That’s unthinkable! Rather, my death was caused by sin so that sin would be recognized for what it is. Through a commandment sin became more sinful than ever. I know that God’s standards are spiritual, but I have a corrupt nature, sold as a slave to sin. I don’t realize what I’m doing. I don’t do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate. I don’t do what I want to do, but I agree that God’s standards are good. So I am no longer the one who is doing the things I hate, but sin that lives in me is doing them. I know that nothing good lives in me; that is, nothing good lives in my corrupt nature. Although I have the desire to do what is right, I don’t do it. I don’t do the good I want to do. Instead, I do the evil that I don’t want to do. Now, when I do what I don’t want to do, I am no longer the one who is doing it. Sin that lives in me is doing it. So I’ve discovered this truth: Evil is present with me even when I want to do what God’s standards say is good. I take pleasure in God’s standards in my inner being. However, I see a different standard [at work] throughout my body. It is at war with the standards my mind sets and tries to take me captive to sin’s standards which still exist throughout my body. What a miserable person I am! Who will rescue me from my dying body? I thank God that our Lord Jesus Christ rescues me! Romans 7:8-25
And when did this sin first rear its ugly head? From the beginning; Adam. But then, after Adam and Eve’s sin and the fall and curse, God did something so merciful…
Then the LORD God said, “The man has become like one of us, since he knows good and evil. He must not reach out and take the fruit from the tree of life and eat. Then he would live forever.” So the LORD God sent the man out of the Garden of Eden to farm the ground from which the man had been formed. After he sent the man out, God placed angels and a flaming sword that turned in all directions east of the Garden of Eden. He placed them there to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:22-24
Adam and Eve knew good and evil. If they were to take from the tree of life then they and their descendants would live forever under the domination of sin, and that would be unbearable. So God gave each one of us only a limited number of years on earth. He mercifully barred us from the garden and gave us this empty longing, so that we would seek Him.
From one man he has made every nation of humanity to live all over the earth. He has given them the seasons of the year and the boundaries within which to live. He has done this so that they would look for God, somehow reach for him, and find him. In fact, he is never far from any one of us. Certainly, we live, move, and exist because of him. As some of your poets have said, ‘We are God’s children.’ So if we are God’s children, we shouldn’t think that the divine being is like an image made from gold, silver, or stone, an image that is the product of human imagination…Acts 17:26-29
…to be restored to him now and in Heaven. So live triumphantly in the dual duel.
Father God, Thank you for the reminder to challenge ourselves to see if we are indeed in the faith. Thank you for the struggle against flesh because those who struggle have done away with sin. Give us strength today to live day to day in the dual duel knowing that “in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” In Jesus’ name, Amen