For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin —
Have you ever mastered something? For example: woodworking, oil painting, playing a musical instrument.
An advanced academic certification is called a Master’s Degree. Mastery indicates superior knowledge and skills; the ability to do what novices can’t.
Mastering a skill or professional discipline is a considerable accomplishment. If you have done that, congratulations. It didn’t come easily. You worked for it and deserve recognition.
But have you ever thought about the things that master you? As Christians, we call Jesus, “Master,” as we should.
Is He? Is Jesus really your Master? Positionally, for sure. But in practice that may be another matter.
The slave era was a reprehensible time in American history. The slaves had Masters, individuals who could treat their purchased subjects any way they pleased.
Slaves existed in New Testament times and some of the imagery used in Romans 6 was garnered from the unfair practices of the day. In verse 6, we’re told that as Christians “we should no longer be slaves to sin.” Later, at verse 14, Paul writes, “For sin shall no longer be your master…”
Paul’s argument begs an intriguing question. Is it possible to be a born-again believer, yet still a slave to sin?
Well, yes and no.
If sin has a hold on you, then it’s time for some soul searching. Paul’s directive in his second letter to the Corinthian church applies: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves…” (2 Co 13:5)
If you knowingly and willingly sin, and your conscience is not troubled because you are disobeying God, then Christ is not your Master, nor are you saved. Anyone is capable of a guilty conscience, both saved and unsaved. However, the unredeemed conscience is not seared with guilt for offending God. There’s no desire to change for Him.
As Christians we all sin, but when it happens the Holy Spirit convicts our hearts of unrighteousness and leads us to confession, repentance, and a concerted effort to depart from our sinful behavior.
Let’s go back to Paul’s imagery. Slave to sin. Mastered by sin. Is there an area of your life where Jesus is not the Master? Is there a sinful habitual act perhaps that has you in its grasp?
You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t want Christ to be your Master. No matter where you are in your walk with Him, you can be that new creation, the new self of righteousness and holiness that God intended. (Ephesians 4:24)
Since I was a child, I have fought the battle of the bulge. Many times I have lost weight, only to gain it back. Finally, I feel as though I have won that battle, having kept the weight off for more than two years. However, I still think of myself as fat. Sometimes, I’ll catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and see that I am not the person I used to be.
Paul wants us to see ourselves as who we are now and not that old sinner from the past. He says, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with…”
The old you is dead and gone. That’s not you anymore. You are new and improved, suitable for eternal life.
For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. Romans 6:14
Most often we think of grace as God giving us more than we deserve and think of it in terms of freedom from the penalty of sin. And it does mean that, but so much more. God has also given us everything we need for righteousness and godly living. We just have to appropriate that incredible aspect of His grace.
Isn’t it time, if you haven’t done so already, to meet the new you?
For more on this topic, check out this article: Get Out of Your Rut and On with Your Life
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.