I am grateful for more Spring-like weather! Time to rake the gravel out of the grass from plowing the driveway last Winter!
The fourth statement on Christy Mitropoulous’ artwork is:
I AM – A slave to righteousness. Romans 6:18
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. 22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 16:15-23
Me: Good evening Jesus!
Jesus: Good evening Jon!
Me: My wife reminded me of Jim Richards’ definition of righteousness, as living the way things ought to be (I’m paraphrasing).
Jesus: When you were living the way you thought things ought to be, you were not righteous. Finding out My definition of the way things ought to be and living according to that in the power of the Spirit is the way to be free from enslavement to sin.
Me: I have had large swaths of my life when I agreed your way was right, but still did not or could not follow it.
Jesus: Yes, mere agreement will not suffice to transform your life. What was the word Paul used as an indicator?
Jesus: The proof is in the outcome. Obey* is a verb. Agreement is a position. Change requires action. Obedience in your own strength is works, and as you know from experience, you will ultimately fail. Obedience operating in My strength, in the grace I have extended to you, is key; I will never fail you.
The other day, in a meeting with friends, you observed that the trajectory of your life had gone from a steady downward spiral to one that was consistently upward. There are many ways to describe the divide Paul is speaking of in this passage. It all comes down to this: will you walk with Me, or not? Many think this means asking Me to walk with them. That is not the way to freedom either.
Me: Thank You Jesus! I love You!
Jesus: You’re welcome! I love you!
* Corrected “Obedience” to “Obey”, thanks to a helpful comment.