Romans 6:12-23 (ESV)
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Slaves to Righteousness
15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves,[a] you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“So what advantage did you then get from the things of which
you now are ashamed?” Paul hits the nail on the head. Those
words or actions that seem like such a good idea at the time lose
their appeal after the moment of temptation has passed.
I’ve witnessed this recently as a chaplain intern. I’m still just
me, but now I have a clipboard, a black lab coat, and a badge.
Making rounds and responding to pages, I am in the midst of
trained medical professionals. They are busy with procedures
and jargon beyond my understanding. I have no medical
expertise or skills. But when the patient’s room gets empty and
quiet, my role becomes clear. People have hurting consciences
and need to voice their shame. Then I get to tell them they are
still God’s beloved children.
I don’t need a badge, clipboard, or lab coat with insignia to tell
people they are loved and forgiven. Neither do you.
And when I am haunted by not saying it well enough, or strong
enough, it is my turn to hand my inadequacy over to God,
trusting that grace will once again free me from sin into
righteousness. Because transformation, for me and for others, is
Merciful God, whatever means you use to get us in the door and
into people’s lives, help us speak the words of healing and peace
they need to hear. In your Son’s name we pray, Amen.
Written by Kristen Schmid Schurter
Coordinator of Spiritual Gifts Ministries