“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness” (Romans 6:11-13 NIV).
“I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness” (Romans 6:19 NIV).
Have you ever gone hiking and, when you got to the trailhead there were two paths to take? So you select one, you walk for an hour or so and you find yourself in an area that is not very pleasant, the scenery is not at all good and the climb is to steep or something else is just not right. You wish you would have taken the other path.
I feel like Paul is talking to us of two such paths, when you are on one path you cannot be on the other path at the same time. Once you start down one path you have to turn around and go back to the trail head to get to the other path. One path is wrong and will get you lost in the wilderness and the other path will take you home. So how do you choose?
In Paul’s time it was not uncommon for someone to sell them selves into slavery. It was just part of making a living in those days. I’m sure however that the person looked over the contract really well and made sure the master was a good master and would treat them right. After all, why would anyone sell them self to a master that would harm them. Why would anyone go down that path, the path that leads to destruction? I say this in a sort of tongue in cheek way, as Paul used his example of ever day life to explain these two paths we can take. The problem is that we can only be on one path at a time, we can’t be following Christ in righteousness and keep on sinning. We are ether following one master or the other, as Paul puts it. Yet even today many people take the path of destruction it seems pleasing and full of fun—until it’s not. In the New Beacon Bible Commentary, the author writes this, “In Christ, we may be ‘dead’ to sin; but sin is not dead. It will assert its oppressive rule wherever a power vacuum exists. Where Christ does not reign, sin will.”
But, in all this Paul was speaking to Christians. That is why he said, “Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness,” in verse 19. If we want to be righteous and holy then we must choose the right pa and be on that path, not switching back and forth. The good news is that if you find yourself on the path of sin and death all we have to do is turn around, turn back to Jesus, and He will see us through to the other path—the path of “righteousness leading to holiness.” If we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, we will always find the right path, it’s when we start to focus on ourselves that we wind up on the wrong path.
Which path are you on? Do you want to be on the Path that Jesus is on?
Do you know your way back to the Trailhead, or do you need a Guide?
Thank you, Pastor Perry
1 William M. Greathouse and George Lyons, Romans 1–8: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, New Beacon Bible Commentary (Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 2008), 188.
2 William M. Greathouse and George Lyons, Romans 1–8: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, New Beacon Bible Commentary (Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 2008), 184.
3 Ibid, 184