Scripture: Romans 6: 12-23
Key verse: (23) “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Reflection: When I was a child we belonged to a Presbyterian church in Virginia. The pastor there was a dramatic orator who loved to preach, especially about sin. He would pound on the pulpit for emphasis when he preached and I will never forget the way he said “The wages of sin is death!” He made it very clear that sin was bad – very bad – and we better stay away from it! But, I don’t remember him offering an alternative.
The Apostle Paul in today’s passage asks an interesting question: Do you want to be slaves of sin or slaves of righteousness? Having heard more than my fair share of sermons on sin over the years, I hadn’t really considered the possibility of an alternative. But, we can be slaves to righteousness – slaves to the love of God through willful obedience to what we have been taught by Jesus Christ. We don’t have to serve destructive passions or compulsions. We can take our creative energy and let God use it for good. Paul writes: “For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.” We can present ourselves to God for God’s purposes. We are offered another way away from sin. Of course, there will still be times when we struggle with temptation, but we will have the option of making other choices. Think what might happen if we put the same amount of energy into serving God that we put into the things we know we are doing wrong! When we whole-heartedly serve God we will be transformed and set free from the sin that clings so closely. We will have a chance to discover new life.
Prayer: Gracious God, we thank you for giving us choices. Help us to receive your grace in such a way that we might become obedient slaves to your love and grace. Walk with us as we turn away from sin and turn more fully toward you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[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].