Notice the wording in the last Scripture. It is contrary to our moral reasoning and to the normal teaching we receive.
Paul does not say that sin is taken away from man. He says that man is taken away from sin. Sin continues as something that remains. In contrast, human reasoning asserts that sin is taken away, and man remains and is cleansed by his good works and his altered lifestyle.
In Psalm 81:6, referring to the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, the Lord states, "I removed his shoulder from the burden..." He did not say He removed the burden from his shoulder. God did not take the Egyptians away from the children of Israel, He led Israel out of Egypt, which remained behind.
Grace, with its spiritual righteousness, gives man rebirth. This changes him entirely. It turns him away from sin, but lets sin remain. In other words, though grace gives birth to a righteous spirit, it lets sin remain in the flesh.
Human righteousness tries to remove or to change all sins, and keep man intact. The result is hypocrisy, not righteousness. Unless man accepts grace and its renewing change, no effort of his own can prevent him from being subject to sin. This makes him subject to the law also, because his emphasis is on his behavior.
Here is the situation: The law reveals sin (Romans 7:7). If, as Scripture states, believers are dead to sin and removed from it, the effective result is that sin is taken away and is dead to them. But when a man is not dead to sin and taken away from it, all his efforts fail to get rid of sin and become dead to it.
Sin is removed spiritually. When Samuel anointed Saul, he told Saul he would be turned into another man. He didn't tell Saul his sins would turn into something else. He said Saul would be changed, then his actions would change (1 Samuel 10:6).
Ephesians 2:10 tells us we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. It does not say we create good works within ourselves. Our efforts to change on our own are foolishness and wasted energy. We need instead to humble ourselves and pray to be receptive to His changes as He brings them about by His grace.
If we do not accept our death to sin, sin continues to have dominion over us. This means we are subject to the law, through which sin exercises its dominion (Romans 7:8-11). If we refuse to be subject to the Holy Spirit, we are slaves to sin, no matter how much good work we perform. Everything hangs on our willingness to submit to the Holy Spirit.
Many of us misunderstand spirituality. We like to quote Scripture. We think to understand Scripture intellectually is spiritual. We fail to consider that understanding comes through Spiritual revelation (1 John 2:27). Isaiah 11:2 speaks of the Spirit of wisdom. We forget that only the Holy Spirit understands Scripture according to God's wisdom.
Those of us who ignore the Spirit, but think we understand, are like those mentioned in Matthew 13:13. Seeing, we see not, and hearing, we hear not. We perform as we think saints should perform, but we are not saints; we think we are righteous, but we are not righteous; we go about doing good, but we accomplish nothing good.
As disciples, we understand that our doing must be accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit. Anything we do because of fear of punishment, or from a desire for advantage, or to try to earn brownie points with God, is nothing more than activity of the flesh.
Our deepest motivation should be love of God and of our fellow man. That is impossible without the love that is shed abroad by the Holy Spirit. Our old spirit must die and a new spirit be resurrected, before we are capable of deeds of love.
More Christian material is available today than ever before in history, but not one word of it makes us righteous. We should pray not to become learned scholars unless we also pray to be in relationship with Christ through His Spirit.
When we rely upon our intellect to receive the Gospel as Gospel, it becomes nothing more than "letter." The Bible clearly states that the "letter" kills. The letter without the Spirit is dead. Only the Spirit gives life to the letter.
Unless we accept the crucifixion of our old man and our subsequent resurrection, or new birth, we will never walk in the grace of God. We will continually try to earn our way in some fashion. And we will miss God.
Here is the difference between law and grace:
Those of us who turn the Gospel into law instead of grace, try to set Christ before us as a type of Moses, instead of a loving God who died that we might live, here on earth, and in eternity.
Remember, our spiritual resurrection removed us from the control of sin, just as God removed Israel from Egypt. The decisions we make from this point, determine whether we reside in the wilderness or the promised land.
Jesus is King!
P.S. What are you doing of eternal value?
Question for today: Do I understand that I am delivered from the law; therefore delivered from performance?