Reflections: July 31, 2020
Friday of the Seventh Week after Trinity
By Joel Shaltanis
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Freedom! It sounds and feels so sweet! Freedom means getting to do whatever we want with no one telling us what to do, right? That's how many think of freedom. "Just wait until I get out of the house!" It all sounds good until you get to experience that unfettered freedom for the first time and realize the costs that come with freedom.
Some learn about these consequences when going off to college for the first time. They stay up all night playing video games, watching movies, surfing the web, or hanging out with friends. Maybe they sleep in and miss a class or two. Others experiment with forbidden fruits: porn, booze, sex, drugs. Mercifully, most young adults learn some hard lessons and figure out how to manage their freedom and the responsibility that comes with it. But sometimes this unharnessed freedom results in bitter consequences. When that happens, they realize their newfound freedom only ended up in a kind of slavery.
Some of the Romans used to live like this: "You once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness… But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed?" Paul answers his own question, "The end of those things is death." Christians do not and cannot use their freedom to do whatever selfish and irresponsible thing they want, for they have been set free from sin and now are slaves (or servants) of righteousness.
Christians have been set free already. It isn't that we might be set free from sin if we are good enough. No, no one is good enough, not even one (Romans 3:10). The exception is the only one from heaven, Jesus Christ. Christ has already won our freedom from sin by shedding His blood and dying for our sins on the Cross, and paying a ransom for our freedom. He has set us free so we can live forever. True freedom isn't "doing whatever you want." Rather, it is living sanctified lives under the forgiveness of Christ Jesus, knowing you are free to serve the living God without fear. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Praise the Lord, His reign commences, Reign of life and liberty- Pascal Lamb, for our offenses, Slain and raised to set us free! Evermore Bow before Christ, the Lord of Life adore! ("All the Earth with Joy Is Sounding" LSB 462, st.4)
-Rev. Joel Shaltanis is pastor of Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Plano, TX.
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