“Don’t enslave yourself to the sin that you have already been set free from.” – Christina A. @ our Journey group
Our summer group has decided to discuss topics that each of us struggle/deal with on a regular basis. This week our topic was “hypocrisy.” I’m not sure who does not struggle with this (except Jesus), so it was a great topic to kick off our group’s discussion.
During the week prior to our meeting, I was trying to think and find a few things in the Bible I could bring to the table and I ran back across this verse:
“15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” – Romans 7:15 (NLT)
Paul, undoubtedly a huge influence in the New Testament, was a screw up just like me. That makes me smile.
As I was reading this morning, I found that Paul had a few more words that preceded this comment in Romans 6:
Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. 6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. 8 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. 9 We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. 10 When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. 11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.
12 Do not let sin control the way you live;[a] do not give in to sinful desires. 13 Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. 14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.
I think sometimes we get hung up on a few verses here and there we pick from scripture. Personally, when I read about the woman who was told to “go and sin no more” in John 8:11, I think, “is it really possible for a person to go from a certain day forward and ‘sin no more’ without any hiccups?” I mean she did just receive a pardon from a death sentence from Jesus, so maybe that makes her super-woman, but she had a rough past, is that not going to catch up to her? Then we read Romans 6 and it reminds us that Jesus died to set us free, he broke the power of sin. But then again in Romans 7, Paul is not doing what he knows is right all the time.
Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes I feel this exact flow of scriptures. Things are going well and I’m like “yeah, sin no more, Jesus set me free [insert sing-a-long],” then it’s like, “[bam] what did I just do?”
As we were discussing in our small group, I think sometimes it’s a matter of slowing down. It’s a matter of staying in the Scriptures. It’s a matter of praying and listening. It’s a matter of remembering that sin does not have power of us. It’s a matter of cutting out the distractions and actually giving our lives over to our Savior.
Other Scripture References regarding this topic from Christina (Thanks!):
Galatians 5:1, 2 Corin. 3:17, 1 Corin 7:23, 2 Peter 2:20