Journey to Jerusalem Day 36
Wednesday, April 1 Romans 6:15-23
15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 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? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. 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.
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Our Lenten journey helps us grow more aware of our sins and our tendency to sin. In spite of its mournful tone, this season is full of reminders of God’s grace and mercy! Robert Webber has described this season as a “bright sadness” because it leads us through the darkness of our brokenness to the joys of Easter.
The tone of Lent is enough to help us answer Paul’s question “Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace?” (v15). The answer is “no!” It’s the rest of what Paul says that helps us put into perspective what it means to be “under grace.”
Once enslaved to sin, we now have a different Master, who lovingly calls us to righteousness; a way of living that flows from his likeness. But, our learning to live in this righteousness doesn’t happen automatically. It is worked in us through listening and practice.
Paul says you “have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed” (v18). As we listen and practice the things of God we are being sanctified.
This new path leads to eternal life, but not based solely on our actions; we do not earn our way to eternal life. Rather, our righteous works are the evidence of God being our Good Master!
Lent gives us the opportunity to look at our lives in this light. What master are we serving: sin and death, or the God of grace? How are we pressing into to God’s “standard of teaching,” and are we actually committed to putting into practice the things we learn?
Good Lord open our eyes to your grace and compel us to learn—to read, study, discuss, and engage with your word and ways, that our lives conform to yours; in Jesus’ name. Amen!