Summary: Our relationship with Jesus transforms us from being in love with ourselves to loving ourselves and others.
Romans 6:1-11 “Life Without Limits”
Martin Luther King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, on August 28, 1963. Hundreds of thousands of people stood and listened as Dr. King proclaimed, “I have a dream!” His dream was that someday all people in the United States would be able to say the words of an old black spiritual, “Free at last. Free at last. Thank God I’m free at last.”
Whether we are Black or White, Latino, Asian, or Native American, we all long for the time when we will be free—truly free. The words of the song that Martin Luther King quoted referred to the time of death, when those who had known nothing but enslavement and servitude, would at last be free in the arms of Jesus. Most of us hope that we will experience freedom before then—in our lives this side of heaven.
Unfortunately when we meet people, we encounter very few who are truly free. We see people, instead, who fit the description of humanity written by David Thoreau. He wrote, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
Is it possible to shed our lives of quiet desperation? Is freedom only a dream? Can we be free only in death, or can we experience freedom in our daily lives? It is interesting to note that the New Testament writers consider all Christians to be free. Paul writes to the Christians in Galatia that, “For freedom Christ has set us free.” If this is true, how can our lives be transformed so that we can experience this freedom today, tomorrow and the day ahead?
Paul encounters a situation in Rome where Christians who could be free are enslaving themselves. He addresses that situation in Romans 6 and encourages his readers to experience the new life and freedom that are given to them through Christ Jesus.
Instead of freedom, the people have enslaved themselves to sin. They decided that sin was the path to freedom. Paul writes that freedom is in the exact opposite direction. He encourages them to turn away from their sin.
We enslave ourselves to sin in many ways. We act out in rebellion against God’s control of our lives. Turning our eyes upon ourselves we encase ourselves in sin. Confession and repentance are necessary for sins hold upon us to be broken. We are then able to live in the reality of our baptism.
Paul writes that all who have been baptized have been baptized into Christ’s death so that they might experience a new life—a life that is free.
The eternal life that we have through Jesus Christ begins at our baptism. The freedom that we hope to experience when we die is ours now.
In order for us to experience the freedom that is ours through the cross of Christ and our baptism, it is necessary for our lives of faith to become more than mere intellectual exercises. It is necessary for us to take the step of faith and live in the reality of the new life that is ours, rather than wallow in the old life to which we have died.
We are called to “live to God.”
LIVING TO GOD
Living to God is a life of freedom.
Living to God is a life lived outside of ourselves. It is a life lived in a relationship with God. It is a life responding to God’s overwhelming grace and steadfast love. It is a life lived in service to others.
The extent to which we live to God is the extent to which we will experience true freedom. The freedom to live beyond ourselves is also gives us a purpose and meaning in life.
We gather today to celebrate God’s blessings and the freedom that God has given us through the cross of Jesus.
We gather to make a commitment to God to experience our freedom each day of our lives by giving our time, talent and treasures to others—to God’s glory.