So we’ve worked out that we’re part of a messed up population.
But we can, so far as God’s law is concerned claim to have all of the law’s boxes ticked. We’re perfect in God’s sight as far as the law is concerned. So that’s that then: happy days, we can live as we like because we’ve got a ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card up our sleeves. Not quite.
The human race was fundamentally impacted by the actions of our descendents Adam and Eve. Their rejection of God’s instructions infused us all with a nature that is at odds with God’s perfect way of doing things. We may be cleared of the legal judgement hanging over us but to go on feeding a nature that is at odds with God seems neither right nor fitting. In fact it would be hypocrisy of the highest order to accept release from a legal judgement and then to go on doing the very thing that broke the law in the first place. The trouble is that the old nature within us has a strong pull back to the bad old ways. But God puts in each believer a new nature with new desires to do the right thing. This sets up a conflict in every believer in Jesus – on one hand a nature that tends towards stuff like the following (not my list but one from the bible): sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. In stark contrast the new nature desires stuff like (not my list but one from the bible): love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
So once we believe, how do we clean up our act? How do we live lives that are consistent with people who have an old rotten nature within us rubbing along with a God-like new nature? It’s all about which one you nourish and in which zone you spend your time and energy. We can choose. We can choose to feed the old rotten nature by filling our minds and our being with stuff that is ‘old nature’ stuff, choosing to spend our time in this zone has predictable results. Read the list again – you know where to find this sort of thing and if you spend your time in this zone you will feed the old nature and find yourself doing these things. Alternatively we can feed the new nature. God has put his Holy Spirit within us to help with this. He prompts and he gives us the power to feed the new nature. He doesn’t force his way in, it’s up to us. The bible invites us to ‘order our lives according to the Spirit’. As we live moment by moment in this zone we will find ourselves becoming more like Jesus.
Perhaps not surprisingly God has provided some incentives to live in the right zone. One day we will stand before him. If we have believed in Jesus we will be OK in terms of the law – no second death for us. But we will receive rewards for how we live after we believe. We may just get through by the skin of our teeth or we may pass this rewards process with flying colours – the choice is yours.