God frees us – twice

Are we ever really free? Yes. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection we’re freed twice over. His death frees us from our life of slavery to sin, and his resurrection frees us to his life of “living to God,” Romans 6:10. We’re “dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus,” verse 11. We live in two worlds, therefore – this world and Jesus’ world – but because we’re “united with him in his resurrection,” verse 5, our “body of sin might be rendered powerless,” verse 6, meaning this world need have no power over us, whatsoever.

So we’re totally free – right now – to live the life Jesus lives. The gates to that life, that sin had constantly closed to us before, are now wide open. So what does that make us think? The doors are open, we can enter straight in, with no guards barring our way or asking for identification. Well Paul’s reaction was, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires,” or be “instruments of wickedness” anymore, verses 12-13. To let sin get a look-in is like rushing back through the gates into the old world again.

But we’ve already experienced that world. We know what it’s like. It constantly flooded our brains with stupid thoughts and evil desires. And how often did we become instruments of wickedness, making other people’s lives miserable by our stupid actions and thoughtless comments? We know that world all too well. It’s horrible. So dump it, Paul says, and try the new world instead, where it’s possible to be an “instrument of righteousness,” verse 13.

But how is it possible?

It’s been made possible by Jesus uniting us with him in his resurrection. He’s actually got us “living with him,” verse 8, meaning we’re in his presence all the time, where he can influence us directly, just like sin used to influence us directly before. We are literally under his control now, as much as sin used to control us before.

But what a different master we’ve got in Jesus, because under his influence he creates a lovely new heart in us, that “comes alive to God,” verse 11, to all the wonders of the mind, heart, love, grace and mercy that God is. This is what he so desperately wants us to see, because he’s seen and felt what God is like throughout eternity, and he loves it. So he’s a slave-driver all right, relentlessly filling our minds with what God is like, enabling us to love God as he does.

But that’s God’s gift to us “in Christ Jesus our Lord,” verse 23. And it’s ours all day every day, and forever.

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