EXPLORING PRIMITIVE CHRISTIANITY
"sin no more"
This Webpage is listed in the Topical Index of Commentaries and Cross-references.
In what is known as "the Sermon on the Mount," Jesus tells us, "Go in through the narrow gate, because the gate to hell is wide and the road that leads to it is easy, and there are many who travel it. But the gate to life is narrow and the way that leads to it is hard, and there are few people who find it." (Mat 7:13, 14, TEV) In "the Sermon on the Mount" and elsewhere, Jesus deals with the subject of sin, but neither Jesus nor Paul was attempting to establish new human codes to which Christians or others were additionally bound. Jesus and Paul were teaching (and illustrating with their lives) the most direct way of experiencing one's relationship with God. Jesus' love-inspired teachings and life show us the way of freedom.
(Note: The Pastoral Epistles, I & II Timothy and Titus, which are widely believed not to have been written by Paul, reflect the increasingly human-codes-oriented position of the early-Second-Century church, as it struggled to take organizational shape.)
Paul had originally persecuted Christians, but through God's grace he found "the Way" to salvation through the life and teachings of Christ Jesus. Even Peter, who was one of the first whom Jesus chose to be among the twelve Apostles, lost his way several times, but eventually, repentantly he came back and faithfully served the cause of Christ.
The books of the New Testament were not written for the purpose of enabling us to self-righteously judge each other on this or any other issue. Nor should they ever be used in that way. They were written to help each of us find 'the narrow way' in Christ and to help us experience the liberating and healing influence of God's unconditional love -- as we progressively learn to live that unconditional love. God's Word as expressed in the original texts of the New Testament unite us all in loving fellowship in Christ, to the praise and glory of God. As Paul put it so well in his letter to his church family in Rome (Rom 8:1, 2, TEV),
There is no condemnation now for those who live in union with Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit, which brings us life in union with Christ Jesus, has set me free from the law of sin and death.
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Copyright 1997 Robert Nguyen Cramer