Rom 6:12-23 NKJV ” Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.  (13)  And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.  (14)  For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.  (15)  What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!  (16)  Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?  (17)  But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.  (18)  And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.  (19)  I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.  (20)  For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.  (21)  What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.  (22)  But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.  (23)  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Paul today challenges those who claim the name of Christ, to Holy Living. He says that we must make Holy Choices as we go through our daily living. He says that you don’t want to allow sin to have dominion over your mortal bodies, do not sin just because you are no longer under law but under grace.

Through baptism we have been freed from sin and are now servants of righteousness. Paul also says that following God yields eternal benefits, at the end of our journey is total sanctification and eternal life with God and our fellow believers. Paul ends by telling us that sin pays a wage, that wage is eternal death eternity in the darkness away from the light of God, better known as Hell, but that salvation comes to us as a free gift, through Jesus Christ.

Paul here talks of slavery, slavery to sin which means we obey sin as our master and live sinful lives. We have given our minds and hearts to sin. Yet here is the truth of life, it is that we have been freed from slavery to sin, we no longer live enthralled by sin. Know that Jesus by his death and resurrection has defeated death and has freed us from sin which leads to death, instead we are now free to live Holy lives. Of course we still live in our mortal bodies which are subject to temptation and therefore we cling to the cross and to the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ and his death on the cross for our sins. In baptism we died to sin in likeness to the death of Christ, and were raised from death to new life.

Living that life is a choice we must make daily. There is a story told of a man who says to God, “Lord, I have not sinned today, I have not done anything that would bring shame to your name, I thank you that this is the case, but now Lord, I pray you will be with me this day, as I leave my bed to begin to live in the world today, help me to remain without sin.”

That is a story, but it illustrates the need for us to realize just who we are and of course that we are mortal, subject to sin because there is much sinfulness around us. So, we need to start our day in conversation with our God, acknowledging His sovereignty over us, and that we are in need of His guidance as we move through our day. Secondly, as Christian people we are to offer ourselves to God as available to be instruments to His will for our lives.

I know that some folks who call themselves Christians also say that they are allowed to do what they want, the scriptures say that they are no longer under the law, but, are under grace. If they sin they can go to God and ask forgiveness for that sin that they enjoyed doing and because of grace they will be forgiven. The problem with that is we are not under the law, but the law is still there to identify that which is sin for us.

What we have here is that we are free from sin, but, by the same token we are to become willing servants of righteousness. In order to embrace that liberty that is ours by faith in Christ, we must also surrender ourselves to the righteousness of God, we cannot neglect the surrender part so that we can continue to sin. If we do then we are in essence saying to God that we appreciate the freedom of liberty, but, we don’t want to be tied to righteousness either, we want to be our own god. That is the consignment of ourselves to an eternity in Hell. An eternity in the outer darkness, where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. In other words, an eternity divorced from God and his righteousness.

One truth that we seem to forget at times, the devil has no ammunition except what we give him. In other words, the temptations that are thrown at us are just that, they have no power over us unless we allow it.

Paul tells the Roman church, “No longer present yourselves.” In other words don’t allow your personality to be tainted by sin, don’t succumb to lust in your flesh and don’t allow your mind to become corrupted by your position or power. We have seen Governors, and Representatives brought low by their inability to perform their duties properly because of what they had become when they began to lust after others. It almost brought down a presidency, and that is a difficult thing to contemplate, but lust is powerful.

In place of giving yourselves to sin, Paul says we are to present ourselves to God. Present ourselves as willing instruments to live holy lives so that those we once were sinners with, will see that we have indeed changed we no longer live life as we once did, we are free from that life. We are now people who have a new way of living and a new way of dealing with life. Lust and anger and pride are no longer a part of our lives, we instead practice a different way humility is our cloak, grace our conversation and love for neighbor our walk. God is our sovereign we no longer walk in the shadow of false gods, nor are we walking with the emotions and distractions of the false gods of the world. We walk instead as citizens of heaven, we walk in the knowledge of Christ Jesus, and the free gift of eternal life through His sacrifice for us at Calvary.

Paul speaks of slavery, in our day and age that word has connotations that we don’t very much want to have to think about, yet, it is true that whatever way we decide to follow, that way is our master. We were enslaved to sin and now we are slaves to righteousness. We were at one time willing followers of sin, and are now willing followers of life. In essence, we have changed masters. One thing is for sure, there is no middle ground. We follow the Sovereign of the Universe. He is our Lord, and our Savior.

Paul then speaks of the advantage that is ours, first though he speaks about sin and what advantage we receive from sin. For many who get deep into sin they reap only shame and guilt, for even those of us who only venture into a little sin, there is still that guilty feeling. That worry that someone will find out and expose our sinfulness. We see it happen on a larger scale of course with politicians, and teachers who are caught in sexual sins, but also those who steal from their employers, just a few years ago it happened in our County, for just a few thousand dollars. Sin does not pay a very good wage. That is what Paul says in verse 23. For the wages of sin are death, that death is eternal, but it is not sleeping it is living in HELL, .

Paul does not let up in this message, he continues to hammer away. Even the thought that many of us have, “I wonder if that is really fun?” “I wonder if I can just buy one lottery ticket?” He assaults these thoughts and behaviors. He worries us and shakes us up You are Christians he says. Sin no longer has control over your lives, sin no longer reigns supreme as it once did. You say you follow Christ, yet you continue in sin. Stop excusing lapses in living holy lives by saying it’s OK we are under grace. You say you are Christians, if you truly are, then you belong to Christ, so act like it!

The wages of sin may be death, but the FREE GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Sovereign, our Lord. Let people see your love of God in all that you do, for then they will say, “wow, you sure have changed.”

 

 

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