The Responsibility of Grace
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The Responsibility of Grace

Main Passage: Romans 6:1-14 NKJV

Focus Passage: Romans 11:6 NKJV "And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work."

When my first husband was in seminary, we had no health insurance. Our son, not the most athletic nor graceful kid in the neighborhood, decided to rollerblade down the sidewalk of a hill nearby to impress some kids. He had been warned to not play on that hill, but he went against our warnings. One of the kids ran to the back door of our house one afternoon yelling, "Seth fell down and got hurt!" I was prepared for scrapes and bruises, but not a broken arm! In the end, he had a cast and a life lesson. We had a $1,000 medical bill to pay. Could our son pay it? No.He felt the consequences of going against what he had been told by us, though. There was no need to punish him for disobeying. Instead, we paid the medical bill and talked together about his life lesson. Grace is not getting what we rightfully deserve.

Christians often go against God's instruction, much like my son did with us. In the Romans 6 passage, Paul is writing to the church in Rome. The people in this church formerly lived a pagan lifestyle. They got drunk and involved themselves in a number of sexual practices with whoever was there at the time.They lived by the motto, "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die." Lying deceit, fighting, and more were part of the normal culture of Rome. Paul reminds them that since Christ died for their sins, they should not continue to sin. It's not good to push grace to the limits, as if they could because there is no sin too bad to be forgiven. They are in danger of falling away, though, but they also reaped earthly consequences. He reminds them of when they were baptized, they symbolically were buried with Christ and raised to newness of life. Their old lives were buried. Dead. They needed to live out the new life Jesus gave them when they first believed the message of the Gospel.

Our own culture is very similar to that of Rome from Paul's time. People eat, drink, and do whatever they want because many believe that when they die, there is nothing else after this life. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we must allow Him to be Lord of our lives as well. Our old lives need to be put to rest, buried with Christ, never to be lived again. Now, we are given a new life because Jesus was raised to life.There is a beautiful picture described in Romans 6:4 of immersion baptism, which is how baptism was done in Jesus' and Paul's time. When the person is fully immersed, he or she is symbolically buried with Christ, the old life gone. When they are lifted back up, they are raised with Christ into a new life with Him. You can be sprinkled or have water poured on your head, if you want, but nothing is more powerful as immersion baptism for a new believer's first testimony of their faith. It is also a wonderful reminder to ourselves to live out that new life.

Certainly when we sin, we have no intention of nailing Jesus back on the cross again. Thankfully, that doesn't happen because our sins are forgiven once and for all. Now we present ourselves as an offering before a Holy God. We are His. If we are His, we ought to behave as if we belong to him. Here is another thought: if we decide to live by a legalistic set of Dos and Don'ts, we live by the old law which can't save us. Our righteous acts are like filthy rags before God (Isaiah 64:4)! We can't earn our salvation;  it was already ours when we first believed in Jesus Christ. Our responsibility with grace is to live in that freedom with an attitude of gratitude for what Jesus did for us on the cross.

If you don't know Jesus as your Savior and want to live this new life, you can pray like this: I am a sinner and I am sorry.  I accept your death on the cross as payment for my sin. Jesus, come into my life and make me new. I want to follow you. Thank you so much! Amen. If you prayed this, we would love to hear about your new faith. Comment below or email us at totallyfit63@gmail.com. We will respect your privacy by not posting your comment, if that is what you tell us.

If you know Jesus as your Savior, but are having trouble letting go of living your old lifestyle before Jesus came into your life, you are welcome to start fresh by praying like this, Jesus, I keep sinning as if to nail you back on the cross. I am so sorry. Please, take my life as yours. Guide me, help me live out the new life you already gave me. Thank you I don't have to live a list of Dos and Don'ts, but I am free to live as you taught us to live. Amen. Let us know how we can pray for you at totallyfit63@gmail.com or comment below. What you tell us will be kept confidential.

Today is a brand new day! Live like it. Many blessings to you!

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