Christ and Sin and Christ

Morality is not a cookbook that one can follow in a step-by-step fashion.

This is a potent reply to people who often ask, why cannot I be good, without Christ, or without even a sense of a constant, steadfast, personal ethical system. When ministering to others, frequently one is asked: but cant I just follow the golden rule? Although there is some truth to the importance of simply doing unto others as one would have done to ones self, more is needed when deeper ethical questions emerge. Furthermore, Paul would contend that simply following the law, Mosaic or otherwise, is not taking advantage of Christs full gift to humanity. There is no driving, internal emotional drive to follow the law without the acceptance of grace and the sense that what one does on earth is thanks for Christ in heaven, for Christs sacrifice.

Pauls primary theme in Romans 5 is how Christs actions overcome the actions of Adam and supersede the laws put in place to curtail the excesses of sinful humanity before He came to earth. The Hebraic Bibles poetic passages of Isaiah 52:13-53:12 also stress the transformative quality of Gods sacrificial servant. The words of Isaiah are a kind of prefiguring of Christs coming to earth as the Messiah. Isaiah adds another dimension — the fact that the moral and righteous are not always recognized as such on the earth.

Because Gods servant is not beautiful, “his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man / and his form marred beyond human likeness” the unknowing and unseeing are appalled (Isaiah 52:14). However, the servant brings wisdom and insight to kings and the world and is eventually exalted.

One of the problems of looking at morality solely in terms of law is this tends to assume that good is always rewarded and bad is always punished, and as everyone knows, life is not always fair. The ultimate example of the persecution of Christ and our own lives illustrate this truth. But by cultivating a good heart in Christ, and focusing on the eternal rather than the immediate, true guidance is achieved and true righteousness and obedience can be achieved. Christ the lamb is sacrificed: “But he was pierced for our transgressions, / he was crushed for our iniquities; / the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, / and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). The example of Christ indicates that sometimes it is necessary to sacrifice earthly rewards to achieve a spiritual paradise, by doing right, regardless of whether the world is frowning upon faith, or approving of ones faithful actions and ministry.

Works Cited

NIV.

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