Sin is not the bad things that we do but the deep desire within all of us to be independent from God – to be our own bosses. Man started out as children of God in the Garden of Eden [the garden of pleasure]. Through stepping away from God as Lord and Father man became a slave to his own independence – we became slaves to our own self focus. The rest of the bible is really little more than the story of how God acts to return to us our true identity as His sons and daughters. God’s intent is that we go directly from slaves [to self focus and sin] to sons and daughter.
Unfortunately, for most of us this return is a three step process. We start as slaves to our self focus and sin which becomes our second nature, so much so that we have no power, in ourselves, to get back to our true identity.
For those of us who begin to respond to God’s offer to return our true identity to us; most of us enter step two – we become “religious”. We desire to live as sons and daughters but we believe that this change is something we have to earn. This makes perfect sense to us because as we approach God we become more and more aware of His holiness, and at the same time our sinfulness. We see His perfect law and we decide that if we keep it well we can become good enough to become His son or daughter. We are now in relationship with the law. God’s law is the intermediary between him and us. This seems to work well for a while but the burden of perfection is too much for even the best of us. Now we are slaves under law. This is a miserable existence – just ask Israel. Sadly, many Christians never go beyond the experience of this intermediate identity.
So how do we change our identity from merely conscientious servant to “successful son or daughter”? Short answer is; we don’t, but He can. So how does this process of transformation of our nature occur? The answer begins with 2 Cor. 3:7-18
Now if the ministry that brought death [the law], which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? [note the word “ministry” – what is being described here is a work of the Holy Spirit]
If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! [the word “righteousness” here means righteousness between God and man, right relationship which means becoming His son or daughter]
For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. [This makes the holiness of the Old Testament look pale in comparison.]
Watch for the next blog entry for the remainder of this sermon.