“You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”
This statement is paradoxical in nature and, at first glance, does not seem to offer the redeeming and sanctifying freedom that we hear so much about in most church pulpits. The idea of being a slave in general is resentful, undesirable, and unpleasant. How can being a slave to anything possibly be something that leads to redemption, much less life?
Specifically in this passage Paul delves deep into the inner workings of sin and its implications for mankind. We find, as we read deeper into the text, that we are completely helpless in our confrontation with sin, thus deemed as slaves to sin [formerly]. As Paul continues he offers the idea of grace, sanctification, and the goodness of God. Ultimately this leads to freedom from sin and a life in Christ; however, this jump is not immediately made by Paul.
If anything, our freedom is conditional and premised upon whether or not we offer ourselves to obedience to the idea of grace; this can by synonymously tied to obeying the commands of God and adhering to the implications of the crucifixion.
Most of us know nothing about being a slave, but I think there are a few things we can assume:
- It’s not something we’d willingly want to do; even if we did want to be a slave we certainly would not want to do it all the time.
- If slaves did not want to do a certain task, they did not necessarily have the autonomy to do so. They had to choose to do these certain tasks for risk of being beaten, whipped, or killed.
Millenials this is for us. We look at salvation and immediately think freedom. It is not erroneous to infer this; however, it would greatly behoove us to reconsider our methods of walking out this freedom. If we adhere to Paul’s words we must offer ourselves to obedience and the workings of the cross; this implies that we offer ourselves to God even when we have little or no desire to do so.
Obedience, brethren, can be a scary and undesirable place. At times it’s not pretty and it’s not glamorous. The beauty of obedience is that it is consistent, diligent, and persevering. It is a reflection of the choice we made when we first committed ourselves to Christ. Much like how marriage operates today in terms of lifelong, persistent commitment is the same sentiment our relationship with Christ ought to be.
Obedience doesn’t necessarily make the Instagram shots or make for a great Snap Story, but it makes for an epic lifetime.