Wake up! You're a slave to who you obey.

Are there times in life when you find yourself basically on auto-pilot? You will do things without thinking?  Sometimes its because we were trained but also because we will do things without thinking.  Somethings we know we shouldn’t do but somehow, we end up doing them.  It can be as mundane as picking up McDonald’s when hungry to more serious things like drinking too much alcohol.  When these things happen, we’re apt to joke about being a slave to these things.  It bears out – you’re a slave to what you obey.  A slave does things at the bidding of the master.

The Apostle Paul explored this issue in the lives of 1st century believers in Jesus.  Yet another reminder that there is nothing new under the sun – sometimes, everyone struggles with making good choices.  In his letter to Christians in Rome (chapter 6) he lays out the teaching that they are free from slavery to sin.  The Christian is free from the law and under grace; therefore, stop giving into sin and choose to follow Jesus.

In chapter 6 and verses 15 thru 20, Paul lays out that Christians were once slaves to sin but now are slaves to righteousness; therefore, they are to glorify God with their bodies (literal life choices).  He repeated uses the word dead to drive the point home that sin and it’s allure isn’t in control anymore.  The Christian is dead (non-responsive) to sin but alive (and responsive) to God.

A REALITY CHECK: Being freed from slavery to sin does this mean we’re free from the marks, scars or habits that used to dominate their lives?  No – they (Christians) will more than likely wrestle against the shame and even allure of sin that we were used to be a integral part of their lives.  So, taking charge and understanding what has happened as a result of placing their faith in the work of Jesus become critical.

The Spirit of God chose to use the word slave (dulos) to describe the relationship between sin and mankind as well as between Him and mankind.  The slave is about complete devotion – not options.  A slave doesn’t choose what time to go to bed or get up.  A slave doesn’t choose what work they will do or not do.  A slave doesn’t freely go where they want.  A slave doesn’t have rights to their own body.  Does this sound serious?  Does this rub the American reader the wrong way?  In America we’re all about our freedom and ability to do what we like and like what we do. 

When it comes to being told we (American Christians especially) we were slaves to sin; we think it’s optional.  This is where the biblical description of sin as being both powerful and deceptive bears out.  We think we’re making all the choices without any outside influence.  In our libertarian spirit we can make choices that are utterly devoid of God’s counsel and wisdom and lead us down roads to destruction.

Consider God’s counsel concerning our relationship with Him, mankind and mankind’s relationship with sin.

1 Cor 6: 20:  We are bought with a price: therefore, glorify God with your body.  The price is the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross.  In 1st Corinthians – chapters 5-6 sexual behavior is a major topic.  Choosing to hook up with a prostitute in chapter 6 prompts Paul to remind Christians that this isn’t what they’re supposed to be doing with their lives and bodies.  Borrowing the slave metaphor Paul reminds Christians they are purchase at great cost – the blood of Jesus. 

In Romans 6, again, Paul’s use of the word present teaches the Christian to be responsible with their choices.  Consider in verses 19-23  “present” means to set into hand and give over.

For the Christian…

The Past:  You presented yourselves as slaves to sin the outcome was more sin and destruction.

The Present:  You present yourselves as slave to righteousness/God the outcome is sanctification/life.

You’re a slave to who you obey.

In 1 Corinthians 6: 12 Paul teaches Christians the better part of wisdom says pay attention.

·       I have freedom in Christ // I can do all things.

·       All things are not (profitable) good for me (my family, friends, job, community)

·       Therefore, I won’t be taken hostage (mastered) by my choices (bad).

In 1 Cor 10: 13 Paul teaches the better part of wisdom says get out!

·       No temptation to sin is unique to you.

·       God is faithful, He will provide a way out.  You must take it.

·       Therefore, you can survive.

You’re a slave to who you obey.

As Christians, we often say we love Jesus and lead lives that are diametrically opposed to His teaching and/or that of Scripture by in large.  This dichotomy has led many to avoid giving their whole lives to Jesus and jettisoning their faith all together.  Some will teach the supreme value in Christianity is love.  While love is of great value it doesn’t stand alone.  Jesus say’s follow me; but He also says, “If you obey me – it tells me you love me.”  John 14:21 “He who has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me…”

Question for the Christian today: “Will you obey Christ even if you don’t get the outcome you want?”

·       Obey parents and still don’t get to stay out late or watch TV.

·       Forgive friend but they continue to back stab you.

·       Honor your marriage and they still walk out.

·       Do your job and don’t get the raise.

Being a slave of righteousness or a “person of integrity” is more than being good.

-        Integrity means you have it together.  You make wise choices and factor in God and others FIRST.

You might say, “I’m not a slave to sin.  Nothing has a hold on me like that!”

The WBW Challenge:  Week by week challenge.  For 1 week, then 2 – 3 – 4…

·       Can you live without _____________________ for a week?

·       Honestly review, how long can you go without the above and what are the effects on your life?

·       You might be surprised by the things that are controlling your life and you’re a slave to.

Sin will…
            Will take you further than you want to go.
            Keep you longer than you want to stay.
            And cost you more than you want to pay.

Choose to be a slave of God and have a transformational life resulting in relationships that flourish with God, your friends, your family and even your community.

You’re a slave to who you obey.

Vince Armfield