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Tuesday, February 01, 2022

2022.02.01 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 6:12–19

Romans 6:12–19

Questions from the Scripture text: What are we not to allow sin to do (Romans 6:12)? What is the first step in denying sin (Romans 6:13a)? To whom are we instead to present ourselves—and every little part of who we are (verse 13b)? Why are we able to succeed against sin (Romans 6:14)? If we take having grace as our master (Romans 6:15) as an excuse for sinning, then who is our real master (Romans 6:16)? What is the way that God has delivered us from slavery to sin (Romans 6:17)? What does freedom from sin look like (Romans 6:18)? What must we do with every part of whom we are (Romans 6:19)?

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, and first song all come from Romans 6:12–19 so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with Take My Life and Let It Be.

In Romans 6:1–11, Scripture had gone hard after one of the worst ways that people abuse the truth about God’s saving sinners by grace. They use grace as an excuse for doing what our fleshliness wants. How can we actually think that freedom means doing whatever we feel like doing?

That’s called “obeying our lusts” and “allowing sin to reign in our mortal body” (Romans 6:12). 

So, how do we stop it? When we are fighting against sin, it feels like this giant, ugly monster  (which it is) that we can only take down by some great heroic act. But that’s not what our passage describes. Our passage describes our battle against sin not by one great battle, but by a multitude of little ones.

Every word. Every action. Every moment of time. Everything that we do is an offering and a service. It’s either an offering and a service to sin or an offering and service to the Lord. There’s no neutral ground.

What does the life of freedom look like? Not like a life of doing whatever we want but of doing whatever God wants. A life of true freedom is a life of cheerful and willing obedience. Romans 6:17 calls it “obeying from the heart.” It is also a life of theological obedience—actions that respond to facts about God and His work. That same verse reminds us that we obey “a form of doctrine that has been committed unto us.” 

The life of freedom is also a life of slavery. That sounds counter-intuitive. Would it help if we called it a life of “devotion”? That is, ultimately, what Romans 6:19 says. Slavery to righteousness is a slavery that is for holiness—it is complete devotion, relentless consecration, being set apart to the Lord.

This devotion is so complete, wholehearted, and full that the Scripture here calls it slavery. One cannot have two masters. So slavery means that every part of who we are, and every part of what we do, belongs to the Lord so much that we refuse to belong to anyone or anything else—least of all ourselves.

Yes, it grates upon our fleshly willfulness to call ourselves “slaves” to the Lord, but that’s why the Holy Spirit calls it “speaking in a human way” in Romans 6:19. Slavery may be distasteful, but it’s really the best way to understand how completely we are to belong to the Lord. Let us give ourselves to Him—entirely, continually, forever!

In what parts of your life could you be more intentionally offering yourself as a slave to God for righteousness? What would it look like for you to do that?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You and praise You for redeeming us. Not only have You atoned for our guilt and made us righteous, but You have even saved us from slavery to ourselves! Forgive us for how often we return to our old, horrible master, rather than enjoy Your good and blessed service. Grant that Your Spirit would make us into devoted children like our Lord Jesus Christ, in Whose Name we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH538 “Take My Life, and Let It Be”

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