New. Not new-and-improved.
New lives. Is that what most of us are experiencing? Or have we settled for a slightly improved version of our old life? This chapter really reminds me that I have been given the power and the expectation to live a brand new life free from the enslavement of sin. I can live differently. I can live victoriously. I am no longer a slave to sin because my old self died with Christ on the cross. I should consider myself “dead to sin and able to live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus” (Vs 11 NLT). I am dead to sin, but I am alive to God. Like Jesus, my new life is to bring glory to God. Every time I choose NOT to sin, it brings God glory because the power to do so comes from Him. Every time I choose to obey the Spirit within me, I give God glory. But any time I let any part of my body “become a tool of wickedness, to be used for sinning” (Vs 13 NLT), I rob God of glory. I am letting sin master me, when in reality God is my new Master. I am to be a slave to righteousness, not sin.
Paul says that every time I choose to let God control me and righteousness master me, I am becoming holy. When sin was my master, I was unable to pursue holiness. In essence, I was free from its control. Now everything has been reversed. I can now free to pursue holiness and to reject sinfulness. That is what Paul means when he says we can live new lives. We can live differently. We can live holy. But do we? Many of us as Christians don’t experience this newness of life, but live as if sin is still our master. We read a chapter like this and long to experience it as a reality in our daily lives, but we’ve resigned ourselves to a life of spiritual mediocrity. Part of the problem is that we’ve stopped believing. Our belief stopped at salvation. We believe Jesus died for our sins and has promised us eternal life in the future. But we fail to believe that we can have new life NOW. We don’t really believe we are dead to sin. We don’t really believe we are new creations. We don’t really believe our lives can bring glory to God here and now. So we settle for the status quo. We’re getting by by just getting by. But Jesus promised life and life more abundantly. New life. Life with power. Life that leads to holiness. Not in the sweet by and by, but in the here and now. Do you believe it’s possible? Paul did. He lived it. And so should we.
Father, I want to live a new life. Not some new-and-improved version of my old life. I want to live with You as my master and not sin. Every day You give me a glimpse of what this can look like, but it is so easy to fall back into old habits, to give in to the old way of thinking. I listen to the lie of the enemy that says I haven’t changed. He wants me to reject the truth that I am a new creation. But I am dead to sin and alive to God. My life can bring glory to You each and every day. I can present myself as a slave to righteousness and experience increasing holiness – each and every day. All because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross. Thank You for that reminder. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men