Romans 6:15 (The apostle Paul writes) What then? Should we 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 (and eternal life)? …23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Paul is making a contrast between living according to the old covenant (following the code of rules known as the “law of Moses”) and the new covenant of grace in Jesus Christ. In Christ, we no long secure our own place before God by obedience to the code of rules. Our sin will always trip us up as we try following rules. Instead, Jesus died and rose again to secure our place before God. Now, eternity with God (which starts now) is given to us as a gift of grace rather than as reward for following the law.
Paul does not want people thinking. “Hey, Jesus did it all, so let’s continue in our destructive behavior, dysfunction and disobedience!” Um, no. The purpose of grace was not to allow us to be children of God while continuing to live in our junk. The purpose of grace was to set us free from our junk so that we can become obedient to something else – righteousness. In other words:
Following sin = death
Following righteousness = life
Which lead to some key questions for us this morning:
1. How have my practices and habits changed as a result of following after Jesus?
2. Where am I seeing peace, hope, and love emerge as a result?
3. Where am I still bogged down in sin and/or destructive behavior?
4. What price am I paying as a result of this?
5. What would it look like for me to be free of these destructive behaviors?
Lord Jesus, you came to set us free from sin and death forever. Give us grace to follow you with all of our hearts – and to be made new as a result. We ask this in your holy name. Amen.