Tuesday, July 22, 2008

You're Free! Live Like It!

I have been reading through Romans again. This morning I was reading chapter 6 and it is really full of some remarkable statements by Paul. For some reason verses 13 and 14 are really standing out to me right now. Here is the part I am chewing on:

". . . offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace."

So, I am wondering if anybody wants to chime in on this: In your mind, what does THAT look like? What are the practical implications of offering the parts of your body to God as instruments of righteousness? I'm wondering if we verbally have to say, "God, I give you my body to use as your instrument." Then, after offering it up, what do you DO?

Really that little section is just amazing. If you read the verses that come before it, Paul is saying that our old self was crucified just like Jesus was and we are no longer slaves to sin because we died with Christ and we live with Christ. Sin is not our master! He is indicating here that we can literally live without sinning! Read it again:

"For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace."

I wonder if we really want that? Do I want that? If I do, then why am I not insisting on it? Later, in verse 18, Paul writes:

"You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness."

When I read that I think about the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Ratified on December 6, 1865, it stated that slavery or involuntary servitude could no longer exist within the United States. I remember reading about or hearing a speaker mention that many slaves didn't live any different on December 7, 1865! Why? Well, if you were a slave, not free, and you either didn't get news of your freedom or didn't believe it, then how would you live?

Think about this, President Lincoln actually issued two executive orders that made up the Emancipation Proclamation. The first proclamation on September 22, 1862, freed all the slaves in the Confederate. Then, on January 1, 1863, the second one named the specific states where it applied. So, free people were living as slaves in between from 9/22/1862 to 1/1/1863. What's worse, despite this, slavery wasn't really ended until 12/6/1865 with the 13th Amendment! What's the point of this?

The point is that this is us! It's you and me! We sit around waiting for our freedom when it has been granted! We pray pathetic prayers like this, "God, help me not to sin please." He already did help us! Or, "God, please forgive me." He has already forgiven you so stop living like you're in bondage and waiting for it to happen! I recently told the junior highers at church that this type of thinking is like me praying over and over, "God, please make me a male, a really want to be a male. Can you please make me a male?" If you heard me praying that, you would think I was crazy! God must think that of us because we are TOTALLY forgiven and TOTALLY set free from sin, we just choose not to accept the gift of freedom. Just look at verse 14 again, it says we are under grace. What a lovely term "under grace" is!

Toward the end of the chapter Paul writes, "But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness" (verse 22). This is not future tense, as in "When you are set free." Rather, it is past tense, "Now that you have been set free." Wow! I am a slave to God and the Bible actually assumes that, as maturing Christians, we are reaping a benefit and we are becoming holy!

The whole of chapter 6 blows my mind. Seriously, I think one could do an entire study on this one chapter alone. Instead of moving on to chapter 7, I think I will reread chapter 6 tomorrow.

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Blogger Truth said...

Great stuff here, Doah - we are no longer slaves to sin... so let's not live that way anymore! While it takes more than mere belief, or acceptance of this fact, to make it operative in our lives - it does certainly start there.

As for how that 'looks'? When I lived as a slave to sin, I lived to please myself... to do what I wanted, when I wanted. Now, as a slave to righteousness, I live for Christ. This may mean that the thing my flesh wants - that drink of alcohol, that laugh at someone else's expense, that profane (but oh-so-cool) film, or to give another driver a specific finger - has to be ignored in order to live by the Spirit. Death/life, law/grace, flesh/spirit... these antitheses are challenging when we're living in them.

4:10 PM  

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