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We Have Been Shot
by Robert Capon

speaking on the first few verses of Romans six. . .

Whether [we] behave or misbehave, [we] are dead from start to finish but for [him]. Unchanging, unswerving, [he] goes on being [our] resurrection, the one center at which [our] sins are always forgiven. . . . Only an idiot, the Apostle says, could ever confuse that with permission (to sin). St. Paul is not talking about morality at all; morality is for the living. He is talking about death, and the only thing that makes sense when you have to deal with the dead is resurrection. He is not pointing out some possible course of action whose permissibility might be a matter of debate; rather he is pointing a metaphysical impossibility: you can't get away from a love that will not let you go. . . . It is not that sin SHOULD not have dominion over us but that it CANNOT, for its power has been destroyed by Jesus. It reigns in our death, of course, as it always did; but what is that? What is it to have sway over a valley of dry bones? The main thing is that sin does not reign over Jesus, and Jesus is our life. But consider the death to which the Apostle refers: death does not rise, only life does. He does not ask this rhetorical question to tell us we OUGHT not to continue in sin. He does it to tell us we CANNOT. And for a very simple reason: we are dead. We have no "I," no living ego, no effective, vivifying, interambient self with which to make the attempt. . . . There is no "we" to do any continuing, whether in sin or anything else. We have not lost our powers, we have lost our identity. We are not enfeebled; we are shot. There is, as we finally find when we try to rouse ourselves to love Him, simply no one there. . . . "How can a nobody choose to continue in nothing? Talk sense, man, or don't talk at all." There is only one "I" now, when we hear our own voice speaking at the center of His life: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.