Another Q&A in Paul’s great Gospel presentation to the Romans…
Q: Are we to continue in sin so grace may show itself even more? Or keep sinning because we are not under a law but under grace? If we are forgiven over an over again by no act of our own, can we not just keep sinning…after all, God will continue to keep forgiving us?
A: By no means! Once you have tasted freedom, why would you ever go back to slavery? God has so much more for you.
Timothy Keller says, “God invites us to come as we are, not stay as we are.”
We who are baptized in Christ were buried with Him in death…but also raised with Him in new life. Our old self, ruled by sin, was crucified with Him, so sin would no longer have control over us. We aren’t the same. We don’t have to do the things we used to do. We don’t have to say the things we used to say. We don’t have to think the way we used to think. We are free.
But sometimes we don’t feel free, do we? Sometimes -- even in our belief -- sin still seems to have a strong grip on us. Temptation is still rearing its ugly head for now, but we are equipped to conquer it. Paul says, “let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness…”
Our “members” are the things in us we can control. Our thoughts, our words, our actions, what we see, what we listen to, what we read, who we spend time with, where we spend time…all of it.
Instead of submitting our “members” as instruments for unrighteousness, we can strive to always present them in a way to draw closer to God. Think about how you spend your time. Think about what you scroll through. Think about what you read. Think about what you listen to in the car. Think about what you click on Netflix. Think about what you whisper to your friends. Are they things that feed that pull of temptation, or are they things that feed your soul, your faith, your love for the Lord?
Paul asks us to think about the fruit that ever came from the slavery of our bodies to temptation. Shame, guilt, regret, physical consequences, broken relationships, skewed view of self. Conversely, what is the fruit that comes from freedom from sin and nearness to God? Sanctification – becoming more like our Creator, our will being more in sync with His, our eyes seeing the world as He does -- and ultimately eternal life. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
If you have been set free…if you have tasted the good fruit…why would you ever go back? Instead, tap into that power inside you. Let’s use our “members” – all pieces of our heart, mind, body, and soul – to tap into God’s character, discernment, wisdom, peace. This is how we grow into people who are stronger against temptation and bearers of good good fruit.
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