Man is free to live without sin

The words of Saint Paul can be viewed as comfortless in some ways. He believes, that he is a miserable man, and he explains himself: “ Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law, but I see another law at work in me” (Romans 7:15-22). But if we come to think of the words of the Apostle, and, eventually, see our own selves in some situations, then we should experience great happiness.

In the Sacrament of Baptism, a baptized man “dies for sin”. God’s grace cleanses all his wounds and sinful impurity of soul. Man is born again to enter into a new relationship with God. He is reborn for eternal life, and is no longer the son of the fallen Adam, but the heir of the Kingdom of God,  a new being in the new Adam. However, God’s grace doesn’t limit freedom of man, as well as it doesn’t deprive man of his individuality. Man becomes not a small part of “the body of Christ”, but His living cell. Every christian is unique in all parts of his life, in all his dreams, in all beauty of his soul, talents and God’s gifts. And we are all important and dear to God, yet, each of us has their own special unique relationships with Him. And human freedom - freedom to live, not to die - is one of the God’s gifts to us.

Apostle Paul tells us about human inclination towards sin. It often occurs that a man can’t begin a new life because of his habitual sins that form a barrier between him and God. But at the same time we are given freedom - freedom to create, to fear not, to be not dismayed, to rise again and move forward, no matter how many times we fall. This is how the great Love of God towards every human is manifested. If we truly understand freedom - as not the power that can be abused or used for our selfish purposes, but the power to be looking for God and develop new relationships with Him and our neighbors - then we can truly fulfill ourselves as a new creation in Christ. Apostle Paul also writes about it. In the Epistle to the Romans one can find beautiful words, that everyone, who is baptised in Christ, should die to sin, and that Baptism is a starting point for all of us, which gives us the right mind, the right spirit to fight with sin in our future life. Baptism doesn’t bring death. On the contrary, Baptism brings life. It is as if life unfolds in front of a newly baptised man. Man doesn’t see what is written there. In the very beginning of his ways he can’t understand what his life will be when it comes to an end. Only in the end of his life, man sees what he really is. What makes the essence of our lives is just revealed in life trials and temptations man goes through. And once the masks we hide ourselves under are removed, we learn who we really are. And, certainly, God’s grace helps us in these circumstances, strengthens us and shows us the way, when we feel tired and exhausted.

God loves us so much, that He doesn’t stay in our way even if we want to disfigure ourselves with sin. He is waiting for us to realize, that we can’t live like this. God expects us to wake up and wage war against the world that lives inside us, in our hearts and it is possible with the help of His power and grace. This process doesn’t take a moment, it takes an entire life, throughout which we make ourselves the image of God, as we were entrusted by Him to become His reflection in this world. So, let us not despair, even if we fail to be like this now, even if devil is attacking us, but, let us see God’s great assurance here, because He wants His beloved children to conform to His image. St. Macarius the Great wrote that we should be god after God, so that people who are close to us could also become like God. Then we indeed could grow in Christ and inherit the Kingdom of God, which is already here and spreads out grace over us.

Written by Rev George Glinsky