By Brooke Holt
“What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?” Romans 6:15-19 (NRSV)
Last night at dinner, my son shared about a young man he met the previous night. This young man made quite an impression on Saxon (my son) for many reasons, but primarily because he was thriving in a business venture. Saxon was eager to learn how he had gotten into the business and what he could share about his experience. But what shocked and really impressed my son was when this fellow talked about his faith. A devout Catholic, he attends a church service every single day. When it comes to making decisions, he shared he always considers heaven and hell. He asks himself if his decision will lead him closer to heaven or to hell. As you can imagine, with such awareness, he always seeks to make God-honoring choices.
Paul wants every one of his readers to embrace this kind of faith. Paul admonishes his readers to recognize these forces at work in their lives. Where once they had been subjected to a life of sin and slavery, they were now free from that sin and from the enslavement to it. But they had to choose to live out of that freedom. Why would they choose sin over grace? Why would they choose slavery over freedom?
Paul’s original readers struggled just as you do today. Far too often, they looked back at their old lives. They turned back to the known and the comfortable. For some reason, the Law felt comfortable; sin felt comfortable. Much like trying to start an early morning exercise routine, after weeks of getting out of bed early for that workout, you feel great. You marvel at your energy levels and the changes happening in your body. You enjoy such a great sense of accomplishment. But then one morning you feel especially tired and choose to stay in bed. One day turns into another and then another. You start to forget the joy you once felt in your exercise regimen and move back to a life of sleeping later and forgoing the exercise.
Paul wrote to shake God’s people from their slumber! They needed to wake up now and remember the grace and freedom that came through Jesus. It might take discipline to keep choosing to live in grace and to turn from a lifestyle of sin; however, freedom in Christ is always greater, richer, and fuller than slavery to sin.
It really is that simple. As the young man referenced above, your choices are either for heaven or hell, righteousness or sin. What are you serving today?
What are you serving – sin or obedience? How can you more faithfully present yourself before Jesus Christ today? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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