Category: Daily Devotionals

Focal Passage:  Romans 7:1-6

Romans 7:1 “Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person as long as he lives?”

Sometimes it’s easy when studying Scripture to get side-tracked by the illustrations and lose sight of the central point.  In other words, sometimes we can “take our eyes off of the ball.”  There is a danger in that with these first verses of Chapter 7.  Paul has been writing in the previous two chapters about grace and how we who are in Christ are under grace and not the law.  So, the “ball” we need to keep our eyes on as we start Chapter 7 is grace.  He’s given two examples to illustrate this point, baptism and slavery, and now he is giving a third.  This third illustration is comparing our union with Christ to our earthly marriages.  His introduction to this illustration is the simple statement of his principle in the first verse—the law only serves to give permanent condemnation on those who violate it, which is everyone.  It is a lifelong binding instrument, offering no freedom, only judgment.  Consequently, it can’t be the place where we flee for hope.  Being good enough or following codes or laws or creeds cannot be our solace or refuge.  The eternal solace offered to those who are in Christ is Christ, and our freedom lies only in His grace.

Study/Meditation:  Christians can be just as guilty of trying to earn freedom as any other person.  How do you battle this tendency?  What do you need to do to defeat it?

*Father, thank You for Your grace.  Thank You that I am not living under the condemnation of my sin.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 6:15-23

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Paul makes a very startling contrast is this seemingly simple statement.  He has already been driving home the point that the end of sin is death and the end of righteousness is life.  He begins with a kind of “goods and services” analogy.  First he writes “the wages of sin.”  In other words, the payment one receives for a life devoted to sin is death.  Death is the just compensation one receives for a life of sin.  He follows that statement with the phrase “the free gift of God.”  No longer using the goods and services rendered analogy, he says that eternal life is given, free of charge, to the one who receives Jesus Christ as his/her Lord. There is no just payment received by God to merit this eternal life.  Since we all sin, our just payment for this service of sin would always be death.  But God, in His mercy and grace, offers the free gift of everlasting life with Him in His Son, Jesus Christ.  Nothing in us, but all in Him.

Study/Meditation:  Refer back to what Paul wrote earlier in Romans 5:6-8.  What wonderful truth is he repeating in different words throughout this letter?

*Father, thank You for the free gift of salvation, though I know it was not free to You or to Jesus.  Thank You for that sacrifice for me.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 6:15-23

Romans 6:22 “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.”

Paul doesn’t leave a lot of room for shifting in the points he makes in verses 21 and 22.   Basically he has told us that the fruit of slavery to sin is death and the fruit of slavery to God is eternal life and sanctification.  In other words, slavery to one or the other is inevitable.  In light of that, one of two ends or “fruits” is also inevitable.  Slavery to sin results in our bodies and our minds being used as instruments of unrighteousness, and that only leads to misery and pain.  On the other hand, slavery to righteousness in God results in our bodies and minds being used as instruments for His glory and holiness, which leads to joy and peace.  One leads to eternal death and the other to eternal life.  Let us rejoice this day and every day that in Christ we are no longer invariably destined for pain but inexorably destined for life everlasting.

Study/Meditation:  In what ways do you need to seek more fruit toward righteousness in your body and your mind?  What can you do to aid in this endeavor?

*Father, help me see the areas of my life where I need to bear fruit to righteousness instead of to sin.  Give me wisdom and discernment to distinguish those areas and the courage to make the changes I need to make.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 6:15-23

Romans 6:20-21 “When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.  But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed?  The end of those things is death.”

Paul’s astonishing statement in this verse is that there was one freedom when we were slaves to our sinful desires—we were free from righteousness.  However, that is not a freedom any of us wants, especially since that freedom leads to death and destruction.  The truth is that sin kills and destroys.  It’s fairly easy to see how some sin is physically killing those around us.  Addiction to heroine, for example, becomes sadly obvious in the person it is physically killing.  However, what we need to realize is that there are millions more around us who are dying (we were one of them before Christ) because of their sin.  They are enslaved by their desires and the fruit of those things is death.  Jesus said in John 8:34, “Truly, truly I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin,” and Paul is about to remind us in verse 23 of Romans 6, “For the wages of sin is death.”  The only freedom any of us wants and the only freedom that leads to life is the freedom of obedience to Christ.

Study/Meditation:  Meditate on the phrase, “freedom of obedience.”  How are you free when you obey God?

*Father, thank You for releasing me of my bondage to sin.  Thank You for making me truly free in Christ.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 6:15-23

Romans 6:19 “I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations.  For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.”

Paul realizes that the “slave” analogy will be shocking to his audience.  After all, no one would say that he aspires to slavery.  However, the apostle’s intent is to shock, to point out something that the world claims is truth that is in fact a lie.  Rejecting God and His laws is not freedom; it is bondage to sin and to death.  Apart from Christ, the picture is of one whose very body is a slave to sin.  In Christ, however, we instead present our bodies as instruments to be used to God’s glory, and thus to righteousness.  Paul’s argument in this seemingly unlikely analogy is that since we have known the bondage of sin, now we must present ourselves as slaves of righteousness to know the freedom of holiness.  There is no such thing as freedom outside of Christ.  The freedom He offers is one that leads to life and joy and eternity, not sin and death and misery.  It is the freedom of holiness.

Study/Meditation:  How is it that one is either a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness?  If freedom=happiness, then why is freedom only in holiness?)

*Father, help me today and every day as I seek to give myself fully as a slave to righteousness.  Help me discern how that must look in my life.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 6:15-23

Romans 6:17-18 “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.”

Keeping in mind that much of Paul’s audience would have been slaves, he is certainly not being flippant in his comments about our being slaves.  The point he has been making is that our freedom is limited in that we are slaves to something—either sin or God.  Left to ourselves, we will invariably be enslaved to our sinful nature.  Our will is free only inasmuch as it will freely choose sin.  However, “thanks be to God” that He has made His children slaves instead to righteousness, giving us the desire and ability to choose that which is good and right.  Only in Him and only by Him is this possible, that we might choose righteousness instead of evil.  Only in Him.

Study/Meditation:  How is it that we are either slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness?  How can you be sure which you are?

*Father, thank You for choosing me to be a slave to righteousness, thereby giving my will the ability to choose what is truly good and right.  Amen.