The freedom we have to avoid living under the oppression of our own sinful ways is sometimes lost on us. We live trying to avoid doing things that we know we have natural tendencies toward, things like hatred, impatience, lust, pride, etc. It's not just these specific things but anything that is unlike Christ and opposite of the Word of God.
It is not uncommon for us to struggle, over and over, trying to overcome a sinful manner of living when the truth is that we really need to submit. We need to submit to the grace and mercy that Jesus showed by dying for us. Our physical efforts are futile against something that is spiritually based. That core attraction we have toward sin is part of who we are. That explains the need for death. The death of our personal will, emotions and thoughts allows us to accept the new life given to us by Christ, Jesus. We trade in our ways, which would eventually lead us to a permanent death, for God's ways which provide new life. It is a good life with abundances of peace and joy.
The life that we gain through His death is the one that we search for in relationships with so many other people but they can't fill that gaping wound. No human can fulfill what sin takes away from us. Acts or thoughts of sin, put a barrier up between us and God. However, God saw fit to allow that barrier to be removed (just like the tearing of the ancient temple curtains, from the top down, the day of Jesus' crucification) when God gave of himself through the death of His son. Once that barrier was removed, Jesus brought new life to all of those who believe in him through the resurrection. He is now the gateway for our new life. To receive this new life that can overcome our sinful nature, we must accept that Jesus is the only way to reach God, the only one to have died on behalf of all mankind.
Now there is freedom to walk away from sin. We can call upon the power of the Holy Spirit to empower us by the authority of Jesus.
Do you desire that power? Do you want to be freed from the grips of repeated sin? Do you know how that's done?
We will be overjoyed to assist you in knowing that there is an answer.
Another post from the Connect the Testaments Devotional.
December 16: Freedom
We like to think of ourselves as autonomous. Our modern culture champions freedom and the right to pursue happiness. But if we apply the concept of rights when we think about faith, following Christ can feel like religion, dogma, rules—a type of bondage that requires us to think and behave in ways that make our autonomous selves bridle.
Paul looks at the issue differently: “Do you not know that to whomever you present yourselves as slaves for obedience, you are slaves to whomever you obey, whether sin, leading to death, or obedience, leading to righteousness?” (Rom 6:16). He uses another analogy in his letter to the church in Rome—one that draws on the practice of the slavery within his own culture—to highlight the opposite view. If we live without God, he says, we have a debt that binds us. We are a slave to sin, and it’s the type of bondage that leads to death.
Yet, there is hope. Although we were slaves to sin, we can be redeemed from that slavery. Christ has paid the debt we incurred. He has set us free and brought us into a new bondage—not one that binds to death, but one that binds us to Him in life. If we believe this is true and put our trust in Him, we are no longer slaves.
As redeemed people, we’re called to a new life. While we once charted our own independent path—one that led to death—we can turn and follow a path that leads to sanctification and eternal life, a path that God charts just for us. While our path required a toll—death—Christ has paid that toll so we can walk in new life: “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23).
How have your old habits and patterns of behavior changed now that you’ve been set free? What still needs to change to reflect your new loyalty to Christ?
Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.