16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. – Romans 6:16 NLT
We were all born in sin into a sinful world, We live in a fleshly tent that desires to sin. In our own strength, we will never be free from those desires. The flesh lusts after money, power, and pleasures. When we lived a sinful lifestyle, we were being obedient to the flesh and the flesh was our master. Though we didn’t realize it at the time, we were slaves to sin and we were held in bondage by satan. But Jesus died and rose again so that we might be free from that bondage. Now, we can make a choice to live a life that is obedient to Jesus Christ. We are covered with His righteousness. But our freedom does not give us license to live a sinful lifestyle. We will all still sin occasionally, but our focus should not be on sinning, but on living a Christlike lifestyle. We used to have a carnal mind and followed after carnal things, Now, we have the mind of Christ and follow after Spiritual things.
We all know that we once lived disobedient lives. We did foolish things and our minds were filled with covetous and unkind thoughts. We were envious of others and always complaining about our situations. We were convinced that others had it so much better than we did. Satan tries to get us to remember, so that we feel condemned, but God wants us to remember so that we stay humble. So, God revealed Himself to us through His Spirit, we were convicted and repented of our sins. He washed away our sins with the blood of Jesus. Not because of some wonderful, powerful act that we did, but simply because of His mercy and grace. We should ask God to fill us with the same kind of compassion that Jesus had for others and gently lead them to Christ. We must remember to remain humble because we were once in that same sinful condition.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”–John 10:17,18 (NIV) The Holy Spirit has been given to us as our guide, but He will never make us do anything against our own will. We have the power and the authority to make the same decision that Jesus made. We can decide to hold onto our earthly, physical lives if that is what we want or we can decide to put our lives on the cross that Jesus gives us to bear. We will never do this as long as our own pride and other people’s opinions of us are more important than pleasing God. There is one funeral that we all need to attend and that is the death and burial of our fleshly desires. Anything that we put above our love and obedience for God has to be removed. It is a decision that Jesus had to make and so must we. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus ended His prayer with “not My will but thine be done”. So should our prayer be as well. 44 Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last.–Luke 23:44-46 (NIV)
Are we ready to commit our whole lives, mind, soul, body, and spirit into the hands of God? The way of the cross leads home, but we have to go through the cross, the blood and the darkness to get there.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
When Jesus was arrested in the garden, all the disciples fled, However, two of them came back at some point on the journey from the Garden to the priest’s house. One of them we are sure is Simon Peter, The other follower is assumed to be John because, in the book of John, John does not normally refer to himself by name, but with a brief description such as “the disciple that Jesus loved”. John went inside the house with Jesus, but Peter stayed outside near the door. John shows us that Jesus has taught him to care about others since he went into the house with Jesus, seemingly not caring if the others knew he was a follower of Jesus. Then he comes back out to have Peter brought inside. A nice gesture on a cold night. But when the girl goes to bring Peter inside, she recognizes Peter and she asks him if he isn’t also one of the followers of Jesus. Peter answers that he is not. Peter makes his first denial of the evening. Now he will have to keep lying about his relationship with Jesus. As we know, one lie always leads to another and it gets easier each time we tell it. Peter failed Jesus with words, how many times have we done that? And just as hypocritical, how many times have we betrayed Jesus with our silence? How many times have we grieved God the Holy Spirit with our refusal to allow Him to lead us? Everyday, with our actions or lack of actions and our words or our lack of words, we deny God the Father and grieve God the Holy Spirit.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
In this short passage of Scripture, we get to look at sin from all four sides. There is sin as the devil sees it, a tool for death and destruction. There is sin from the human viewpoint as seen by the accusers. There is sin from the viewpoint of the one who commtted the sin. Then there is sin from the viewpoint of Jesus, a wrong that demands forgiveness. The accusers had caught this woman in the very act of adultery, how this happened we are not told and we don’t need to know. Under the law, the woman was guilty and deserving of death. Jesus had come to change all of that. He was bringing a new way of looking at and treating the guilty party. From the reaction of the accusers when Jesus questioned them, we know that, at some point, all of them had transgressed the law. In Jesus’s way of thinking, regardless of what they had done, they were as worthy of death as the woman was. Under the law, there was big sin and little sin. Under grace, there is just sin, liars are lumped right in there with murderers. We may often find ourselves in the postion of the accusers or in position of the woman who committed the sin. Jesus was using this situation to teach a two-fold lesson. First, He was teaching them the Golden Rule: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. If we were caught in this situation, would we want others to show us mercy? Then we msut show mercy. The second and most important lesson is that sin is forgiveable and that is the road we should choose.
To receive God’s forgvieness, we are required to forgive others of their sins.
13 “With your unfailing love you lead the people you have redeemed.
In your might, you guide them to your sacred home. — Exodus 15:13 NLT
God led the Israelis through the Red Sea and across the desert with the physical presence of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. It was possible for them to travel twenty-four hours a day without getting lost. It must have been very reassuring to see the presence of the cloud and the fire and know that they were traveling in the exact direction God wanted to travel at all times. God did not lead them in a straight path from Egypt to Canaan. There were detours that avoided certain areas and dangers. There were delays and a lot of murmuring and complaining. We have a guide that is with us twenty-four hours a day as well. He lives inside us. But for us to know and understand His directions, we have to spend time talking with Him and meditating on His Word. There will be detours in our lives as well. Some of those detours are caused by God and are designed to teach us and to keep us safe from harm. But just as the Israelis spent way too long in the desert because of their disobedience, some of our detours are caused by our mistakes and bad decisions. Most of us will probably spend more time complaining than we do studying the Word. Nevertheless, God is faithful and forgiving and just as He eventually got the Israelis to the Promised Land, He will guide us safely to His eternal, sacred home. He has never failed and He never will. Trust Him with all your heart, mind, soul and body.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. — Hebrews 12:1, 2a NLT