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.
“1 Do you not know, brothers— for I am speaking to men who know the law— that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? 2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. 3 So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man. 4 So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. 5 For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.”
Look at what is being compared and contrasted in verses 5 and 6:
- Bound us/Released
- Sinful nature, Fruit for death/Released from the law
- Law/Not the old way of the written code
- Sinful passion/Way of the Spirit
Paul summarized his point by making a comparison to the old way of life and the new way found in Christ. The interesting thing is that history proved Paul right: Humanity has gone wrong. Although made in the image of God, we inherit the natural tendency for wickedness determined by the fateful choice of Adam. We are fallen creatures in desperate need for salvation. The problem is when people are placed under law, people instinctively find themselves at odds with the lawgiver and act accordingly.
But the Good News Paul wanted us to understand was that by dying to that which was once in control, we now are released from the law and are free to serve in a new way. Formerly, we were in bondage to written regulations. The law was our old master. But now we are set free to serve our new Master in a new way, through the Spirit.
Through Christ’s death, we can now serve in the Spirit as we live the resurrected life. We can humbly claim our rightful place in Christ. Dead to sin and free to live for righteousness—that’s the current state of the believer—we now live lives that bear fruit for God.
We’ve talked a lot about being “dead to sin,” but you and I know we live in the “already – not yet” time as we wait for Christ’s return. Yes, we are dead to sin, but we still live in these broken bodies. Do you find yourself struggling with sin? Could part of the struggle be that you’ve not embraced the reality that as a believer in Christ you truly are dead to sin and free to live for righteousness? If this is the case, what would you need to do to narrow the gap between your current state and where you truly are with 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.