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Christ’s grace can free you from slavery to sin

February 21, 2024
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Daily Scripture

Romans 6:1-14

1 So what are we going to say? Should we continue sinning so grace will multiply? 2 Absolutely not! All of us died to sin. How can we still live in it? 3 Or don’t you know that all who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore, we were buried together with him through baptism into his death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too can walk in newness of life. 5 If we were united together in a death like his, we will also be united together in a resurrection like his. 6 This is what we know: the person that we used to be was crucified with him in order to get rid of the corpse that had been controlled by sin. That way we wouldn’t be slaves to sin anymore, 7 because a person who has died has been freed from sin’s power. 8 But if we died with Christ, we have faith that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ has been raised from the dead and he will never die again. Death no longer has power over him. 10 He died to sin once and for all with his death, but he lives for God with his life. 11 In the same way, you also should consider yourselves dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus.
12 So then, don’t let sin rule your body, so that you do what it wants. 13 Don’t offer parts of your body to sin, to be used as weapons to do wrong. Instead, present yourselves to God as people who have been brought back to life from the dead, and offer all the parts of your body to God to be used as weapons to do right. 14 Sin will have no power over you, because you aren’t under Law but under grace.

A Lenten Wednesday extra: for an extra boost of praise and joy, click here for the COR Worship Collective song “Before and Behind,” just released last week.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

NOTE: The GPS usually offers 5-10 verses of Scripture. If you’d like to dig deeper than that, Pastor Hamilton says, “Join me during Lent, as we focus on Paul’s messages, to read the 13 letters attributed to Paul in the New Testament–the earliest documents of our New Testament.” Click here to download our reading plan that will allow you to read all of Paul’s letters between now and Easter.

The United States made slavery illegal in 1865. * Most of us don’t think a lot about it these days. In a Roman Empire in which legal slavery was very much a reality, though, the apostle Paul wrote about a different kind of slavery that continues to exist beyond the reach of any legislative body. In today’s passage, he said, “We wouldn’t be slaves to sin anymore.” He said Jesus’ grace could free you from that slavery if you chose to let it: “Don’t let sin rule your body, so that you do what it wants.”

  • Rome had no interest in freeing slaves, and the United States’ legislators couldn’t free people from the kind of slavery that concerned Paul. But God could: “In sharing Christ’s death Christians have died to the old order. They no longer live in sin (6:2), but are ‘slaves’ of righteousness, who have become obedient to God (6:15–18).” ** In what ways has Jesus’ grace brought you greater freedom from hurtful ways of living? Are there ways you still want to claim that freedom?
  • Living in Jesus’ grace doesn’t mean just being at church when it’s handy. “Paul envisages the various parts of the human body as implements to be used in the service of this master or that. Our limbs and organs, and for that matter our mind, memory, imagination, emotions and will, are to be put at the disposal not of sin, but of God. We are to think and act as people… who have died and been raised to new life.” *** How easy or hard is it for you to choose to let God guide your life?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank you for giving me the possibility, the promise and the choice of a better way to live. I choose you as my master. Amen.

GPS Insights

Leah Swank-Miller

Leah Swank-Miller

Leah Swank-Miller serves as Director of Student Ministries at Resurrection Overland Park. A Kansas native, she has been a professional actress for nearly two decades, and she loves to see the vastness of God’s creation through theatre and the arts. Leah is pursuing an M.Div. from Saint Paul School of Theology. Leah, Brian, and their two children love to play tennis, golf, soccer, and board games. Leah first shared this post about the power of baptism in 2021.

A friend recently reminded me of the simple joy and discovery found in assisting someone’s very first understanding of salvation. This discovery occurred during a baptism in a very unlikely way from what some would deem an unlikely person. But that’s the beauty of discovery, it’s unpredictable and unbiased. Whether it be a small child or a grown adult, understanding for the first time what it means to claim faith in Jesus for themselves is a transformative experience.

I remember my own baptism. I was 12 years old at the local YMCA when I confessed through baptism that I wanted to live for Jesus. I remember the cold water rushing over me as my pastor prayed and plunged me under the water. And the rush I felt as I emerged from the chlorine-scented pool and heard my church congregation applauding and cheering. It was a beautifully exhilarating feeling. And while I was still the same Leah on the outside as I was before plunging into the water, I felt different on the inside. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but it felt like home. A feeling of wholeness emerged within me.

When I read Paul’s words about baptism, the significance of it and how we are called to be better than we were before, I am reminded of that feeling that was born in me the moment I came out of those waters. I still looked the same, but I felt different. And in my life, sometimes I still act the same as before, but I know different. I know when I am responding and making choices from a broken place, when I stop trusting in the goodness of God. I respond to myself and others from a place of sin or fear. In those moments I’m forgetting the newness and wholeness that was born in me when I discovered the unconditional love of Jesus for the first time. Should I continue to respond from those broken places when I know I have been made whole? To quote Paul, “May it never be so.”

If you’ve never experienced baptism and would like more information I encourage you to check out Baptisms – Resurrection Church. Whether you’re young, old or in the middle, it’s never too late.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1865, reads, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
** Sanders, E. P., Paul: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions Book 42) (p. 79). OUP Oxford. Kindle Edition.
*** Wright, N. T., Paul for Everyone: Romans, Part One: Chapters 1-8 (The New Testament for Everyone) (p. 109). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.