15 What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Absolutely not! 16 Do you not know that if you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of that one you obey—either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were entrusted to, 18 and having been liberated from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness.
(Romans 6:15-18, HCSB)
I was in a restaurant in Colorado eating dinner on a mission trip. This restaurant was one of those joints where it was encouraged to write on the wall to inscribe your name or your wisest thought. Among the walls of inscriptions, my eyes caught a glimpse of a poem that someone had penned: “Sex is evil, sex is sin, God forgives, so let’s begin.”
While I wanted to correct the person’s theology concerning sex and it’s sacred nature versus it’s sinful nature, I didn’t know where to locate this misguided soul. Instead, I focused on how tragic it is that our culture thinks that sin is cute and playful. While I imagined the person writing this message as a godless pagan, my experience leads me to believe that this person could have been a person who confesses to know God.
Many people think that sin is trivial. If they do understand sin’s seriousness, some people focus on the lavish grace of God and believe that he will be merciful no matter how bad the sinner.
While my theology agrees with the fact that there is no sinner out of the reach of a gracious God, my anthropology tells me that a person who takes sin so lightly can’t take God that seriously. Paul’s warning was to urge believers not to continue in sin because God’s grace was so evident.
As new creatures, we can’t serve our old master anymore. We can’t be ruled under the dictatorship of sin any longer. We have a new ruler in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin but righteousness. As people governed by righteousness, we must see ourselves as no longer pushed around by our sinful desires. Don’t flirt with sin. Don’t see your sin as something less serious that another’s sins. Today, realize who your new master is and follow righteousness.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
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