Romans 6:23b reads, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Our culture thrives on consumerism. For example, Amazon reported a 4th quarter revenue of 87.4 Billion dollars in 2019. 87.4 Billion with a B. That’s a lot of sales and consumerism!
It shows that, at least in our culture, we’re always looking for something new. So when we think about having a New Life, or a New Nature, or New Freedom, we may immediately think to ourselves, Sign me up! But…what’s it going to cost me?
Romans 6 answers with the most surprising answer — it’s not going to cost you a thing.
The very idea causes some to balk and walk away. Others may want more information, but in the back of their minds they’re still thinking like a consumer: Surely it’s going to cost me something.
In reality, there is no cost. Jesus paid it all. But if you accept it, there will be a New You. And while the New You may not be everything you expected, it’ll be far greater than you could ever hope for.
In your Study Bible of choice, read through the commentary notes for Romans 6. What if anything did you learn about God providing you a new life, a new nature, and new freedom?
Read Matthew 13:44. What do you think about the grace of God being a “free gift” (Romans 6:23) yet also paying everything you own (Matthew 13:44) to receive it?
Heavenly Father, Your Word is clear in saying that the Gospel message is a free gift. It’s also clear in saying that I must give up what I think I know about You and about myself in order to fully receive it. Today, I simply acknowledge that I want to know You in your fullness, and I want to see myself as You see me. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Romans 6:7, 19 reads, For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin…Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy.
The Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible7 notes that when Romans was written, many intellectuals would use the illustration of slavery to speak against wrong ideas. As such, the Apostle Paul uses a similar argument by saying, “You are no longer slaves to sin!” Those who first read his letter would have known the illustration and would have rejoiced at the thought that they need no longer be burdened by sin. That they indeed had been given New Life, and a New Nature.
But Paul then flips the argument around and encouraged the Christians in Rome to be slaves of righteous living. You can just imagine them reading his letter and thinking, What?! You just told us that we had a new life. Now you’re telling us to be slaves again?”
But Paul wasn’t encouraging the people to be slaves of sin. Instead, he was saying to be slaves to righteous living. His argument was simple: Righteous living leads to New Freedom.
How does being a slave to righteous living actually lead to experiencing freedom and fruitfulness in life?
Heavenly Father, I confess that when I think about being a slave to righteousness, it’s easy for me to think about a checklist of what’s right and what’s wrong. But I’m continually learning that being a slave to righteousness isn’t about a checklist but is simply about me growing in my knowledge and understanding of who You are, as well as growing in my knowledge of understanding of who You have made me to be. I pray that the truths of who You are and who I am will open my eyes to the freedom only You can provide. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Romans 6:11 reads, So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.
One of the biggest questions of the Christian faith is, Why did Jesus have to die? In fact, some of the greatest minds from the beginnings of Christianity through today have wrestled with this question. And while there is no shortage of thoughts on how to answer this question, many have proposed that it’s not the correct question. The answer is not that Jesus had to die. Instead, the answer is that Jesus chose to die.
As James Bryan Smith writes in The Good and Beautiful God5, “The Father, Son and Spirit worked in harmony to reach out to a fallen and broken world in order to restore it. God did for us what we could never do for ourselves. The cross is a symbol of God’s love and sacrifice. Jesus assumed and healed our human condition, and in doing so he demonstrated the depths of God’s love for all of creation.”
Jesus choosing to die allows us to have and experience a New Nature. We no longer live ruled by sin. But ruled by grace.
How would you respond to a friend or family member who was wrestling with the question, “Why did Jesus have to die?”
What would you say is currently ruling your life (sin, grace, something else)? What impact is this having on your everyday decisions?
Heavenly Father, I confess that it’s challenging for me to think about why Jesus chose to die. As I dwell on it, I realize that Jesus chose to die to take on the punishment for my sins. May the severity of this love and grace continue to change me from the inside out. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Romans 6:4 reads, And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
It’s easy to see that our world is broken. If you were to ask any individual, of any sex, of any culture, of any social status, what is broken about the world in which we live, you would receive no shortage of answers. Everybody knows that the world is broken. Fortunately, Jesus provides a path to escape from the brokenness of this world.
The Life Application Study Bible1 notes that for all who have trusted in Christ’s death and resurrection, God has provided a New Life, a New Nature, and New Freedom.
For many, even the idea of a New Life sounds intriguing. For example, if you were to evaluate every area of your life — physical, emotional, spiritual, your thought life, etc. — you may very well start to think, Wow. If I could actually have a New Life, I think that could be very helpful!
But Romans 6 basically says, “This isn’t just an idea. You can truly experience New Life.”
What are the first three things that come to mind for this question: what is broken about the world in which we live?
What thoughts come to mind when you think that your New Life began the moment you professed faith in Christ? It doesn’t begin when you die, but you’re living it right now?
