By Brooke Holt
“When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:20-23 (NRSV)
My children loved Legos in their younger years! We had far too many Legos and Lego sets. Brilliant advertisers further captivated young hearts and minds when they brought out Lego movies and video clips. "Cake or Death", a favorite video in our house, featured a lackadaisical prison guard who represented the Church of England. Each day he presented the prisoners with two options – cake or death. It seems like an obvious answer; yet the video showed the Lego prisoners wrestling between the two choices.
In this portion of his letter to the Romans, Paul depicts that exact scenario. His readers have received grace through Jesus. It sets them free from sin, the law, the powers of evil, and even death. Yet, despite this amazing gift, they kept looking back longingly to their old lives of sin and slavery. They wrestled to receive the gift of grace, so Paul questioned them as to what benefits (fruit) they received by living as slaves to sin. He really wants his readers to stop and think – is there anything appealing about slavery to sin and death? The answer seems as obvious as in the "Cake or Death" video.
The second option offered the opportunity to become a slave of God. While the word slavery had and has negative implications, Paul explained how this kind of submission to the Lord differs. It brings those in the relation both freedom from the bondage of sin and also sanctification and eternal life. To mimic the Lego video: do you want slavery to sin and death, or do you want to become a slave of God and experience sanctification and eternal life? Again, the answer seems easy and obvious. Yet, Paul’s original readers struggled to let go of the old life of sin and law to embrace this new life of grace and freedom.
Perhaps you struggle too. I surely do at times. Far too often, I forget that the grace of God is free to me in Christ. I also forget I am not meant to walk this Christian life alone. I cannot sanctify myself, and I cannot produce fruit on my own. However, when I surrender to God yet again, his Holy Spirit does what I cannot do. He sanctifies me and transforms me to be more like Jesus. The Holy Spirit working in me creates spiritual fruit. In Christ, I find that I am deeply loved and valued. I am free from the requirements of the law. Even when I sin, I am covered in grace and forgiveness.
Paul longed for the Romans, for me, and for you to make the obvious choice – choose Jesus, freedom, sanctification, and eternal life and let go of sin and death. With the Holy Spirit residing in you, sin and death have no hold on you anymore!
What are you choosing – slavery to sin and death or slavery to the God who loves you and sets you free? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Jesus calls the Holy Spirit a "gift" who will guide us, lead us, and empower us. Yet many believers don't experience the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This unique Christian small group Bible study provides a space in which we can explore what it truly means to "walk in the Spirit" on a daily basis. The Spirit-Filled Life small group curriculum centers on a 6-part video teaching series examining the life-giving and creative work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Begin to experience the gift today!
Comments will be approved before showing up.