“When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom.“
Romans 6:20-21 NLT
Isn’t it strange? In our previous lives, before our eyes were opened to God’s saving grace through Jesus, we sinned and thought nothing of it. A speed limit broken, a glass of some alcoholic beverage too many before the drive home, a couple of pencils taken from the office stationery cupboard, an extra-marital affair with someone else’s husband or wife, and probably many other things we want to push down into the dark corners of our minds, hoping they stay there hidden. We really were in a dark place, enslaved to a way of life that involved sinful thoughts and deeds. Yes, we may have felt the odd twinge of guilt. Yes, intuitively, we knew we were doing wrong. But the thrills and attractions of living a sinful life drowned out all other feelings of conscience. Because “[we] were slaves to sin, [we] were free from the obligation to do right”.
Now our past lives have been exposed to us through the light of God. And we feel a deep sense of shame. We realise now that what we did in the past really would have ended “in eternal doom”. We realise now that all our past sinful deeds and thoughts violated God’s principles. Meaning that although He loved us, He couldn’t be anywhere near us. Our sins and God’s presence were, and still are, incompatible.
We pilgrims have a constant problem though. There is something within us that constantly urges us to return to the old way of living, with its sin and shame. We were steeped in sinful practices and it takes a long time, punctuated by repentance and God’s forgiveness, before the old ways are leached out of us, and we leave behind us the old life. We now have an obligation to do what is right. The old ways are always there, beckoning to us, but increasingly we are being saved from them. We read in Ephesians 4:23-24, “Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” Through Jesus’ sacrifice at Calvary we are made new, and His Spirit will work within us, helping us to become “truly righteous and holy”. It will take a lifetime but its worth it.
Dear Father, we thank You that You have lifted us up out of the “miry clay” through Jesus, and what He did for us. We are so grateful. Amen.