~~Alexander Hamilton to John Laurens, August 15, 1782
For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find them a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
I thank God -- through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death.
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God did, by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
Romans 7:19 - 8:4
It seems that the prevailing message in our culture today is that all religions are the same, worship the same god, present the same basic message, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. I am surprised to hear, every now and then, that this view is tolerated, to some degree, by those with prominent standing in the 'evangelical Christian' community. How many times have you heard of distinguished evangelists and mega-church leaders ashamed to say that without Christ, an individual cannot be saved, no matter nobly sincere they may be in their religion? Examples of postmodernism becoming prevalent in the Western churches are frequently being pushed in our faces by the secular media, especially the news outlets, who wish to convince the world that Christianity has nothing significant to offer, since it is just like all other religions.
But I do not wish to simply combat more false views in the post. (It seems that the majority of what I write is an effort to convince the majority that the majority of what they believe is false. Not that combating error is a bad thing; but, there are other equally worthy, if not better, reasons for writing.) Here, I wish to bring out what makes the Gospel of Christ different from the religion of the world. I wish to remind myself and other Christians why we believe, because such reminders help us to be continually grateful to God, and to guard ourselves against the deceitfulness of sin, which is the foundation of the world's belief system.
The above passage from Romans summarizes the whole essence of the Gospel. Man, upon observing the moral perfection of the law of God, agrees that it is good and right. Man's conscience, whether the individual ultimately cooperates with it or not, affirms what his intellect discerns as true and good. And yet in spite of all his good intentions to follow those standards, he finds that his natural desires hold a greater sway over his sense of duty.
The various religions and belief systems of the world are the responses that mankind has had to this obvious dilemma. Some religions set up a system of good works, religious rites, denial and/or abuse of the body, sacrifices to false deities, and so on. And then there is the secularist attempt to deal with the problem, by denying that it even exists; it disposes of the possibility of God's existence, and of a discoverable and universally absolute moral standard.
But the Gospel of Christ fixes the problem. It doesn't cover a dirty wall with a new coat of paint; it cleans the wall, repairs it, and then paints it. Christ's blood doesn't just cover our sins; His blood forgives us and cleanses us. He gives us new desires; He gives us a heart after His heart. We are then to walk according to the new spirit that He gives us through conversion. When we are converted, our spirit is changed; our flesh remains the same. But because our spirit is changed, we do the righteous works of God. The hope that we have, according to the Scripture, our body will be transformed also, when we are reunited with the Lord.
Herein lies the power of the Gospel. And if the Gospel were nothing, it would not change so many people. And if the Gospel were nothing, those who oppose it would not be so afraid or concerned about it.
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