In chapter 5 Paul stated that where sin abounds grace abounds even more. Fearing that some of the christians in Rome would feel that was a license to sin Paul goes on in chapter 6 to explain this further. “By no means!” I love when scripture puts that in emphatically, I always make sure I understand what the earlier statement was because he has put such emphasis on it. The question in verse 1 was “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” “By no means!” The Passion translation puts it “What a terrible thought!” Yet in Paul’s day that was apparently a problem and it is a problem with some even today. There are people who think they can live however they want even after they have become a christian but Paul shows here and as we unpack it I think we will see that when you have accepted Jesus you may not immediately change your ways but God is not going to leave you alone in habitual sin.
First of all becoming a christian is identifying with Jesus in his death and it is identifying with Him in his resurrection. We are to crucify our old self so that we are no longer a slave to sin. This doesn’t mean you will never sin again. That can’t happen until we go home to glory with Him. But what it does mean is that you will not be comfortable in that sin. I believe there are people who remain in sin even after they give their life to Christ but the point is they are not walking in the freedom that a life in Christ brings. Sin is not the boss of you!
“For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:10-11)
Paul’s point here is do not let sin reign in your life. It is such a shame that so many Christians are not walking in the freedom that God has for us, but as Paul says it, are slaves to sin. Being enslaved to something or someone means it masters you. If you are enslaved to sin, the Devil will have you thinking that you can’t change or this is just the way you are, the way you were made and you can’t change it. But I also truly believe that if you accepted Jesus you can’t be comfortable in it. Ok, I’m preaching to the choir here. I have things that I struggle with, characteristics that my thought process will head toward immediately in certain circumstances. My mouth gets ahead of me, I can be quick to anger, I talk more than I wish I did many many times. I can’t excuse that behavior even though it is a part of my natural make up. But what I can and what I try to do is to bring it to the cross and ask God to change my thought processes and to fix me. I don’t want to have a short fuse, I do, but that is no excuse if I am walking in the light of His love and what He did for me. It bothers me. He has not let me excuse it as that’s how He made me. I have to bring it to Him and ask His help with it. And when I react in a more loving way I think of that as a little victory. That doesn’t mean I will never do it again, but it does mean that I won a small battle in my human flesh by laying it down. There are other things that someone else may be struggling with. But we do not have to walk in those struggles. We get to walk in His righteousness and to present our bodies and our lives as a living sacrifice to Him.
The bottom line is you are either going to be a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness. I for one would rather live as a slave to righteousness. But there are a lot of people who think that is no fun and that being a slave to sin is more fun and where the good times are. However, I know no one who remains a slave to sin that death and destruction do not reign eventually.
“For 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)
Satan loves to wrap sin up in fun, he loves to make it shiny and bright so that we think that is where we want to live. Jesus gives us grace to just be and to work on things that make us uncomfortable and to serve and love Him. The reward at the end of a life with Jesus is eternal life. I think there are going to be a few people who knew Him but didn’t live in the light of Him who get that. The day to day rewards are what I don’t want to miss out on. The grace, the peace, the hope that walking with Him day to day brings me.
Lord, help us to live in your grace. Help us to be slaves to your righteousness and not slaves to sin. Show each of us what our next step to walking with you will be.