Summary: The apostle Paul uses the issue of slavery to simply illustrate and demonstrate how sometimes people can be in bondage to sin, and then how we need to be in servitude to God.
I would like to make a statement in light of what’s happening in our nation. I would like to request that there not be any response to what I say. I don’t want any applause, boos or hisses or whatever the case might be. After I read this statement, I want to pray.
“During these days of moral crisis, I call upon Christians everywhere to pray for President Clinton and his family. We’re instructed in I Timothy 2:2 to pray for those in authority that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. I also request that all Christians be willing to forgive our President as he has requested. Jesus said in Matthew, 6:14, “If you forgive men their sins against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive yours.” I further admonish the church to seek to restore our brother who has fallen. According to Galatians 6:1, which says, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently, but watch yourselves or you also may be tempted.” However, to forgive and restore a fallen brother can never remove the consequences of one’s personal sin. Our Congress has initiated an impeachment process to address this issue. In order to avoid the ongoing embarrassment to our nation that a full impeachment process would produce, I respectfully request that President Clinton resign from office. This request certainly does not reflect the desire of every member of our church, and it is in no way politically motivated. It is the position of a single pastor who deeply believes that God wants the church, not the media to be the moral spokesman for America.
Let us pray:
“Father, we do want to pray for our President and for his wife, and his daughter, Chelsea. I pray that during this time of crisis you will surround them with strength and preserve their family. We also pray for our President that he will do what is right in your eyes. He will do what is right and best for our nation at this time. Deliver us, Lord, from pious, judgmental attitudes because every one of us stands before you as sinners, saved by your grace. Lord, I pray for those leaders in Washington who are facing this deliberative process, and we pray that you give them wisdom as well. Dear God, I pray that as a nation we might corporately repent of our sin, and that we might understand that you have called upon the church to lift up the light of truth and righteous. Forgive us, Lord, when we fail in these areas. We pray all of this in the name of Jesus, our Lord. Amen.”
It’s no mistake that I plan my messages a month in advance, and today as I am talking from Romans 6, the entire topic is about sin, about being a slave to sin. The biggest mistake any person listening to me today will make is to apply what I say in this text to President Clinton, because by doing that you are eliminating yourself from the application process. Instead, I want you to pray today that the Holy Spirit will take this message and apply it to your own heart.
Let’s see what the apostle Paul, has to say about sin beginning in Romans 6:15-23.
Once again he repeats the question he posed in verse 1. “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law, but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey — whether you are slaves to sin.” He uses the word “slave” eight times. “which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness. But, thanks be to God that though you used to be slaves to sin you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin, and have become slaves to righteousness. I put this in human terms [the issue of slavery] because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord.”