Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I Am Not A Kanye

"Yesterday, Kanye West's latest album Yeezus dropped with the third track titled, 'I Am A God' (Feat. God)." The song has already sparked reaction and has been likened to John Lennon's remarks about the Beatles being 'more popular than Jesus.' But maybe Kanye's song is something we identify with more than we'd like to admit?" (Odd Thomas in Resurgence Blog)

Kanye's song includes the blasphemous and ludicrous lines:

I'm not the most high,
but I'm a close high.

Apparently Odd Thomas is telling us not to be so quick to be offended and angry at Kanye or his so called "song." Odd Thomas writes, "As we survey the culture and pass judgment, it is easy to bypass the issues of our own hearts (Jer, 17:9). The tings in the culture that offend us most can often act as a mirror into our own souls."

After some fluff and filler Odd Thomas encourages us to "repent of our own idolatry and look to the one who truly sits high above the heavens on his eternal throne. So when the radio plays 'I Am a God' fifty times a day, remember your idolatry. Remember we are a Kanye, and remember the length to which God went to save us from our sins."

First, let me say that I think I understand what Odd Thomas may be trying to say with his article. There is no doubt that believers fall into sin, even the grossest of sins such as idolatry. Anytime that we exalt something over God we are guilty of idolatry. I believe that we can use situations and circumstances like these to check our own "spiritual temperature."

Second, I am offended not by Kanye's lyrics or song. As one that is in bondage to sin Kanye is responding in the only way that he is able. I am not surprised by his "statement," I am grieved. Grieved by the fact that as a prisoner of sin, held in bondage, and ruled by sin this is his worldview. Yes, I feel righteous indignation that God's character is maligned by such sentiment.

I do take offense at the fact that Odd Thomas wants me to think I am "a Kanye." I dare say I think that Odd Thomas truly is sincere and believes what he blogged. He thinks that we are Kanyes at worst and yet forgiven by Christ's shed blood at best .

No, Odd Thomas, I am not a schizophrenic. Romans 6:6 says very clearly that I am dead. I was crucified with Christ. The old man was put to death.

"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." (Romans 6:6, Geneva Bible, 1599)

Knowing this, that our old man was crucified. Paul did not write "is crucified" or "will be crucified." Paul used an aorist or past tense. The action (crucifixion) is in the past. It has happened. Why were we crucified? So that the body of sin might be destroyed, or better, disannulled, be rendered void or ineffective.

What does Paul mean by "old man?" These words have caused more people to expound bad theology and to work themselves into a frenzy in trying to kill something that is already dead. People throughout history have tried to kill off or get rid of "the old man."

First of all, Paul does not mean the sinful or carnal nature and all its propensities towards sin. Paul is not saying the sin nature was crucified. Second, to debug an old theological theory, he did not mean the old man to be our "old moral self prior to being born again." What does Paul mean?

If you look carefully at the context which begins at chapter five and verse twelve it becomes crystal clear. The old man that Paul refers to is that man that I use to be in Adam. I was a man in Adam but look at the context clearly, I am now a man in Christ. The old man was what I once was but which I am no longer.

When I was born I was born into Adam and Adam's race. I "inherited" all of the characteristics of a man in Adam. This included the fact that sin and the penalty for sin, death, was attached to me. I was under the rule or reign of Adam.

As a Christian I am no longer in Adam. Why? Romans chapter six and verse three, "Know ye not,. that all we which have been baptized into Jesus Christ, have been baptized into his death."

I, a man in Adam died when I was baptized by the Holy Spirit into Christ's death. I am now a man of Christ. I am under the rule and reign and sphere of Jesus Christ. I am not under the rule and reign of Adam. I died with Christ, my old man, my Adamic nature, the man I was by birth was joined and united to was crucified together with Christ.

What I was in Adam, my old humanity, the man that was born under the law, who was born in sin, who was born under condemnation, the man that sinned with Adam, and as a result earned all the consequences of Adam's sin, that man who was under the wrath and condemnation of God died with Christ! Hallelujah!

I am no longer that man. I am a new man in Christ.

So what does Galatians 5:24 mean? Paul tells us very clearly that we have to put to death (crucify) the flesh with its affections and lusts. That has not been crucified or put to death. The sin nature with all of its propensities is still active and alive. The old man means the old humanity or the man that I was in Adam.

You need to note several things at this point.

First, as a new man in Christ by our new birth, we are freed from the penalty of sin, death, and the power of sin. We have been removed from the bondage, from the rule and reign of sin. We are no longer apart of the sphere governed or ruled by all that is Adam. Why? We are a new creature. 

Second, we have not been removed from the presence of sin. We are told more than once to kill, mortify, or crucify the flesh. We are never told to crucify the old man. The old man that I was in Adam has died once and forever.

Third, this is why Paul tells us to reckon or consider ourselves to be dead to the rule and reign of the sphere of Adam. And we are to reckon or consider ourselves alive to the rule and reign of Christ.

Fourth, the man that you were in Adam has gone out of existence, he has no reality. We need to stop living as if we were in that sphere or realm and begin living in the realm and sphere that we are now placed in Christ.

Fifth, this does not mean that we will not be involved in an on-going warfare with the sin nature that still resides in our flesh. The battle with sin continues. Sin and death still reigns in our body of flesh.

See, when Adam sinned, sin gained a complete mastery over Adam. Sin dominated him, sin was in control. Those in Adam are under the rule and reign of sin. The appetites control those who are in Adam and they have no recourse.

When you are in Christ things are different. We are dead to sin as a realm or reign. Unfortunately sin is still in my mortal body, in my "members" as Paul calls them influencing the lusts and appetites of the flesh.

What has all this to do with our disagreement with Odd Thomas? I am glad you asked! First of all, we are not a "God." Odd Thomas knows that and you and I know that. In reading and studying Romans six I am also not a Kanye. Kanye is in Adam. He is in the realm, the sphere, the rule and the reign of Adam. As a man in Adam, Kayne, among other things is in fact an idolater. 

I am not in Adam nor am I an idolater. As a man in Christ however, the appetites and lusts which remain in my flesh at times lure and entice me to satisfy those lusts and appetites which include idolatry. Even thought I am not in bondage to sin and nor am I ruled by it, there are times I do "give into it" and I sin. I am sure more than once as a man in Christ I have been guilty of idolatry.

I think I know what Odd Thomas wanted to say and accomplish. I do need to check my heart and my life and make sure that there is nothing in my life that leads to envy or covetousness which is idolatry.  

I was a Kanye. I am a Christian. Like Paul, I too cry out often to be delivered from the body of this death.


jean said...

Amen! and Hallelujah!!

Anonymous said...

This was a great and well written post Gregg, Thanks for sharing.


Scott said...

I'm sure your arguments were sound, but I couldn't get around the distraction that you are hip and cool enough to be posting about Kanye West. Wow! I barely even know who the guy is, and you're doing critiques of his music. You are so cool, man!
Seriously, nicely done.

Gregg Metcalf said...

Jean - Yes, thank God! Amen and Amen!

Yvonne - Thank you! I appreciate your kind words.

Scott - I must confess I barely know who he is also. However, I read a lot and happened to come across this article at the same time I am doing an in-depth study/meditation of Romans 6. I saw how Odd Thomas [in my opinion] did not understand the death of the old man in Christ, or did not know how to apply it. No doubt, my sin nature continues to lure and entice me into sin including idolatry. But I am not in the realm or sphere or rule or reign of Adam, I am now by virtue of my baptism into Christ's death and resurrection a man in the sphere, realm, rule or reign of Christ. Thanks Scott!