At the commencement of a New Year people often make resolutions as to what they are going to do or not to do in the coming year. They take stock as to where their life is going and what changes are needed to provide a better quality of life. Many of these promises made to oneself are like piecrusts, they are made to be broken. Before January is out so are the resolutions.
I did the same in January 1957, it was when God was working in my life convicting me of my sin, so I decided to stop drinking, stop swearing and stop gambling, and I thought that if I did reform, that God would have different thoughts about me. How wrong I was because though I tried hard to do it, after three days I was back in the card school and swearing again! The Apostle Paul had that problem too, he said in Romans 7:18, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after 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 shall deliver me from the body of this death I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Paul discovered what we discover, that there is a law in our members, our flesh, that is dominated by sin, I will tell you later what he says in the next chapter, which is brilliant.
There are currently in the UK, opposing views being made public by two Law-Court Judges. Sir James Munby is a British judge and President of the Family Division of the High Court of England and Wales. He said in a speech, reported by Guardian newspaper columnist Andrew Brown, ‘Judges no longer concerned themselves with the promotion of virtue and the discouragement of immorality – and nor should they: Britain is now a secular society, he said, and religion has no special privilege beyond what it is granted by human rights.’ This judge is stamping his secularist views on his office and pronouncing rebuke on any judge who holds the opposite view that Law has a responsibility to determine what is right and what is wrong, therefore making a moral judgement.
The judge that Munby has censored is High Court Judge Sir Paul Coleridge. The Christian Institute’s website carries this piece. ‘Sir Paul, speaking about same-sex marriage, told The Times in 2012: “So much energy and time has been put into this debate for 0.1 per cent of the population, when we have a crisis of family breakdown….. Stability is the name of the game and comparatively speaking that means marriage.” He supports The Marriage Foundation and was rebuffed by Munby for his pro-marriage stance. Coleridge said, “I strongly disagree with the overall conclusion of the JCIO, which underlies this announcement that my occasional comments on the huge social problem of family breakdown or my public support for the Marriage Foundation amounts to misconduct or brings the judiciary into disrepute. Indeed I think the contrary is true.”
These two Judges views illustrate the moral slide of society, Judge Munby’s superior official position and atheistic attitude shout down people like Judge Coleridge who maintain the moral law, that “Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach of all people.”
The religious bigot, Saul of Tarsus, struggled in his conscience about the law of sin and death that was working in his life. He held the coats of those who stoned Stephen to death; he had letters in his pocket when he traveled to Damascus authorizing the imprisonment and sometimes death of Christians. The Lord Jesus halted that murderous journey when He spoke to Saul from Heaven, and Saul was converted to Christ. His life was changed; his name was changed to Paul. He wrote in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made 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 sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.”
Saul of Tarsus discovered in reality, the liberty of another law, not now according to man’s corrupt thinking, but an unshakable, unchanging Law from God, the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. The joy in my heart as I write these words wants me to shout out loud, “FOR THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS HAS MADE ME FREE FROM THE LAW OF SIN AND DEATH.”
Saul of Tarsus needed Christ to save him, and so does everyone who is clutching to the law of sin and death. People hold on to the ‘live as you like, do as you please’ attitude, thinking that they are accountable to no one, but the fact remains that everyone will give account of their life to God. To stand before Him in the loathsomeness of sin and an unbelieving heart is the height of folly. God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.
When Christ was on the cross at Calvary, God laid on Him the sin of the world, your sin and my sin, but do you believe that? He died in your place bearing all the guilt of your sin, because He loved you?
It will be a Happy New Year if you do.