Romans 6 (NRSV)
Prayer before We Turn to the Word
(based on Romans 6:12-23)
God of grace,
You have brought us from slavery to freedom,
from despair to hope,
from death to life!
Holy is Your name!
We are here in Your presence with gratitude and praise
for all that You have done for us.
May the presence of Your Holy Spirit inspire our hearts and minds.
May our words and deeds,
our thoughts and prayers,
even our very lives,
bring honor and glory to You.
This we pray in the name of Jesus Christ,
whose death and resurrection have brought us everlasting life.
Dying and Rising with Christ
What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For whoever has died is freed from sin. 8But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.
Behold Jesus Christ, the King of glory, rising from the dead. Here the heart can find its supreme joy and lasting possessions. Here there is not the slightest trace of evil, for “Christ being risen from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer has dominion over him.” Here is that furnace of love and the fire of God in Zion, as Isaiah says, for Christ is not only born to us, but also given to us. Therefore, his resurrection and everything that he accomplished through it are mine. In Romans 8:32 the Apostle exults in exuberant joy, “Has he not also given me all things with him?”
What is it that he has wrought by his resurrection? He has destroyed sin and raised up righteousness, abolished death and restored life, conquered hell and bestowed everlasting glory on us. These blessings are so incalculable that the human mind hardly dares believe that they have been granted to me. I am unclean, but his holiness is my sanctification, in which I ride gently. I am an ignorant fool, but his wisdom carries me forward. I deserve condemnation, but I am set free by his redemption.
–Martin Luther, “Fourteen Consolations”
10The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
12Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. 13No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Sin does not stop God’s grace from flowing, but God’s grace will stop sin.
Slaves of Righteousness
15What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
There are only two possible masters: Master Sin or Master Righteousness.
17But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, 18and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
19I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.
20When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. 22But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“People Need the Lord” and isn’t that the truth — because left on our own, we are, as Paul says, slaves to sin. HERE Ray Boltz sings.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.