Something I have learned about studying scripture is that you can't just take and isolate one chapter of a letter. You have to read the entire letter to absorb all of the intent--and, I'll confess that I often have to pray and ask for more guidance and ask that "invisible something" that IS the Holy Spirit will quicken my mind and help me connect what I am reading to other bits and pieces of God's Word that I have read before. So . . . don't just read Romans 8. Read ALL of Romans.
Extraordinary, you wrote
extraordinary wrote:One of Paul's points, which evidently is too subtle for you to catch, is that:
If the Roman BACs do not stop being slaves of sin, etc., they will lose eternal life.
I would argue that you are the one who doesn't understand Paul. He is writing to Believers at Rome, telling them what HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE FOR THEM THROUGH CHRIST. He is telling them that they ARE NO LONGER SLAVES TO SIN. It isn't a matter of them deciding not to be. They aren't--because of their faith in Christ (their being born by the Spirit). They have been adopted and are heirs with Christ.
Paul is encouraging believers and teaching them how to live their lives in a dying flesh--how to fight the war that is within their members. The part of them that is made alive BY THE SPIRIT is warring against their flesh. Paul is teaching all of us, helping us to understand who we are.
No one who has engaged with you on these forums has one time said that sinning is excusable, and you talk to us as if that is what we have said. No one has said that. From my perspective, the reason why so many of us object to just about everything you say is because you are promoting works and not Grace. You are saying that what we do in our flesh is what makes us acceptable to God. Anyone who reads all of the book of Romans and understands what it is to struggle with conflicting desires knows that this is NOT what Paul is saying.
I agree, there is a huge problem in modern Christianity with people making professions of faith and not living lives of obedience. The problem is not in their behavior. The problem is in the cause of their behavior. The problem is in believing in the first place that people deciding to make themselves alive BY their obedience constitutes salvation. The problem is "decisional evangelism." The problem is selling people "fire insurance" or "health and prosperity gospels" or "self-righteousness," instead of preaching the gospel message of Jesus Christ.
When you teach people that they earn God's favor through their actions, you are teaching a lie. Maybe it is time you heed your own warnings. If you really and truly want to see lives changed and people living as the adopted sons and daughters THROUGH CHRIST, you need to do what Paul did. Preach Christ and Him crucified. Faith in the ONE who was obedient unto death--the One who in His flesh fulfilled all the requirements of the law and whose sacrificial death paid the penalty for my disobedience and the disobedience of all mankind--IS my life. This kind of faith produces obedience because it is centered on Christ and Christ alone, not human performance--and, it is how "sanctification" happens because that is who we are and how we know Christ while we live in this flesh.
Which do you love more, Extraordinary, what you do for Christ or what HE has done for you and in you? How in the world can you fulfill all the commandments rolled up into two (as delivered by Jesus Himself)--love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your mind and all your soul, and your neighbor as you love yourself--if you will not recognize what God has done for you through Christ? If all your "righteous" acts of obedience are done through motivations of self-preservation, those are not pure acts of love for God. They are acts of love for self and pride in self.
All I can say is that I, too, am guilty. This, for me, is why the promise of what Christ has done for me is so precious. Extraordinary, do not sully the message of the gospel or the majesty of the Grace of God by turning the mystery of salvation into something man does for himself. You are dishonoring the Christ who bled and died on your behalf.