Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Jul 20 2013 - Romans 6:1-23 – Whom will you serve?

We live in an age of overlapping kingdoms. Sin claims dominion over the lives of many, promising so much but paying out wages of destruction and death. Jesus came to set us free from sin’s dominion. He entered into personal combat with the powers of sin and death and seemed to be destroyed by them; but by his resurrection from the dead he has broken their powers and has gained freedom for those previously held captive by them. He reigns over a kingdom of life and righteousness.

Paul reminds the Christians at Rome that their baptism signified that they had died with Christ to their old life under the dominion of sin and have been raised with Christ to live a new life under his gracious reign. This has comprehensive implications for daily living.

For the last two years of his life my Dad was living with us. After he had gone to be with the Lord we continued to receive occasional mail for him – some of it from companies trying to sell him stuff. I had to write on the envelope, “Deceased. Return to sender”, and put it back in the post. They would get no further business from my Dad because he is no longer here. He is dead.

In the same way, when temptation comes calling with the offer of self-gratifying sins, we need to ‘return to sender,’ unopened and without contemplation of its content. We have died to sin. The person it has come seeking does not live here anymore.

That’s what Paul is saying in these verses, but it’s not always quite that easy. As I mentioned, we live in an age of overlapping kingdoms and that ‘already but not yet’ cuts right through our own hearts and lives. We are dead to sin in that the cross has delivered the death certificate on our old life, but there is still some life in the old dog yet. We have not yet been fully freed from sin’s attraction and snare. We are not yet all that we shall be.

How will it be on that day? What will then keep us back from sin in the world to come? We shall then see Christ in all his glory and we shall share communion with God in all its fullness. We shall be so fully satisfied in that day that we shall want nothing else, not could we dream of wanting what we have then left utterly behind. So we need to cultivate this view now so that we may be fully satisfied with Christ and keep ourselves from anything that would grieve his Spirit who has made his home with us.

We need to remember who we really are. We have been freed from the cruel dominion of sin and brought under the gracious reign of King Jesus. We need constantly to remind ourselves whose we are and whom we serve; we are not our own, we have been bought with a price. How are we going to respond to the many situations we meet today? Let’s make sure that we do not give in to the illegitimate claims of sin but rather send them packing. In all we think or say or do, let us gladly live as servants of Jesus Christ. He has given us the desire to please him; he will also provide us with the power to serve him.

Lord Jesus, you rejected the temptations of the evil one and lived in continual obedience to the will of the Father; it was your daily food and drink. Help me by your Spirit to follow and serve you this day. Help me to die to sin and live to righteousness.

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Peter Misselbrook