Tuesday July 13, 2021
Heavenly Father – help me start today with a clear heart and a clear mind ready to receive your word in a brand new way today. Amen.
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This might be one of the most dense passages of scripture for me. Just over 6 years ago I attempted to write a song about the idea of being Slaves to Righteousness. While it was a feeble attempt to put my hokey lyrics and melodies to this beautifully written passage about obedience to Jesus, I believe it helped me land on a new way to think about this idea of obedience. I’ll give you this example to digest that has helped me understand this section of Paul’s letter to the Romans:
If a boy turns 16, receives his drivers license, and takes his car out for a spin, is he able to drive however he wants with disregard of other drivers? Of course not. While he has been given immense freedom behind the wheel, there are also a myriad of rules and laws he must follow to not only refrain from injuring himself, but others as well. When he is driving down the road, he will notice two stripes on each side of him indicating his lane that he is to stay in. Veering from this lane at any moment could be fatal. Therefore, it is vitally important that he practices obedience to the rules and laws of driving a vehicle despite the freedom given to him behind the wheel.
To be a slave to righteousness is to submit yourself under Jesus’ authority over your life and decisions. It is accepting the freedom He gives, as well as the boundaries. All while knowing that these boundaries paradoxically result in your freedom. Freedom from death and sin. Freedom from a life ruled by your selfish pleasures and desires. To be a slave to righteousness is to ultimately be a slave to freedom. Because “now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”
Have you allowed God’s grace to become an excuse to sin?
How might you practice obedience to the boundaries Jesus places on your life so you can experience true freedom?
Lord, these are your words. This is our story. Help me live in a way that honors you today and everyday. Amen.
The First 15
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