In our text, the Apostle Paul was writing to the Christians in Rome. Like us, they had received the Holy Spirit and by His power they too received all the blessings which Christ earned for us on the cross – forgiveness, mercy, grace and eternal life. They had formerly lived in ungodly ways and now he was reminding them “Who they were; Whose they were; to Whom they belonged; and How they ought to live in order to glorify God!”
He wrote, “If we have been united with Him [Christ Jesus] in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection… Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him.” (Romans 6: 5, 8)
Their former way of life included immorality of every sort, debauchery and hedonism (seeking after pleasure “whatever the cost”). But now he urged them as disciples of Christ, followers of the Savior, “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness.” (Romans 6: 12-13)
For us this might mean not letting our minds, eyes, mouths, hands, feet and “private parts” lead us into sin. Our minds, ruled by sin, could lead us to dwell on greed, anger, revenge and hatred. But God’s Word calls us to “set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:2) Our “unchecked eyes” could tempt us to lust and pornography, but guided by God we can instead, “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2) One of the most difficult of the body parts to tame is the tongue! From our mouths (with our tongues) come gossip, foul language and hurtful comments. Under the inspiration of God, Paul urges us saying, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4: 29) And further, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow… and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2: 10-11) By the grace of God, this will be our response and that of all creation. Finally, our sinful feet may lead us into those places that we should not be; our hands tempt us to take or to strike; our private parts invite us to fornication and adultery, while God urges us to “flee sexual immorality. Your bodies are members of Christ, Himself… You were bought with a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6: 15, 20)
By the grace of God, earned by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, in our place on the cross, we are no longer ruled by the law or crushed under the weight of our own sin, rather, we are free. “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace?” (Romans 6: 15) Of course not! We are called as disciples of Christ, empowered by His Word and filled by His Spirit, to offer ourselves fully and completely into the service of our Savior. We will either be servants to sin, which leads to shame and death, or servants to righteousness which leads to holiness and eternal life. Paul reminds us, “the wages [full and deserved payment] of sin is death, but the gift of God [free and undeserved] is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6: 23)
“So, Who Will You Serve?” “Choose for yourselves this day… but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” (Joshua 24: 15)
See you in church this next weekend!
Blessings in Christ,