Heavenly Father, today I simply want to thank You for providing me with a New Life. Help me to live today and every day knowing that the next life doesn’t begin when I die but has already begun. May I rejoice in this truth each and every day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
One of the devotionals earlier this week noted that those who translate the Scriptures from the original languages into English have a really difficult job. Some of that has to do with grammar and punctuation, but other aspects are cultural.
Perhaps one of the more challenging topics to translate from Hebrew or Greek into English are passages that focus on hard topics such as slavery. As people living in the 21st Century in the United States, we have learned a great deal about the atrocities that occurred as a result of slavery. So when we read in Ephesians 6:5, Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear, we may question what it means. Some may wonder, If our God is loving, why does the Bible have verses about slaves obeying their masters?
The short answer is that the kind of slavery that existed in the Old Testament differed greatly from the kind of slavery that existed in the Greco-Roman world. And both differed greatly from the kind of slavery that is part of American History. For Paul, he encouraged both slaves and masters to treat one another with fairness and to serve one another well.
What is one practical way you can live out the main principles of this passage in your life today?
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, today I thank You that Your Word is appropriate for all people in all time periods. May I not skip over some aspects of the Scriptures falsely believing that they don’t apply to me. Instead, may I dig deeply into every aspect of Your Word and come to reflect it well through my words and actions. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Raising children is one of life’s greatest joys as well as one of life’s greatest challenges. On the one hand, godly parents want their children to have good moral virtues and to grow in their love of God and others. On the other hand, godly parents want their children to learn how to think for themselves and come to understand on their own who God made them to be. This requires parents to hold tightly to their children in some ways, but also be willing to release their children to be on their own in order to discover their own beliefs, goals, and values. It’s a very difficult tension to manage.
Because the Word of God provides wisdom to all people in all cultures, it doesn’t provide step by step instructions for how to parent. Nor does it provide step by step instructions for how to grow as a child. It does, however, provide wisdom that can be applied within each family and culture. As an example, children are commanded both obey their parents as well as honor them. While obedience may only be required until a child leaves the home, honor is an ongoing requirement that continues throughout one’s life.
What are some practical ways you currently honor your parents?
What are at least three additional ways you can honor your parents over the next few weeks? Be specific.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, today I simply pray that You will continue to reveal to me how I can not only be obedient toward my parents, but also continually honor them. Similarly, help me to live an honorable life. Not so that my children will honor me, but so that they will come to see Your love and grace through my life. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Admittedly, there are many today who find Ephesians 5:21-33 difficult to understand and live out. However, the passage itself isn’t difficult when it’s studied out well so that one can better grasp what God is communicating to us.
In this passage,God is saying that husbands need to take on the same role that Jesus had for the Church. Jesus served His people relentlessly. He washed the feet of His disciples, a role that at the time was only done by servants. He did not serve his people as an authoritarian, but instead, when the time came, Jesus willingly gave His life for the church. Taking on this role, husbands are to serve with this level of sacrificial love.
Similarly, God is also communicating that wives need to take on the the role of Jesus. In the same way that Jesus submitted to God the Father, wives submit to their husbands. Not out of duty or obligation, but instead reflecting the delight, respect, love, and sacrifice that the husband models.
In short, this passage communicates that both the husband and the wife take on the role of Christ within the marriage, loving one another in the same way Christ loves them.
For those who are married: What are some benefits for you to know and understand the full meaning of this passage? Think of as many as you can. (Write out any questions you may have from this passage, and commit to finding the answers.)
For those who are unmarried: What are some benefits for you to know and understand the full meaning of this passage? Think of as many as you can.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, it is encouraging for me to read this passage and to recognize that You are not indicating one person in a marriage is superior, nor are you indicating one person is inferior. You are simply showing that both parties take on the role of Christ within the marriage. Continue to help me see marriage in light of these beautiful truths. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Translating the Scriptures from the original languages in which they were written (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) is a very challenging task. Those who have studied these languages recognize dozens of differences between how things were communicated in one culture compared to how those same things can be communicated today. Similarly, punctuation was different. None of the text contained quotation marks, bolded words, or other common rules we use today. There were no paragraphs or indentations. There were no chapters or verses included by the author. Instead, letters such as the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians would have been one lengthy paragraph.
Because of these challenges, some translations of the Scriptures have small differences in which a new paragraph begins. Ephesians 5:21 (or 5:22) through 5:33 is one such example. Many modern-day translators believe that this passage, which focuses on some virtues within Christian marriage, begins with verse 5:21, And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Take the time to write it out — Practically speaking, what does it look like to Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ?
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I recognize that You — as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — are difficult for me to fully understand. Each aspect of the trinity works together beautifully and without any animosity or disrespect toward one another. May my marriage and/or the marriages of others I know and love be a reflection of the oneness found in You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.