“As sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
It is amazing how dependent I have become on this little phone in my pocket. No longer is it simply a phone. In addition to serving as my communications portal to the world, my cell phone now serves as my full time navigator. Once upon a time, I would get directions before leaving for my destination. Now, I simply plug in the address to my phone, often times after I have pulled out of the driveway.
“Siri”, my personal navigator, is so thoughtful, that she will often alert me to changes in road names, even if I am not making any change in direction. For example, every time I drive into Birmingham, Siri will tell me to continue on I-20 westbound when I-20 merges into the I-59 traffic. My phone is letting me know the road name has changed, even though I am traveling in the same direction, on the same road, to the same destination.
This weekend, we return to a journey through Romans which we paused last November, picking back up in Romans chapter 6. Yet here we come to a transition in Paul’s Epistle. In chapters 1-5 of Romans, Paul’s primary teaching dealt with justification by faith…the reality that by an act of grace alone, Jesus has forgiven our sins through His death on the cross, and has given us His righteousness, earned by Him through His perfect life, and given to us by faith alone.
Now, beginning in Romans 6, Paul is focused on our sanctification… the call for Christians to live into their justification by daily dying to self and living to Christ, also by grace, but a work of grace which we participate in. With that transition, we may have a tendency to think we have just turned onto a new road, traveling in a new direction.
Yes, there is a different emphasis, but the same truth: the Christian life is a life of UNION IN CHRIST. We soon find out that we are traveling in the same direction, to the same destination. Maybe there is a new theological term to identify the road, but Romans 6:1-14 reminds us that we are to continue along the same path, in the same direction. There are no drastic right or left turns here…simply a reminder that as we walk in newness of life, we do so under the reign of grace.
Brothers and sisters, I eagerly look forward to our continuing journey in Romans. I pray that as we journey, we will learn more and more what it means to walk in the Christian life. I pray we will learn more and more what it means to distinguish between the voice of God and that of the evil one. I pray we will learn more and more what it means to grow in Christ, as we enjoy our new status in Him. I pray that as we continue in Romans, we will continue on in the gospel, trusting in God’s Word to His children: “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:14)