Welcome to another edition of our Pastors Pen blog. I trust that these have been encouraging and meaningful to you as we look to the word of the Lord in the middle of each week. As a youth group, we have been going through the book of Romans together, and one passage that has really struck me throughout this study is Romans 6. Throughout this chapter, Paul has been talking about the powerful grip that sin has and the importance of presenting yourself to God and dying to your sin. He asks the question in vs. 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?”
I imagine that the original readers of this were probably confused, shocked, and maybe a little offended by this declaration. They may have been thinking along the same lines of the Jewish believers in John 8, who after Jesus had told that that knowing the truth would set them free, said “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” But if you remember this passage, Jesus said in John 8:34 “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.” Everyone is a slave to something. In Romans 6 Paul lays down 2 options, you are either a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness. Whatever it is in life that you are obeying, whether your flesh or the spirit, has become your master, it controls you. When you give yourself to sin, it takes ahold of your life and grips you and keeps you from following God’s desire for your life. Earlier in Romans 6:12 the apostle wrote that if sin reigns in your body, it makes you obey it’s passions. You might think that life apart from God and living your own way is “freeing.” But in reality, obedience to sin leads to death. A pastor I listened to recently compared it to skydiving without a parachute. If you jump out of a plane, it will feel freeing. It will be exhilarating and fun and the thrill of a lifetime. But it leads straight to death.
By contrast, obedience to God leads to righteousness. Romans 6:19 says “For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.” To “present your members” is ultimately to offer your entire being to God. His desire is for you to totally submit yourselves to him and to offer every part of your life to him and let him take control. Offer yourself to Him to allow Him to use you as He pleases and for His glory. Our flesh is our default mode, it is easy to offer ourselves to sin because its natural. But you will soon find yourself trapped. You will only make spiritual progress and begin to defeat sin and live in the power of God when you step out of your comfort zone and deny your fleshly passions. Serving sin in your life accomplishes nothing for you, there is no spiritual benefit from the things you are ashamed of (Romans 6:21). But to give yourself to righteousness leads to a life of holiness. Through our obedience, God makes us holy transforms us into the likeness of Christ.
So, in your life, who are you obeying? Are you obeying your flesh and your desires, or are you obeying the Spirit and the will of the Lord? I encourage you to be a “slave to righteousness” as this passage says, living obedient to the Word of God and submitting to your life to the teachings of Christ.