Saturday, October 20, 2007

Free from Sin

John 8:34 & 35: Whoever practices sin is the slave of sin. And the slave does not abide in the house forever, but the Son abides forever.
Preachers don’t preach this stuff. We were very fortunate to have been led by a pastor (many years ago) who taught us that, “You may sin, but you don’t have to.” If Christ has freed us from sin, why would we be powerless to stop sinning?

That same blessed man who told us we did not have to sin always encouraged us to read our Bibles for ourselves and not take anyone’s word on anything. He said we should study it and apply it to our lives. We trusted him so much, that we (ironically) didn’t read it nearly as much as we should have at that time. But God definitely used him in our lives to get the ball rolling. Circumstances changed; he left that church and so did we. We spent over a year searching for a “good church.” Eventually we went back to the old church because it felt like home and we thought that perhaps we should never have left it. Imagine my surprise when after only a couple of months, God called us away from it in an undeniable and unmistakable way. I am ashamed to say that I was heartbroken and terribly distraught.
I was still learning submission. I was never one to tell my husband what to do or even to disobey his stated wishes, but Scott has always been very perceptive of my feelings. He always wanted to please me. I never asked it of him, but I had come to expect it. When Scott made this decision with full knowledge of how I felt about it, I knew it was the right thing for us to do. It hurt my feelings a little but felt amazingly good at the same time. My husband was making decisions to please God and not to please me.

Once we got to this new place of service, it became clear that we would not have a pastor. I decided to read all the way through the New Testament. I felt like I already knew it pretty well. I taught AWANA at our old church and helped my oldest son memorize his Bible verses, so I had a decent scriptural base. So why, why, why had I never heard Romans 6 preached? With the exception of the last verse, I never heard any of it in church. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. That’s an AWANA standard, from the first Sparkie handbook. Lesson #652- Always read what comes before and after selected passages of Scripture, especially when the passage begins with the word “for.”

Here it is in its entirety.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound?
Let it not be! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?
Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father; even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been joined together in the likeness of His death, we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection;
knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin.
For he who died has been justified from sin.
But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
knowing that when Christ was raised from the dead, He dies no more; death no longer has dominion over Him.
For in that He died, He died to sin once; but in that He lives, He lives to God.
Likewise count yourselves also to be truly dead to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. Do not yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but yield yourselves to God, as one alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under Law, but under grace.
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under Law, but under grace? Let it not be!
Do you not know that to whom you yield yourselves as slaves for obedience, you are slaves to him whom you obey; whether it is of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness.
But thanks be to our God that you were the slaves of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.
Then being made free from sin, you became the slaves of righteousness.
I speak in the manner of men because of the weakness of your flesh; for as you have yielded your members as slaves to uncleanness, and to lawless act unto lawless act, even so now yield your members as slaves to righteousness unto holiness.
For when you were the slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness.
What fruit did you have then in those things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
But now, being made free from sin, and having become slaves to God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end everlasting life.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The entire chapter tells us that we are not powerless over sin. We can and should live a life free from sin. We who are children of God should not sin. Obedience is a choice. Sin is a choice. You decide.

No comments: