3-Week Series: Double Blessing


Summary: What is it like to be "alive to God"?

12Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. 13No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. 15What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, 18and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification. 20When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. 22But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NRSVA)

Last week I left you with two illustrations of how we are our own worst enemy…as Paul described it in the first part of this chapter.

My illustrations were really both the same…about how my ratty, torn old red Toyota t-shirt, like my sin, was my choice, and how my grandson in his cranky state had figured that his biggest problem was his grandfather! It was his considered and wise opinion that his grandpa was pre-pos-ter-ous!” But that was looking within…caving to what he wanted. Had he been able to put his crankiness and selfishness aside, he might have seen my desire to calm him and lead him into release from his unhappiness. But he was in the way!

Preposterous – we usually think of that word meaning silly, absurd or ridiculous. But the actual meaning is that which comes after is before.

That’s how it is in spiritual matters: what is absurd or ridiculous to the natural man is clear to spiritual sight. Jesus said if you will hold on to your life, you will lose it; if you let it go, you will gain it.

He compared our lives to a kernel of corn, yielding itself as seed to the ground; that death produces abundant life in the harvest.

This is counter to everything natural. In our inner being we have self-preservation that blocks seeing our real help.

This is counter to everything cultural. Today we are told to place self above all…me, first, last and always!

Our nature and our cultural philosophy says, live NOW, because tomorrow we die! On the other hand, Christ bids us come and die…and step into life. He leaves us a choice, doesn’t he?

Now, that was last week; the focus was on sin and death, dying to sin and self. Most of us have never really died to sin and self. Maybe we’ve made a little promise to God and fainted a little…but dying – well, that’s a whole different story.

Christ does indeed bid us come and die, so that he can do what is preposterous…put the death before life…otherwise it wouldn’t be eternal life. And that is the focus of this week’s message – life, aliveness to God! Life – genuine God-life requires careful choices.

William Barclay said:


With that fact in mind – that if we decide to take God up on His offer of abundant life, we must make careful choices, choices that place ourselves in His hands, for His use – let’s look at the choices Paul lays before us…


The whole act of redemption, of the Gospel, which is Jesus coming to die for us, be buried and resurrected on the third day is all about releasing us from the power and grasp of sin. Release from sin’s penalty is the lead story!

I want you to see that in the most unlikely of places. In the comedy movie, Grumpy Old Men [2] Max (Walter Matthau) is wooing Ariel (Ann Margaret). They’re at Max’s ice-fishing shanty on the frozen Lake Wabashaw. Ariel is a Liberal Arts professor, and Max is a retired TV repair man. They see things differently. Max is showing Ariel how to fish through the ice. Ariel has never fished before, but hooks the “big one”. When she wants to release the trophy-sized monster back to the water, Max has a meltdown cow; RELEASE? There’s no release! That thing’s going to be stuffed! But, it’s Ariel’s fish, and, to Max’s utter disbelief she returns it to its’ watery abode. Max didn’t even get a picture.

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