“For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 6:20-23 NKJV
We are living in a world where people love to proclaim their “freedom”, their ability to do what they wish, to engage in any and all sinful behaviors. I remember those days. I used to rejoice in my decadence, as I drank too much, ate too much, looked at things I shouldn’t for as long as I wished, and treated others as tools for my own amusement. I thought I was free. The righteous conventions of the moral, had no claim to me. I was the captain of my own ship. Unbeknownst to me, my ship was sinking.
I look back at that period of my life as lost opportunity, with no lasting fruit, but many lasting consequences. Periodically, I look back at that time, and I shudder at some of the things I did, as the evil one points his flaming finger at me. Then I rejoice at the Holy Spirit’s reminder that I am not that man anymore, that I belong to Jesus. I am reckoned dead to sin.
Still, that stinking corpse of the old man, seeks to stir to life and putrify my walk with Christ. In the passage above, Paul was exhorting his audience to live in holiness. The tendency for one saved and made righteous, is to dabble in the sinful things that we enjoyed in the past. I find that that those things I gloried in previously, have faded, and offer none of the satisfaction I felt before I came to Christ. Instead of the delight I felt, I feel shame, a draining of my emotions, that I have wasted precious time. I run to the cross to seek forgiveness, not to be saved, but to keep my sin accounts short, and not damage that intimacy I have with God.
There is great joy for me in living in true freedom, enjoying the great salvation purchased for me by Jesus’ atoning death on the cross. You see, the wages of sin is death, but Jesus paid for my sin, took the death I had earned, and set me free. Instead of death, spiritual death, I have eternal life and a destiny in heaven. I also have the assurance of forgiveness. The Holy Spirit brings me the constant presence of God, always there to remind me of whose I am.
He also gives me the power to turn from sin. That is the glory of salvation in Jesus, I have moved from being a slave to sin, to being a slave of God. The great irony is that, as a slave of God, I am truly free.
Believers, rejoice that you are slaves of God, that in that relationship, you are more free than anyone not in Christ. He has given us a free gift: salvation, holiness, and everlasting life. Let us go out and share the Gospel with all we know. Let us tell that the wages of sin is death, that the gift of God is eternal life, and that the fruit is great joy. This truly good news!
To those who have not called upon Jesus to forgive your sins, think of the thing you are most ashamed of, the thing that makes you shudder at the very memory of it, and then imagine that thing washed away, forgiven, no longer robbing you of peace. Imagine the guilt and shame replaced with peace and joy. You too can have this great salvation.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
II Corinthians 5:17 NKJV