The High Standard of Holiness “The old cross is a symbol of death.

It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a human being. The man in Roman times who took up his cross and started down the road had already said good-by to his friends. He was not coming back. He was going out to have it ended. The cross made no compromise, modified nothing, spared nothing; it slew all of the man, completely and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. It struck cruel and hard, and when it had finished its work, the man was no more.” - A. W. Tozer

1. Are Christians expected to live sin-free lives? a. Romans 6:1-2 “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” b. Romans 6:6 “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin” c. Galatians 5:24 “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” d. Colossians 2:11 “In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ” Sin has nothing to do with a dead man. Dead men can’t sin. Our error is that we believe it’s possible to live for Christ without having first died with Christ (A. W. Tozer). Jesus didn’t come to bring men to the cross; He came to put men on it! And when a man is on the cross it’s all over. To where can he go from there? Christianity begins and ends at the cross. We begin with repentance and end with death. From that day forward we no longer live but Christ lives in us. Such a marvelous mystery is the cross of our Lord! 2. If we’re dead what kind of life is left? a. Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” b. Romans 6:3-4 “Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” The new life given to us is a Spirit-led life able to keep us from satisfying the desires of the sin nature. As it is written, “live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (Galatians 5:16). 3. How is this possible? a. Colossians 2:12 “having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.” b. Galatians 3:27 “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”

c. Romans 13:14 “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” d. Mark 10:38-39 “"You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said. "Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?" "We can," they answered. Jesus said to them, "You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with” We’ve drank from the same cup and undergone the same baptism. Jesus’ death on the cross was much more than an entrance ticket to the kingdom. He paved the way for each of us to once again be created in His image and likeness. If today you are a Christian, then today you are the image and likeness of God. If this is true then, “what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). Furthermore we’re exhorted, “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons.” (1 Corinthians 10:21) 4. But didn’t Paul admit that he struggled with sin? a. 2 Corinthians 11:29 “Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? b. Romans 7:15-16 “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.” i. Why does falling into sin affirm that the Law is good? “For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.”

c. Romans 7:17-20 “As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 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. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” i. What causes all the problems that Christians struggle with? Sin nature. Paul is explaining that no amount of human will can overcome sin.

d. Romans 7:21-24, 25b “So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?...So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” i. What human options have been exhausted here for overcoming sin? “I myself in my mind (soul) am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature (flesh) a slave to the law of sin.” Both body and soul have been exhausted and found no answer to the sin problem. That leaves only one option: spirit. Consider the following table:

Section Romans 7:7-25 Romans 8:1-16

Words I, me, my, myself Spirit, or spirit I, me, my, myself Spirit, or spirit

Number of Times Mentioned 51 0 1 17

Romans 9:16 ““It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy.” Human effort can never defeat sin. This is why Jesus told us, “Watch and pray Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

5. How can we realistically overcome sin? a. 1 John 2:15 “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” b. James 4:4 “You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” c. Galatians 6:14 “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” d. Matthew 10:38 “and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”

e. Matthew 16:24 “Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” f. Romans 8:13 “For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live” Although our own human wills can’t ultimately eliminate sin, we can do our part by rejecting any love for the world that might be in our flesh, coming to the cross daily to be reminded of our death to self, and following the leading of the Holy Spirit as we go throughout each day. 6. How does God help us in all this? a. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” b. Jude 1:24 “To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy” c. Romans 7:24-25a “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” d. Colossians 1:13 “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves

e. 1 Corinthians 1:18 “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” f. Romans 8:2 “because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” g. Romans 8:10-11 “But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” “Our error today is that we do not expect a converted man to be a transformed man, and as a result of this error our churches are full of substandard Christians. A revival is among other things a return to the belief that real faith invariably produces holiness of heart and righteousness of life.” - A. W. Tozer

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