“For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:10-11
Dead to sin. Alive to God in Christ Jesus. Those are the opposing sides. There is no middle ground. There is no room on the fence to sit. But, what is sin? That seems to be the question of the century. As we watch the emotions rising as election day draws near and people are starting to take sides with their respective candidates, what it all boils down to is what each voter perceives as sin verses what they perceive as righteousness. Voters who see right and wrong within reasonable means of what a particular candidate stand for are the ones they will side with and vote for.
As Christians we are given the law of God so we can see sin and righteousness from the perspective of God. The law of the Lord is not intended to keep us held down by a bunch of rules, but rather through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, the law allows us to compare our actions to the perfect law of God. Sin which leads to death of the soul is what God says is wrong in His word. Righteousness which leads to eternal life is what God says pleases Him.
But that is where the simplicity of the difference between sin and righteousness ends within the mean of our understanding. We cannot understand the greater scope of the truth God has revealed through God's word if we do not allow the gift of the Holy Spirit to help us discern the larger meaning God has buried within His word.
I have found that most of the time this type of understanding does not just pop into a person's head. We need to almost allow the Holy Spirit to wrestle out the sinful tendencies of our “old self” which we prefer to cling onto, and then put into that place the truth of righteousness He has to reveal in that space instead. Step by step as God patiently works within us, those changes are made and our “new self” is remade one little piece at a time into the likeness of Christ.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-19
Every Christian is a work-in-progress. It is not our job to be the mediator of what God's law means and how others should live by the law so much as the reality that we are called to be a new creations who are in the process of being reconciled to God and an example of newness ourselves to those who are watching us and our relationship with God. God Himself does not judge those who have no understanding, but rather He shows them their sin and then allows His Spirit to do the work of transformation which they can either accept or reject after they have had the truth revealed to them.
I hate to say that it has taken me a long time and many difficult and painful lessons in my past to realize how important it is to allow God to be the mediator in the lives of other instead of me. My tendency many times has been to jump in and try to do God's work myself. In fact, I know I have destroyed a few friendships in my past because of my inability to hold my tongue, pray instead for the sin I saw in another person's life, and allow God to do what He knew was best to do in wrestling against that individual's old self and reveal the sin which needed to be replaced by His righteous law and life.
If we forget that we were sinful first and that righteousness is not in us, apart from God, we have a tendency of looking at others from the perspective of one who is said and done with sin. Beware if this trap has fallen upon you and you have forgotten that your human form has no power over sin and you are always just one step away from going back down the road from which you came or an offshoot from another sinful tendency the Lord has yet to reveal to you that can take you backwards as well. Yes, God is faithful to keep us moving in the right direction, but we need to stay within God's will to keep moving towards righteousness instead of falling away in sinfulness.
I think the more and more God has revealed to me about my sinful tendencies, the more understanding and patient I have become with others when I see sin in their lives. I pray that today as you look at those around you who maybe have not been taught by the Lord all of the lessons He has taught you, by replacing your sinful nature with His righteous understanding, that you seek God first in how to handle those situations. It is always better to wait upon the Lord then to step out and then later wish you had not been so hasty in allowing God to work in His perfect timing.