Sitting with the Shepherd
But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. (Romans 6:17 NKJV)
We who have come to faith in Jesus Christ have received a new life, a new identity, and a new nature have so much to be grateful for. And the rightful recipient of that gratitude can only be God Himself. He is the One Who created us and as such is the only One Who could recreate us in Christ Jesus.
Especially those of us who have been set free from life dominating sin are extremely grateful. But realistically speaking the power of sin dominates everyone's life when they are born with an unregenerate fallen spirit. And sin is a cruel taskmaster. It takes us farther than we want to go, keeps us longer than we want to stay, and cost us far more than we ever wanted to pay! Since all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, we all need to be delivered from that bondage. And according to Paul's words to the church in Rome, we have been set free.
That precious deliverance only came when we became obedient from the heart. Paul is not speaking of white knuckled forced compliance with a set of do's and don'ts. He is referring to a genuine heartfelt desire born out of love that supersedes any lesser selfish, fleshly desire. Love is the power that enables us to live in true freedom.
The form of doctrine spoken of here is the Gospel as it is presented in the Word of God/ Jesus Christ came and accomplished what we could never accomplish on our own. He reconciled us to the Father. When He returned to His heavenly throne and sat back down at the right hand of God the Father, He sent His Spirit to live inside of us. In doing this He imparted His Holy spirit to live inside of us. All of the things that we could never became possible.
But our freedom is not to be taken lightly as some think. We have gone from being slaves of sin to being slaves of righteousness. We are obligated to continue to obey that form of doctrine which caused us to be delivered, and to do so from an obedient heart. And an obedient heart is a joyful heart.
Questions for Personal Reflection or Discussion
1. What do we as believers have to be grateful for that others don't?
2. How has sin proved to be a cruel taskmaster in your life?
3. What is the difference between forced compliance and heartfelt obedience?
My Father in heaven, my God thank you that I am no longer a slave of sin but now am free to live as a slave of righteousness. Thank You that my Victory was won at the cross and I am free to walk in that victory every day. May the Spirit of my Risen Lord Jesus Christ be manifest today and every day of my life into eternity. Amen