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Mid-Week with Christ
June 16, 2020

Which Master Will You Serve?

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Romans 6:15-23

 
15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
 

Prayer for the Day

 
Forgiving Father, keep us free from sin by the power of the Spirit, that we might serve Your Son Jesus who has delivered us from the wages of sin and death. In His Name we pray. Amen.
In his famous Sermon on the Mount Jesus addressed the issue of prayer, of fasting, and of giving money to the poor. At the heart of all three basic religious duties was the question of treasure. In short, where is yours? Is your treasure stored up in heaven or is it here on earth where "moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal" (Matthew 6:19)? Where you store your wealth reveals whom you serve in this life: God, or possessions. But, says Jesus, you cannot serve both. 

Paul seems to be alluding to this quandary in his discussion of salvation with the Christians in Rome. All people are slaves of someone. The question is whether we are slaves to sin or to righteousness. Do we spend our life storing up treasure that can be stolen or treasure in heaven that is eternally safe? 

Disobeying any of God's commands comes with its own consequences. Murder leads to a guilty conscience, if not life in prison or even execution. Theft leaves one over-protective of one's own possessions. Sexual promiscuity can bring disease, depression, and even the need to kill the life of an unborn child if a moment of fun brings an "undesired pregnancy." The ultimate consequence of sin is death, both here in time and eternally apart from God's love.

Doing the right thing can be hard. But it comes with the fruits of the Spirit: peace in our heart, respect (even grudging) of those around us, peace at having lived virtuously, and the joy of knowing we are living out the name given to us in our baptisms: that of child of God. Jesus died that we might be set free from slavery to sin, and live instead in the righteousness he merited for us through his sacrificial crucifixion.
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