This week I am going to address a couple of things on a theological level. That is because it is important for us to understand what is true of us because we are saved. Something glorious happened to us – on the level of our will – when we came to know Jesus Christ. Something marvelous happened when we came to life spiritually. When we did, by the grace of God, there was a freedom given to us on the level of our wills. Let’s talk about this today.
Before God saved us we were bound in our sin. Ephesians 2 tell us that we were dead in our trespasses and sins – we were being driven and controlled by the spirit that is active in the sons of disobedience. The fact is that we did not have a will free to make whatever choices we wanted. We were bound in sin and our choices would be consistent with the world system, our own flesh, and the devil. Until God’s grace came to us by God’s wonderful mercies, we could not choose God’s way.
Then came the wonderful day when God drew us to Himself – and we were saved. On that wonderful day we were not only forgiven of sin – given the righteousness of Christ as a gift – born from above with God’s very life now within us - but one other glorious thing happened as well. We were set free from sin’s bondage and could begin to make choices to do God’s will. What a glorious day it was when we were set free to choose the things of God!
We can now choose to do the will of God. That was not true of us before – because of our bondage to sin. But now we are free to follow the Lord. Read this wonderful statement in Romans 6:12-14 about this truth. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Look at what Paul says here in Romans 6. First, we need to see what he says lastly in these verses. He says that sin is no longer your master because you are now under grace. Two things to remember here. The first is that at one time sin was your master. You couldn’t do these things Paul was commanding you because you were not free. You had a master – and your master was sin. BUT . . . now you have been set free to make choices to tell sin to get lost. You can tell sin that it will not be reigning in your body – and using the members of your body as instruments of unrighteousness. This is astounding news!
The second thing to note in this Roman’s passage is the number of times Paul is giving “strong commands” for the believer to make “strong choices.” He is saying for them to make some strong stands as they make strong choices.
“Stop letting sin reign in your body!”
“Stop obeying the strong desires of sin!”
“Stop presenting your members to sin!”
“Stop being an instrument of unrighteousness!”
“Start giving yourself to God as one alive from the dead!”
“Start giving your members to God!”
“Start being an instrument of righteousness!”
Seven strong commands are given – and Paul (and God who is inspiring Him to write this) is expecting believers to obey them. This means that we CAN obey them now. That is implicit in the commands themselves.
But what I truly want you to get here is how powerful Paul’s statements are! He is not saying things like, “If you feel like it today – you might want to give it your best shot – you know to maybe give yourself to God.” He is almost like a spiritual drill sergeant snapping out these commands. Stop doing this! Start doing this! Give yourself to God – give your members to God – be in instrument of righteousness! If anything, this passage alone should show us that God desires for us to STRONGLY CHOOSE these things. This is not an exercise for the weak willed or the weak minded. We are to make very bold choices – not based on our own strength – but based on the facts of what has happened to us because of God’s grace in the gospel.
Next week I’ll say more on these commands in Romans 6, but for now I want to admonish you based on what we’ve seen today. Where are you today? If you are not willing to make strong choices for God’s will – you are going to be in trouble. The trouble you will face is from you not being willing to “put your foot down” when it comes to sin – self – Satan – and this present world system. If you are unwilling to say, “NO – NOT TODAY! I AM NOT GOING TO GIVE MY BODY TO SIN! I AM NOT GOING TO CHOOSE TO DISOBEY GOD! I GIVE MYSELF TO HIM! I AM GOING TO PLEASE HIM AND BE AN INSTRUMENT OF WHAT IS RIGHT – NOT OF WHAT IS WRONG! GOD, BY YOUR GRACE I WILL STAND UP – I WILL TAKE UP YOUR CROSS AND FOLLOW YOU! If you are unwilling to use your will to will the will of God – you will flounder, falter, and unfortunately fall. You truly have a choice! But, God will not make it for you! He has freed you to be able to make it! He has empowered you to be able to make it! He has and will give you spiritual wisdom and knowledge to know what to do! But, in the end, He calls you to obey – to choose – and if there is going to be victory and the experience of overcoming sin – YOU MUST CHOOSE! Choose precious saints of God! Choose His will – choose His way – and choose to rely on Him totally to empower you as you make it. Truly, there is no other way.