“Wrestling With Romans”
Under New Ownership (Chapter 6 Verses 15-23)
God set us free (v18), emancipating us from the sin which invaded and spoiled God’s creation, which ruled us and tyrannised us, the sin which stole us from our Creator God (Romans 5.12) and enslaved us. Of course we never really belonged to sin, it was never our rightful master, for we were created to worship God, to glorify, to glory in, and to enjoy him forever. A thief came in, sin, which usurped authority over our entire beings, made us its slaves, it cracked the whip, oppressed us and bullied us, making demands of us and causing us to be and to do what was never intended of us. Well, says Paul, a new Master has now purchased us, yes we are still slaves, but not to sin any longer, but to righteousness, through God. We have been set free to obey our Creator and Redeemer. Can you imagine such a slave market? You are up for sale and the bidding begins and this Person outbids all the others, and when you are handed over to him, fearfully wondering what kind of Master he will be, and he says to you, “You’re free.” You are speechless, you cannot believe it, you did not deserve it, you did not pay for it, you could not, you did not have the price, you did not work for it, it was purely and simply the Master’s grace, nothing else (Ephesians 2.5-8), his unmerited favour, utter kindness towards you, even you (v15). Now, well, we would not dream of going back to that old wicked, evil, oppressive master we were under before. This new Master is kind (Ephesians 4.32), he is gentle (Matthew 11.29), he is easy to live with (Matthew 11.30), and we are staying with him come what may.
It is so important especially when we are battling against temptation, sin and Satan, to remind ourselves of this goodness, this benevolence of God towards us. Satan would tell us he is harsh, extreme and over-demanding, but we know that is not true. Remember he, Satan, is the father of lies (John 8.44), it is Satan and sin that are the hard taskmasters. To be in God’s service is inexpressible pleasure. He is loving, just and true. No, he will not condone sin, and rightly so, but through the blood of his Son shed on Calvary’s cross he is able to act toward us exactly as if we had never sinned, his mercy has and always will triumph over justice. So let us open our hearts before him today, and ask the Holy Spirit to free us from our hard notions about God, those false ideas of him which poison our hearts and destroy our inward freedom, and to set us free from all our obedience without joy,
I’d rather be led by his nail-pierced hand;
Than be held in sin’s dread sway.
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)