“You are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness”—Romans 6:16
If professing believers were really honest, many would say their lives bear little resemblance to the Christian life described in Scripture. They struggle repeatedly with the same sins, feel that God rarely answers prayers, and wonder why He hasn’t given them the desires of their heart. How is this possible?
The problem may be a lack of submission to Jesus Christ. People often want the forgiveness of sins and the promise of heaven but are not willing to place themselves under the lordship of Christ. Therefore, they are disconnected from what He wants to do in their life. In refusing to submit, they forfeit the blessings that come to those who know Christ as Savior and Lord.
As today’s passage states, “You are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness” (v. 16). Although we strongly dislike the concept of slavery, that is the reality for every person who enters the world: We are all born as slaves of sin. Thankfully, that doesn’t have to be the final word. Anyone who turns to Christ in repentance and faith is set free. However, this is not freedom to simply do whatever we want. In fact, doing so would naturally head us back to our old slave master of sin.
Avoiding submission to God results in wasted years of chasing after His blessings through our own cunning. True freedom and blessing are found only in being a slave to God, who is always good, wise, and loving. In obedience to His will, we find freedom from sin, answers to prayer, and new desires that come from a changed heart.
(Presented with permission | Charles Stanley | In Touch)
“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”— James 5:16
Given the righteousness that we have in Christ Jesus, anyone in Christ may come before God in prayer with a clear conscience and without fear of condemnation. In point of fact, anyone in Christ may come before God with the expectation of good results.
Hebrews 4:16 says “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” We don’t have to grovel before God or get someone better than us to get what we need. Every Christian may come before Him with great confidence.
Do you not know that to whomever you present yourselves as slaves for obedience, you are slaves to whomever you obey, whether sin, leading to death, or obedience, leading to righteousness?—Romans 6:16
The issue of the lordship of Christ is never presented as an optional addendum to believing faith. It is an essential and functional necessity of it. Billy Graham believed in salvation by faith in Christ alone and walked in obedience to the lordship of Christ simply because Christ alone is Lord and King. Mr. Graham’s deep humility before man was the hallmark of his spiritual humility and obedience to God. As a result, he was endowed with an abundance of the grace of God (see James 4:6).
In the Bible, the call to obey God is first seen in the call of Abram (Genesis 12:1-4). When invited to join God in all He promised, Abram immediately followed God in total obedience. Abram, in fact, did not even know where he was going. He just obeyed and went.
Holman’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary suggests Biblical obedience is “to hear God’s Word and act accordingly.” In human terms, this carries the idea of submitting to a higher authority. In Biblical terms, obedience simply means doing what God says!
In short, if we believe in Him, then we obey Him. He alone is God.
The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.”—Psalms 32:8
Not asking for directions when you’re lost is like driving a car blind-folded. You’ll ultimately reach your destination but only after suffering through pain, frustration and heartache. Many people today believe they can save themselves without God’s help or direction. Their efforts to do good and be a good person will only secure their eternal future in a place without God.
Seeking help is the right thing to do especially when you’re lost or don’t know what action to take in your life. There is no shame in it and God, who already has laid out His plans for you, will smile and insure your success in whatever you’re trying to do.
You see, God loves you with a love that man can’t understand. His love for us is unfathomable and reaches into every part of our being. Our love for and dependence on God will ensure our success in this life thus avoiding many of the pitfalls the unsaved will experience.
Seek God’s best and His direction for your life. He will bless you beyond measure. Remember, God’s love for you is total, complete and the very best He has for you!
Being led by the Spirit characterizes how we work. While that mindset is countercultural and not pleasing to the flesh (Gal. 5:16), it’s the only way to live as a child of God. Seek out believers who are trying to practice dependence on the Spirit, and encourage one another not to give up.
When the sentence for a crime is not speedily executed, the hearts of men become fully set on doing evil.—Eccl 8:11
Have you ever ignored a nagging sense of conviction in your heart? Maybe you rationalized wrongdoing with the thought that if God were really upset, He’d put a stop to things by disciplining you. Psalm 50:21 reminds us that the silence of heaven does not mean approval. Remaining in sin is an abuse of the Lord’s patience.
When God seems slow to react, we might hope He’s overlooking our transgressions—we’d like to continue in sin because the momentary pleasure is more appealing than obedience. But thankfully, the Father knows our weaknesses, our innate carnality, and the state of our spiritual growth, and He therefore measures His response. Motivated by love and a desire to gently restore His children to righteousness, God refrains from instantly doling out punishment. Instead, He waits for the Holy Spirit’s prodding to impact the believer’s heart. The weight of conviction is actually an invitation to turn from wrongdoing and return to godliness.
However, we’re a stubborn people. There are times when we persist in sin because the sentence against an evil deed isn’t executed quickly (Eccl. 8:11). In this dangerous situation, it’s possible to immerse ourselves in sin and harden our heart against the Lord. Then the Holy Spirit’s call to repentance falls on spiritual ears rapidly going deaf.
As we learn and understand more about God and His ways, we are increasingly responsible to live righteously. Our heavenly Father is not slow; He’s patient. But don’t abuse that patience with callous disregard for His statutes. Repent and be holy in the sight of the Lord.
When you experience pain or suffering, what’s your first reaction? Is it something like, “Why me Lord?” or is it more like, “Thank you Father for this experience allowing me to draw closer to you.” If you’re like most people the first reaction is probably the one you have.
We all will have our trials and troubles because we live in a fallen world. As Paul says in Romans, “The wages of sin is death.” So when we have a problem we won’t necessarily experience death but we should be reminded that something we said or did might be the cause of our situation. Sometimes it is God working in us.
Let Christ sanctify you when you have pain and trouble instead of hanging on to disappointment, anger, and bitterness. The key to contentment in every situation is a willingness to look below the surface of your pain and see both the good that Christ is working in you and the glory that is guaranteed to follow.