Simplify, simplify, simplify. I believe in simple. Today as we finish out chapter 6 you will find the passage repetitive and a continuation of yesterday. Clearly in the church in Rome there was a problem with church members choosing Jesus but living like the devil.
The term Paul uses to describe this condition is "slaves to sin". Paul makes it sound like at baptism a switch should have flipped. Until we meet Jesus sin rules us. We submit to it's every demand. Like a crying baby we feed our lusts just to shut them up. Our body demands something and we like mindless slaves obey.
Then we become Christians and we want to live like Jesus and Jesus was not a slave to His desires. He went 40 days without food and then resisted the temptation to eat because He knew the temptation wasn't really about food. None of us can say we've been tempted to that level. We give in long before that.
So what about that switch? Before Jesus we just serve our own desires and then after we choose Jesus the switch flips and we only want to serve Him right...?
6:12 "Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 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. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
I sense a lot of tension. The tension will only get worse in chapter 7. Think about this. You're a young good looking guy. You're charming. You're the life of the party. You are a ladies man. You walk into a room and an attractive brunette catches your eye. The rest of the evening becomes a pursuit. You've been down this road before. Then you meet someone. She isn't just another conquest. She takes a hold of more than your eyes and your lusts. She is the one.
Question: Now that you have chosen "The one" and she has chosen you and you're making forever plans with her what will happen to your old habits? The next time you walk into a room will that beautiful blonde not catch your eye? Will your desire to pursue and conquer suddenly be gone? Will you only have eyes and desires for "The one"?
As Dr. Phil would say: "How's that working for you?" Yet Paul is pretty insistent and clear. We are to serve Jesus in right living and holiness and no longer be slaves to our old destructive desires.
Hmmm, the wages of sin is death. If I remain a slave I will die. However the gift of God is eternal life... gift? Present? Received not earned? Provided by someone outside myself? You mean there is a solution to my slavery but the answer is not inside me?
See you tomorrow when Paul gets real. Real honest...