I found myself in the Book of Romans last night. I never get tired of discovering how applicable the Bible is to my life. I was reading Romans 6 and for a change I looked up The Message translation. I tend to flip flop between several different translations all the time. I love comparing the differences.
As I sat and read Romans 6 I kept thinking… Paul might as well have been writing about my life and my personal journey to the Lord. I could relate to so many of the verses I read.
- I have made the poor choices he is warning against in these verses.
- I have chosen that path of sin he discusses only to discover that painful dead-end that he assures is there waiting for us.
- I have also experienced that freedom he promises we will find when we finally run back to Christ.
The struggles and temptations we face today are not new. Many generations of Christians have done just like I did last night…they have opened their Bibles and discovered verses that seem to speak to them directly…verses that seem to have been written just for them. Reading verses like the ones below always seems to encourage me and remind me just how much my Heavenly Father loves me.
God knew I would struggle…way before I even existed. And He knows the path you have taken and will take in the future. He knew how important it was to warn future generations of how tough this journey can be sometimes. God also knew how important it was to encourage us of the hope and freedom we can find in Him! Because of His work on the cross, our sin doesn’t have to define us any longer. Our sin doesn’t have to hold us hostage any more. There’s a better way!
Romans 6: 12-23 THE MESSAGE
That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!—into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God.
So, since we’re out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we’re free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it’s your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!
I’m using this freedom language because it’s easy to picture. You can readily recall, can’t you, how at one time the more you did just what you felt like doing—not caring about others, not caring about God—the worse your life became and the less freedom you had? And how much different is it now as you live in God’s freedom, your lives healed and expansive in holiness?
As long as you did what you felt like doing, ignoring God, you didn’t have to bother with right thinking or right living, or right anything for that matter. But do you call that a free life? What did you get out of it? Nothing you’re proud of now. Where did it get you? A dead end.
But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.