Let It Never Be
In Romans 5 we see that we sin because we were born sinners. This is important to understand because if we think sinning makes us sinners then we can’t help but think that doing righteous things makes us right. Romans reveals that in our sinful condition and in our sinning God meets us with His grace. He gave His life to liberate us from all that enslaves us. He didn’t leave us to manage on our own but gave His life in order to manifest Himself in us.
Romans 6:15–16 “What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 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?”
The legalist mistakenly thinks it’s the Law that changes our attitudes about sin. The Pharisee says, “We need the Law so people will keep from sinning.” Is sin a super gratifying way of life and God just doesn’t want us to have a good time? Our Abba wants only what is good for us and what advances His reign. He knows we forget that sin always brings death.
What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? We know the answer to “Should we sin so grace abounds?” was, “NO!” It is the same in relationship to the Law. Make no mistake, the scripture clearly teaches the believer is not under the Law. The Law perfectly identifies our problem but is completely powerless to deliver us from sin. The question is not can we, but should we? The mere suggestion that God’s grace is a license to sin is quite contradictory. The very purpose of God’s grace is to free us from sin. Can I continue on in a life style of sin, like nothing miraculous really happened to me (except I get to go to heaven when I die)? Paul’s answer is: absolutely not, no way, no how, NO!
We are not under the Law but we are not a lawless people. The Law was given for lawless people. We have the life of Jesus within us. We don’t follow an external code but live responsively to the indwelling Holy Spirit. We live under a higher Law – the law of the love of Christ.
1 Timothy 1:9 “understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers,”
We are under grace in order to be free from sin’s hold. The personal relationship with Jesus that begins when we are born again, by grace through faith, is the relationship with God’s Spirit that leads us to freedom. Sin is actually slavery and it would be folly to be delivered from slavery only to return to it again. However, sin is rarely seen by us as slavery. Instead of being presented as slavery, it is usually described as the very essence of freedom. This was what the devil told Eve in the Garden of Eden when he argued, “Don’t be bound by God’s word. Be free; eat of the tree and become as God, knowing good and evil.
You are a slave to whomever you obey! There are just two alternatives; a slave of sin or a slave of righteousness. The one you yield to becomes your master. A slave serves the will of the master, not his own. Ray Steadman tells about a guy he saw a man walking the streets of Los Angeles with a sign hung over his shoulders, on the front it said, “I’m a Slave to Christ.” On the back of it read, “Whose slave are you?” Some people resist coming to Christ because they worry about losing their freedom. The reality is they don’t have any freedom to lose because they are bound and enslaved by sin! They don’t understand their desires come from their evil master, sin. If you give way to sensual passions, you will become a slave to those passions. If you give way to greed, you will become a slave to greed.
Slavery to sin always leads to death. Sin leads to death but this isn’t what we are told. It is not what the devil told Eve. Do not listen to those who tell you that sin is harmless. What happens when we sin as believers? Most of us try to kid ourselves into believing it is not very serious. “It won’t hurt us.” Don’t you know that you set in operation a basic principle of life? If you yield yourself to sin, you become the slave to it and the result is always death. Sin not only takes us further than we desire to go, but it also infects others with the same attitude. Sin spreads like an infection and ends in death.
We are now slaves of righteousness. Paul isn’t saying that we ought to be slaves of righteousness but that we already are slaves of righteousness. To be a slave of Jesus Christ is true freedom. What is true freedom? It is not a license to do absolutely anything at all. True freedom is the ability to fulfill one’s life purpose. This was the promise of Jesus to the disciples when He said in John 8, “If you hold to my teaching you are truly my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” He then told them that whoever sins is a slave to sin but those whom the Son sets free are truly free! The only real freedom you and I are ever going to experience is to serve our Lord’s purposes and this means a life of obedience to righteousness. In presenting ourselves to righteousness we are giving our lives to the indwelling life of God so He can live His life through us. This is the essence of grace. Grace does in us what the Law could only demand of us.
Titus 2:11–12 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,”
My hope is that you’re having a grace filled week. You are in my prayers and thanksgivings to God and I’m asking our Abba to give you someone to bring to church on Sunday so we might love on them together and encourage them in the journey. It is an honor to shepherd you.
You are loved!