Ok, so there was a lot of talk of sin in today’s reading. Before I give my thoughts on the reading, maybe we should define the term.
What is sin? Sin is a word we don’t hear much in our culture today, much less in our churches. I think part of the reason is that we don’t want to make people feel bad, and we don’t want those steeped in our culture to think we’re narrow-minded and judgmental. (Oh my goodness, there’s a whole ‘nother talk right there…that of being judgmental. Maybe we’ll broach that subject another time.)
Well my friend, sin is a subject that God is not afraid to talk about, and it’s something important enough that He sent His son to Earth to die so that the result of sin would not keep you and me from having an eternity in His presence.
What is it?
Sin is falling short of God’s perfection. It is failing to be holy and clean and righteous.
With perfection as a standard, now we can see how hopeless our plight is to earn the eternal life that we so desire. How in the world can anyone ever make it??? Exactly. Without Jesus, we are sunk. And the realization of that fact is the beginning of salvation. Let’s turn now to some comment on today’s reading.
Paul is now addressing believers.
Romans 6:6 says “We know that our old life, our old sinful self, was nailed to the cross with Christ. And so the power of sin that held us was destroyed. Sin is no longer our boss.”
You see, before we joined ourselves with Jesus, before we gave ourselves to Him and asked Him to save us, we had no choice but to sin. Other translations use the words “…we should no longer be slaves to sin…” A slave has no choice but to obey his or her master. Before, we had to sin. But now, our relationship to sin is no longer that of master/slave.
Then verse 12 says, “So do not let sin have power over your body here on earth. You must not obey the body and let it do what it wants to do.”
Notice the language here. “…do not let sin have power over your body…”. If I let something happen, that means that I have a choice.
How is this possible? Because we are no longer under the judgement of the law, but under the free (to us) gift of grace. Grace costs us nothing, but it cost Jesus His life.
What is grace? We defined sin, so we should define grace. In a nutshell, grace is not getting the judgement that I deserve and getting forgiveness that I cannot earn. Long articles have been written about grace, but in the interest of the format of this podcast, this abbreviated definition will do.
So moving on to verse 13, “Do not give any part of your body for sinful use. Instead, give yourself to God as a living person who has been raised from the dead. Give every part of your body to God to do what is right.” So Paul is saying here that we should make the choice, we should decide to voluntarily give all of ourselves to God to do as He wants us to do.
What are we to do then with Paul’s confession in chapter 7, verses 14-24, when he talks about doing what he does not want to do and does not do what he wants to do? He even says, “I am a slave to sin.” Is he contradicting himself?
He is talking about the conflict a believer has within himself when he sins. A person who has no relationship with God has no such conflict. But because the believer’s heart has been changed, he struggles against the not-yet-perfect flesh, or as some people call it, the “sin nature”. Although we are called to be perfect, we still live in these imperfect bodies. So that’s the bad news. We are still imperfect. The good news? As Paul says in the final verse of chapter 7, “God’s Law has power over my mind, but sin still has power over my sinful old self. I thank God I can be free through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
The struggle is proof that God is working in us. Pity the person who does not experience that conflict.