Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey— whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. 19 I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
There was a phrase that stood out to me as I read our passage, it’s “set free.”
Another word for “set free” is “emancipate”. It comes from the Latin word “emancipare,” which means to declare someone free, to give up ones authority over someone, to liberate a slave from bondage. I can’t think of a better word to help us capture what Paul wanted to get across: Christ has set us free.
Freedom is always freedom from something. What is that something? We are free from the enslavement of sin; however, we are not free from doing God’s will. Our freedom has been purchased; we now belong to Christ. The reality of our situation is this: We are either going to be a slave to sin or to God; there is no third option.
Because Christ shed His blood to set us free from sin’s dominion, we now can yield ourselves wholeheartedly in obedience to Christ. We are now free to give thanks to God who is leading us through Christ. No matter where we find ourselves in the service of Christ, we can rest assured there is always victory. So much so that we become the fragrance of Christ. No matter where we go, people should know Jesus better; the beauty of Christ’s character becomes more apparent, as people notice the subtle difference of the believer’s life. As I think of this, I can’t help but think about some folks from our own church that have recently been hospitalized. Although they have gone through hard and difficult times, they have been the aroma of Christ.
Because we’ve been emancipated from sin and are now able to stand in right relationship with God, we are now to live in the obedience which God desires. I like how Paul put it when he said “Christ has set us free for freedom. Therefore, stand firm and don’t submit to the bondage of slavery again (Gal 5:1 CEB).”
In gratitude to Christ Jesus, will you stand fast in the liberty with which Christ has made you free? What does that look like for you personally? Is there anything that needs to change?
Remember: We have been set free from the bondage of sin, but we often put the chains back on because part of us loves the old life. What is one thing you can do today to help you live in line with the freedom found in Christ?
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest.