Friday, January 30, 2009

Romans 6 -- Freedom to Follow

Should we continue to sin all the more that God's grace may be more evident? This is the question Paul begins this section of his letter to the Romans with. The answer seems to be pretty obvious, yet all too often we seem to function differently. In my days at Houghton when headed out and about for an evening of not much good, we would half jokingly and half serious say we were going to build a testimony. In other words we were going to conduct ourselves in ways that allowed more of God's grace to be shown.

As obvious as it is, that is not what the grace of God is for and that is not the intended purpose. The Grace of God is poured out so that we might exchange what we follow. Prior to realizing and accepting God's grace, it is there even if we do not know it, we followed after many things. For the sake of time I will call them worldly desires. We lived, still do, in a world where more is always better. If I can gain just a little more than I have then I will be happy. So why would this not hold true with God's grace? This reveals our faulty thinking. God's grace is not given out in little doses, it is all there all the time. The amount of grace in our lives does not ebb and flow like the tides, it is a matter of what we are following.

The power of grace is seen in forgiveness certainly, however, the greatest work of grace is seen as we continue to live our lives. Grace offers freedom from the ways of the world in exchange for freedom in the ways of God. Paul uses the language of slavery here, that we were slaves to sin, and through grace we can be slaves to God. I think our contextual understanding of a slave hurts our understanding. I prefer to use the image of a follower. We all follow something, and what we follow informs our decisions. God's grace declares freedom so that we may follow God.

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