Free to serve (Romans 6:15-23)

Most people think that freedom is doing whatever you want.

Most people are wrong.

People who do whatever they want are the least free of all according to Paul.  Everyone serves something or someone.  No-one has no master.  Real freedom is about serving the best master...

STOP and read Romans 6:15-23

I love my job and I love pretty much everything I get to do in my life.  And it's not because I'm unique in the way I serve or that I'm better than everyone else but it's because God is a unique master and he is better than everyone else!  It's a real privilege and joy to serve Jesus and Paul says that this is what true freedom is.

Many of the Christians Paul writes to are wondering if it's ok to do whatever they want because they're forgiven by Jesus and don't need to worry about God's anger or punishment of sin.  But Paul says it would be a self-destructive and self-enslaving idea.  Why would anyone continue doing the things that were killing them and those around them before they were rescued by Jesus???!!  Forgiven destructive behaviour is still destructive behaviour and it's bad for us and those around us.  What's more, Christians have a new master - Jesus and they have an alternative to the self-destructive sin that everyone else is stuck in.  Christians have God the Holy Spirit living in them and the opportunity to choose to serve Jesus instead of sin at every moment of every day.  The possibility of living a free life is more there than it ever was but it's not a freedom that is enjoyed by serving ourselves.  That's still slavery!  It's a freedom that experienced by serving Jesus - the best, most loving, most powerful master there is.  Serving ourselves and sin leads to mess, destruction and death but serving Jesus leads to healing, wholeness and life.  Why would we go back and serve our old master that was killing us?  It would make no sense at all.

True freedom is not "doing whatever you want".
True freedom is "serving the One who loves you the most".

The trap we might fall into here is thinking that serving Jesus is what saves a person and makes them right with God but that's NOT what Paul is saying.  Paul has already made it very clear that our only hope of being made right with God is to trust and follow Jesus who died in our place for our sin.  The point he's making here is about what you do next and his strong and clear advice is to wholeheartedly give yourself to serving and sharing Jesus.

The other trap we might fall into is thinking that being 'slaves to God' is a bad thing because slavery is bad.  Slavery has been made bad because of people's sin (it was a loving lifeline to the poor when God first initiated it) but Paul is using an example from the everyday life of his first readers.  He's asking them to imagine what it would be like if they were slaves to the most powerful, most loving master - Jesus.  That kind of 'slavery' isn't like any other slavery people experience in this world.  Living for Jesus is true freedom because we're free to serve the One who loves us most.  

1. Are you trusting and following Jesus yet?  If not, what are you serving and what's it leading to?
2. If you are trusting and following Jesus, how are you serving and sharing him?  How's it going?