Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Alive To God In Christ Jesus

Romans 6:11

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

I had a young person in my office recently. This young person was having a battle with an addiction and was asking for my recommendation on how to overcome the addiction. When they were in the midst of their addictive behavior – they would feel the Holy Spirit pricking their heart – yet they enjoyed the addiction – so they often pushed the Spirit aside. It was a real struggle – a struggle many of us have battled before and will battle in the future.

I know a person who has battled addiction for many decades. They have suffered much. Their family has suffered much as well. They seemingly had defeated the addiction for a long period of time only to have it rear its ugly head again. Addiction is never gone – it is always one day at a time. Our victory is only a needle – a bottle – a porn site away. Addiction can at times make us seem powerless to control ourselves. Continue reading

July 12, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Consider Yourself Dead to Sin

Romans 6:11

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

One of the hardest doctrines or concepts for me to grasp is being dead to sin – and alive in God – while still battling temptations and sin here and now.  Romans 6 follows Paul’s teaching about grace in Romans 5.  Paul even begins Romans 6 by saying even though covered by grace we should not sin so that grace can go its job.  He acknowledges that grace covers sins but that we should not sin.  Romans 6:1-2 – 1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

I think Paul – the author of Romans – also struggled with this concept even as he wrote about it because in the very next chapter he writes about the battle that raged in him.  Romans 7:15 – I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  I think many of us can identify with Paul’s struggle – I know I do.

Paul also wrote that no temptation has come upon us that hadn’t come upon others in the past.  1 Corinthians 10:13 – No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. So there really is no excuse for our sin – accept that we have a sin nature – and even though it has been overcome by the new nature in Christ – it doesn’t go very far I believe.  It is a daily overcoming – even as it has been overcome eternally through grace.  Am I making any sense?

I’m so glad that it is by grace that I am forgiven and not by my ability to be sinless.  I pray often for God to give me the strength to walk in the path He has set before me and not the one that my sin nature points out.  I am so thankful that God’s grace covers my failures.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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June 10, 2011 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Dead to Sin – Is This an Eternal or Temporal State?

Romans 6:11

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

At times I sure wish this passage were a one and done deal.  I wish I could count myself dead to sin once – and always be alive in Christ and never struggle with sin again.  I am not talking about my salvation folks – this is not a discussion of once saved always saved or falling from grace.  It is a discussion about the ongoing process called Sanctification being made holy.  Being done with sin – not on the eternal stage – but on the temporal right now stage of life.  Is this only a hope for eternity or is there a place in this life where our sin nature is completely destroyed?

Just before this verse – Paul is writing about grace – and how grace covers our sins (I’m so thankful for grace).  He writes about grace being BIG enough to cover all of our sins – but that we shouldn’t go out and sin all we can to let grace show off (paraphrase).  Here is the actual:

Romans 5:20b-6:2 – 5:20b But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 6:1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

I understand that Christ died once to pay for sin – past – present – future.  I understand that His death paid for my sins – and the sins of the world – for those who would accept Him.  I just get caught up in day-to-day living!  Am I alone?  The sin nature – defeated on the cross – still raises it head from time to time – at times too often for sure (even once is too often).  I am caught somewhere between these two passages of Scripture:

2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Romans 7:19 – For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing.

Am I alone – or do other Christians experience day-to-day struggles with sin?  Or even moment-to-moment?

I know I have victory in Christ.  I know I do not have to sin.  I know God will not allow me to be tempted beyond the place where He can give me a way out.

1 Corinthians 10:13 – No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Yet – like Paul – the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing.  Not always – but once is too often!

Lord – my prayer for myself – and for any others who struggle with sin in their lives – is that more and more we would grow into the grace You have given us.  I pray that we will be a brighter light with each passing day – as You give us victory over the temptations of life.  Looking forward to the eternal blessing while living in it even now!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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November 23, 2010 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Faith Journey, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Witness is More than Mere Jewelry

Romans 6:11

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

There use to be a fad going around – where people wore bracelets or other jewelry that had the letters WWJD on them.  Unfortunately – like the fad of wearing the cross – for many it was just a fad or a trendy piece of jewelry.

WWJD stands for What Would Jesus Do.  The original idea was that by wearing these letters we might be reminded to think about what Jesus would do in the situations we find ourselves.  When we reach out to change the radio channel – if we were wearing a bracelet we would see the letters and maybe think – would Jesus listen to this channel?  When we write a check or hand someone our credit card – would Jesus purchase this item.  As we go through life – the WWJD was to remind us to ask ourselves what Jesus would do.  Of course we shouldn’t need a piece of jewelry to remind us of this question.  As Christians – we should have that question on our very heart.  As Christians – bought and paid for by the blood of the lamb – we are to count ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Unfortunately – good intentions don’t always help us stay the course.  Wearing a cross is supposed to remind us of the sacrifice of Christ – some even wearing a crucifix – (a cross with Christ still on it) – to remind them of His suffering and death.  Some wear an empty cross to remind them of his death (the cross) but also the resurrection (the empty cross).  Unfortunately – the cross for many becomes just another piece of jewelry with very little meaning or impact on their daily lives.

We are to count ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.  To me this means we are to do what would please God – in all that we do – rather than what please us.  We have been bought and paid for by the blood of Christ – thus Christ owns us.  1 Corinthians 6:20 – you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body.  We are to represent our Lord and Savior – 2 Corinthians 5:20 – We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

WWJD is more than mere jewelry – it is supposed to be a lifestyle – a way of representing Christ to the world around us!  Please don’t advertise yourself as a Christian if you aren’t at least going to try to live the life of Christ.  It makes it so much harder for those who are trying – to reach the unchurched – the unsaved.  Our witness counts my friends – and our witness is more than mere jewelry!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

November 17, 2010 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Theology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ!

Romans 6:11

11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Two Sundays ago, I preached on Denying Self.  I used parts of Romans 5 & 6 in the message.  Part of denying ourselves is overcoming the human nature, the human desires, that seem to control us.  Not allowing our human desire/nature to rule us, but overcoming it with the spiritual nature that God gives us in Christ, is what we are called to do as Christians.

2 Corinthians 5:17-  17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

My human nature says eat all you can – all you want.  My human nature says go to all you can eat places – you get a better deal! My new nature – which hasn’t taken control in this area yet as you can well observe – says eat to live, don’t live to eat.  My spiritual nature says your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and your witness is taking a hit by being out of shape. My human nature says – I am in shape, round is a shape!

Where is your battle ground?  What sin do you battle with – raging a war between your human nature and your spiritual nature?  Is your battle with your tongue?  How about your attitude?  Maybe your war is with your sexuality?  Maybe it is with your relationships with others?  Where do you battle sin in your life?

The good news is we have been given eternal victory over the war with sin and death.  The other news is – the battle rages on while we are in this flesh.  But remember:

Romans 6:11 – 11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

March 29, 2010 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor | , , | 2 Comments

   

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