Scripture: Romans 6:1-11
Key verse: (11) So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Reflection: At the core of our faith is a startling challenge to the world’s understanding of morality. The world often assumes that fear of punishment is the foundation for good behavior. We see this assumption in our parenting, in our judicial system, and even in our international policies. So, if you are no longer afraid of punishment, why bother being good? If the threat is removed, will anyone behave well? Put in simpler terms – if you aren’t afraid of sitting in time out, will you do what your parents expect? Or if you aren’t afraid of economic sanctions that will hurt your citizens, will you put down your weapons of warfare?
Paul tackles those questions in today’s passage. If salvation is based on grace, and our salvation is already accomplished in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, does that mean we can just do whatever we want? In verse two Paul uses a wonderful Greek expression that we translate “By no means!” Absolutely not! No way! Not at all!
We believe that in Jesus Christ we have been given new life. Our salvation, our freedom from fear and punishment, frees us to behave like Jesus Christ in the world. Our lives are lived in response to the gift of faith, in gratitude for the good news of salvation, not in fear of God’s anger. Apparently God doesn’t think we have to be threatened in order to do the right thing.
During this season of Lent, will we embrace that good news for ourselves and for one another? God’s love for us is generous and gracious, and isn’t dependent on our worthiness. Our salvation does not depend on our good works. We live in response to that startling claim. We are alive to God in Christ Jesus!
Prayer: Dear Lord, fill my heart with gratitude for the grace you have shown to me. Give me new life in Jesus Christ so that everything I say and do will reflect his love for the world. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].