It’s been a couple of weeks since I last updated you on the preaching of Pastor Travis Davenport at Covenant Church in Grove City. So many things have been happening in our congregation. Last week I had the privilege to pray for others during our first altar call (due to the fact that we meet in a movie theater…altar calls are quite the challenge.) Today we moved from Romans Chapter 5 into Romans Chapter 6 as we began a new series entitled No Longer Slaves.
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
No Longer Slaves
Let’s be clear right off the bat: There is a difference between RECEIVED righteousness and EARNED righteousness. Received righteousness requires nothing but our openness to receive in order for us to gain salvation or grace. Earned righteousness requires one to complete a task list or to at least balance their good and bad deeds using a process similar to weights and scales. Of all the major world religions Christianity is the only one which claims that salvation a received righteousness. We believe it is not a product of our behavior or lack of sin, but rather a product of God’s love given freely to those who receive. In the same way we know that messing up doesn’t cost us that gift. Sin does not define who we are in God because His grace is great enough to cover our screw ups.
In case you didn’t get that: You don’t have to EARN God’s love!
There is something inherent in all of us that makes that a difficult bite to swallow. We sometimes struggle with feeling like we have to be cleaned up and fixed up before we can be righteous, when in reality we became righteous the moment we accepted the grace of God. So in other words: you who believe are now free from sin and are righteous.
You have died to sin!
But the age old question which Paul addresses here at the beginning of the chapter is then if we have been made righteous already then is it okay to continue sinning? God gave us grace and if he is continually forgetting our mess ups then what’s so wrong about going back to some of our old addictions, struggles, or sins? Isn’t it okay with Him? Can’t he just forgive us afterwards?
Again, Paul answers correctly in verse 2: BY NO MEANS!
Once you accept the gift of righteousness you are free to serve a God of love instead of the sin to which you were formerly enslaved. Why would you experience the life and fullness of God only to return to the death and destruction from which he saved you? It doesn’t make sense. And this mentality that “God will just forgive me if I ______ if I ask for forgiveness later” is harmful because it is essentially taking advantage of God. And although he is a God of love and forgiveness no one wants to provoke God like that. It never ends well.
Now just because you died to sin doesn’t mean you won’t sin it just means that sin is no longer your master. You now have the power to tell sin to leave you alone. With God in your corner that power is available. But, we are all human and every day we will still struggle with sin.
We will still have desires to sin. But sin does not reign in us. We are new creations who are no longer subject to sin as a master.
So live a life of righteousness. With the help of the Holy Spirit you have the power to silence your addictions, struggles, and sins. In Jesus’ Name you have healing from a past of following the wrong master and you are forgiven to move forward in truth.
I hope that message was as empowering to you as it was to me on this beautiful Sunday.
The Ameri Brit Mom