Sin cannot continually occupy the place of Christ. One or the other will have dominion in us. And the truth remains that those under the dominion of sin will be judged.
For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. 1 Corinthians 11:31-32
How can sin occupy the place of Christ at all? This is the deception that keeps asserting itself upon us. Believe me, I understand how logical this sounds, and I don’t mean that in any condescending way. Giving place to sin or to the man of sin is connected to the delusion that sin can actually occupy the place of Christ, it is intricately tied to the belief that sin can have dominion over us who are not under law but under grace.
For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:14
Notice that there is no suggestion here that sin will not be master over us dependent upon how we might be viewing the truth of Christ in us at any given time. It is a simple declaration of a fact brought about by our having been removed from the realm of law and placed into the realm of grace. I know this sounds crazy, even dangerous. Ironically, when the basis of our judgment considers our life to be something other than what has been brought about in Christ, it is then that we consider sin as if it is master over us.
While you might assume I could have a problem with the 1 Corinthians passage above, I actually love how Paul brought it in. The Corinthians (as a group) had been duped into judging themselves and each other according the the flesh, that is, according to appearances. Because of this they were not able to judge themselves rightly, and it showed itself in many ways. In this particular instance Paul ties it in with the divisions among them related to their coming together for what they considered “the Lord’s Supper.” Paul wrote,
Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper, 1 Corinthians 11:20
Their divisions were formed by the competition of their fleshly endeavors, and their religious feasts only emphasized the insanity by which they had been deceived. They couldn’t make any true judgments because they didn’t recognize one another according to Christ only, and so therefore, some were despised by those who were elevated, while those who were elevated were judged by those who were despised. Some gorged themselves at the supper feasts while others had nothing. It was an absolute mess!
Judging ourselves rightly does not come by dealing with the particular sins revealed by the law, as therein we would only embark upon the vicious cycle brought on by the flesh’s inability to subject itself. Judging ourselves rightly comes through seeing ourselves (me seeing me and me seeing you, you seeing you and you seeing me … or better yet, we seeing we) totally apart from the law … for despite such judgment found in the law, we are found in Christ. NEVERTHELESS, even the judgment we experience in, and as a result of, that insanity only becomes from God for our good because God continues to teach us. Through the condemnation of the world (this ongoing death and division in the world around us) we have it continually revealed to us that we are not of it.