Thursday, October 20, 2011

October 20, 2011 … Serving a New Master

Romans 6: 19 [note verse in bold/underlined] … 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
19 I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.

My Journal for Today:
Later in his epistle to the Christians in Rome, the Apostle Paul wrote, in Rom. 12: 1, about the Christian life being one of “living sacrifice;” and when he wrote that, he knew, in the context of today’s passage, such a sacrificial life, a life of reasonable worship to God, would not be an easy matter. As he writes in today’s verse, we Christians are “… weak in our natural selves.” And as you’re reading this, maybe you’re saying “Amen [!]” to that. Perhaps your weakness is sexual sin; maybe it’s gambling or cigarettes; perhaps it’s gluttony; or maybe it’s some other self-driven battle you may be fighting. But as John MacArthur points out in his Strength for Today devotional for this date, “It is a truism in the spiritual realm; no one stands still. Sin leads to sin; while holy living leads to further righteousness.” [Take time to let that statement settle in your mind/heart! That’s a powerful truth with which we, as Christians, simply must use for our lives.]

MacArthur’s point is what I call “spiritual inertia.” Inertia, as you probably know, and as defined by the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, is … “a property of matter by which it remains at rest or in uniform motion in the same straight line unless acted upon by some external force.” In other words, something that is at rest tends to stay at rest and something that is put into motion tends to stay in motion. That’s why a snowball rolling downhill, picking up additional snow, tends to go faster and faster. So, think with me how this applies to Christian living. If one gets into the habit of either a sin pattern or of righteousness, the momentum of that pattern tends to perpetuate itself and build in momentum. So, unless we can act upon our spiritually motivated habits by some external change, these habits will continue to replicate themselves; and overtime the momentum of those habits will get greater and greater and greater.

Yes, we are weak; and given our natural heart of deceit (see Jer. 17: 9), we can be drawn, by Satan and the world, toward our weakest points of vulnerability; and that’s what leads to our sin choices or inertia-bound patters of habitual sin. That’s why Paul wrote the sequence in Romans 7: 14 – 24. Paul knew that any Christian can identify with the weaknesses to which he, Paul, addressed in that passage. However, he also wrote all of Romans 8; and also using his own weakness in writing to all Christians (in 2nd Cor. 12: 9), Paul quoted Christ, Who somehow had related to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you; for My power is made perfect in your weakness.”

Am I sensing an “Amen [!]” yet from those who might be reading this? I certainly can’t speak for you, as you read this; but I know that I can give personal witness to the truth of Paul’s passion in all of these writings to have Christians live the victory he wrote about, with God’s inspiration, in Romans 8. When I once lived a life totally captivated by sin, the snowball of my life was ever downward in the spiritual inertia of my sinful habits; and that snowball was headed towards hell. But now, with the truth of 2nd Cor. 5: 17 and Gal 2: 20 beating in my born-again Christian heart and driving me ever toward heaven, Christ has intervened in my life; and I have allowed Him to break the inertia of my sinfulness, creating a whole new spiritual inertia in my life. Now, the spiral of my sanctified life is ever upward; and as documented by Paul in Romans 12: 1 – 2, it is a Spirit-led life of worship, leading to heaven and prayerfully ever more rightness in my life.

Sure, I’m still human; and I can – and will – sin; but the inertia of my life is my pursuit of Christlikeness; and I have God’s Spirit to keep me moving onward and upward! I pray you do too.

My Prayer Today: And to this, I must say a strong HALLELUJAH! Amen

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