Last week, I posted my thoughts on the subsitutionary atonement of Christ. At the end of that post, I posed a question that I promised to address this week. It’s “next week” now, so I suppose I should keep my promise and address this issue.
Interestingly enough, to a large degree my perspective given in last week’s post is actually quite heavily rooted in the concepts I’m sharing this week. In other words, the question of why we continue to sin after accepting Christ was a major factor in my understanding regarding exactly what Christ’s sacrifice actually covered on our behalf.
Allow me to attempt to break this down and clarify as I’m sure I lost more than a couple people already…
When I first accepted Christ and began to learn about Him and about the Bible and what the Bible teaches, I began to wonder about what it meant when Christ paid my debt for sins past, present and future. It didn’t seem to make much sense to me that Christ would have paid for my sins on a one-to-one basis. I won’t deny that this could be possible as there are a lot of levels upon which Christ could have suffered that we wouldn’t necessarily know about from a historical perspective.
Still, it didn’t really sit right with me. The more I looked into things, there were some scriptures that could be interpreted to mean that it really was a one-to-one type of atonement where Christ took the suffering for each and every individual sin I ever committed or would commit. However, it seemed much more prominent that scripture seemed to focus on the idea of Christ atoning for Adam’s sin, Original Sin…The Fall, as it were.
Which then leads to these questions regarding why the sin nature still exists. For this, I think Paul gives us a clue in Romans 8…
22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
Here, we see that the whole universe and everything in the universe has been “damaged” by Adam’s sin. Even if we don’t look at the effects on all of creation, we still can’t escape how this was passed down through Adam’s seed to all mankind.
From here, we take a look at the idea of the new heavens and new earth. At that time, we will be resurrected in our glorified bodies. At that time, our physical bodies will not have the corruption that our current bodies have. Then we will no longer have that sinful nature.
This does not, however, answer the question of why we still have the sin nature now. The fact is, salvation comes when we accept Christ. This is an act of our own free will and therefore can only be done at a time in our lives when we have enough knowledge of Him to make that decision. For most of us, this time generally comes some time after our birth and early childhood.
Until that time, however, we are free to either accept or reject Christ’s work and the Holy Spirit’s pleadings in our hearts. This is because of that sin nature that is a part of us through Adam. By the time we accept Christ, our physical self has already been born with this sin nature. That is part of the purpose for the resurrection. Accepting Christ doesn’t make the sin nature go away.
What the acceptance of Christ does do is get your name in the Book of Life so that, when the resurrection comes, you’re name is on the list to join the people who can spend eternity with God without the sin nature dragging you away from Him constantly.
So, while we accept Christ and are covered with His righteousness, we still must contend with the sin nature within us. That may be the reason that we still must die…to separate our spirit from our material body so that at the resurrection we may get a new, glorified, un-fallen, sin-free body that does not “groan” with pain and corruption as does our current material self.
Then, our spirit, which has already accepted Christ, will rejoin our newly cleansed bodies and we will once again be whole and without the sin nature. This way, we can, as the scriptures describe, exist in the presence of God for eternity.
One request, for all of you who will be joining us in this afterlife…I beg you….PLEASE!!! Stay away from any forbidden fruit!! Let’s not make us all have to go through all of this again! Agreed?
Grace, love and peace.