“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey —whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?” (Romans 6:15-16 NIV)
Context is important. Whenever we read something or watch something, we need to pay attention to the context, but not just one context exists. There really are three important context we must understand to get the most out of what we read or watch—and sometimes this may take some research to get.
The first context we must have understanding of is, the context the author or director lived in. This is because the life they have lived affects how they write and, it affects how they see and understand what is going on around them. This is also true of writers- writing about another time in history; for how they live and, when they live will affect how they understand this history. What I am saying is that our understanding of the writers history and, the time they are writing about, is important for us in order to understand what the writer means in their works, it is the context that confines their writing.
The second context is in the words themselves. This is especially true when reading a translated work. What is the writing style, and what does it bring to the table for understanding of what the author is saying? What words were chosen to say what is said? The words work, medium used is important to understanding what the author is saying. This context enables or limits what is being said.
The third context is sometimes the most difficult for us to get over, it is our own context. It is the context of our life and how we have lived it. It is how our life has affected how we see things and interpret them. It is our paradigms that color how we see and understand what the author is trying to say. This context limits how much we can understand. For example, in our Christian culture of today we have no issue with calling Jesus our Savior, but we sometimes struggle with also calling Him Lord. He is both, but we really struggle with the concept of having a Lord, a Master.
It was natural for Paul to see having a master as normal life, even if one was not owned by someone else you were still under some master’s patronage. Maybe the patronage of a king or ruler. It was easy for everyone to understand Paul’s analogy of being under a good master or a bad master. Remember if you sold yourself into slavery to a bad master you were stuck.
This is the good news though; Jesus came to set us free by defeating our old master of sin and death. Instead He justified us and transfers our ownership to a good master of obedience and righteousness. But it is our choice, do we serve the old master we once knew (by giving into temptation) or do we accept His grace (through obedience to the new master and be sanctified), and transformed into a new more Christ like human?
Which do you choose, remember Paul also writes that we are mastered by the one we obey?
Thank you, Pastor Perry