Wednesday, November 16, 2011

More Than....Conquered?

I was listening to a sermon from Charles Stanley (audio archives here, you'll have to search for "Spirit That Conquers" for the message in particular, too much Javascript for an easy direct link) and it got my wheels spinning.  We as Christians talk a great deal about our freedom and our ability to conquer that is granted us by our faith in Jesus.  Yet a little digging into the Bible finds many references to our being conquered by God and being slaves to Him.  This is seems very contradictory, especially to our freedom loving Western minds.  Romans 6 puts this contradiction bluntly, verse 18 declaring that we are "set free from sin, and have become slaves to righteousness."  How is it we can be free and slave at the same time?  Numerous Psalms declare our freedom, with 119 declaring our freedom comes directly from obeying God's laws.  Freedom only by obedience seems a bit contradictory to many mindsets today, especially a few very loud ones that I'm not delving into right now.  Their mindset is nothing new, Peter spoke of it in 2 Peter 2:18-19 "For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for 'people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.'"while at the same time hitting on that contradiction, that even if God is our master, we are slaves to Him.  Peter mentions it previously in 1 Peter 2:16, imploring believers to "live as God's slaves". 
So, we are conquerors and conquered, free and slave at the same time.  The ability to conquer our old worldly selves is granted only by being conquered by God's will.  To be free from sin and the fear of death, we have to let God be our master.  It's a meshing of spiritual and physical that is difficult for us to wrap our minds around, and as I mentioned earlier, I think that our Western mindset has a big part in that difficulty.  No, I'm not advocating a leap to Eastern spiritualism for the Church, or even the need to study various spiritual "techniques" to bring us closer to God, that is not where I'm going with this.  But I am amazed, that after many great revivals in Europe and America, after great works of building faith over the centuries, that when you read of exponential church growth and miracles now, they almost consistently are coming out of Africa, India, China, and South America, and I think that a better cultural understanding of how the spiritual and physical worlds mesh is a large part of that.  That understanding has been bent and twisted over the centuries in a whole lot of very unGodly directions, but the move is on to return these sheep to the fold, and hopefully bring with them that understanding so that the rest of us can get out of our ruts, tear down those walls in our own minds, and become more than conquerors, but properly conquered.

No comments:

Post a Comment