Tag Archive: Righteousness


Warts and All

WARTS AND ALL

One of the great things about God’s word is that it includes our whole history, warts and all. There’s Peter’s denial of ever knowing Jesus, Peter and Paul’s argument over the inclusion of Gentiles into Christian fellowship, and there are the Old Testament patriarchs of the faith.

As we look at Abraham, his faith in following God to the unknown, his compassion for even Sodom, his willingness to sacrifice his only son on a deadly altar, it is easy to come to the conclusion that Abraham had a faith that we could never have. Even God could not encourage us to a point in our faith that we could be like Abraham. However, Abraham was as warty as any of us.

For instance, Abraham one time lived near a powerful king named Abimelech. Without asking God, Abraham announced to the world that Sarah was his sister, because he did not want to be killed by Abimelech for possession of his wife–for the king could not take another man’s wife. God had to step in and save Sarah through a dream He sent to Abimelech. The king was not happy.

Another error of judgment came when God was too slow, in the eyes of Sarah and Abraham, in sending her a son. At Sarah’t request, Abraham took Hagar (Sarah’s slave) and had a son, Ishmael, by her. That resulted in all sorts of dysfunctional family problems for years! Again, Abraham had followed his own wisdom instead of seeking God’s advice.

Why bring up the warts? None of us wants to brag about the goof-ups we have committed. I bring up what I call Abraham’s warts because they demonstrate that God does not choose us because of our goodness. None of us is good enough for God to choose; none of us has a perfect faith–not even Abraham. We struggle with doubt and mis-steps just like Abraham. Our faith, given to us by God to exercise, shines one day and struggles the next. We are loved and chosen by God just because He wants to do it. He loves us and chooses us, warts and all.

sue wilson

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I’m Free at last…but still a slave?

For the last two weeks we have been talking about Freedom; freedom from yourself and freedom from sin. I love the idea of being free, there is nothing better than doing things on your own terms. But, have we taken our freedom in a completely different direction than what was intended? Have we been set free only to return to enslavement?

We continue our exploration of Romans chapter 6 to find out that our Freedom is not freedom from law or a freedom to do whatever we please. The Apostle Paul expresses this as the opposite of freedom. He talks about two different types of Slavery. There is the slavery of sin, which leads to death, and the slavery of righteousness, which leads to eternal life.

I don’t know about you but I am not thrilled that freedom doesn’t mean freedom to do whatever I want. Plus, I don’t like the pictures and images that come to mind when I think of slavery. When the master treats me as less than human, beats me and uses torture tactics to make sure I work hard and do whatever it is that pleases them. I do not want this life for me or my family. Is this the kind of slavery Paul is talking about? If so, count me out!

Paul breaks it down for us when he basically says that all people will be slaves to something, what will you be a slave to? Have we gone from one slave master to another? No way! Paul wants the reader or hearer of Romans to understand the differences between being a slave to sin and being a slave to Christ. The two are completely different outcomes, let me show you.

Being a slave to sin means that freedom has gone away for good. I like how Romans 6:15-18 reads in the Message translation. “You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and its your last free act.” Being a slave to sin is having tunnel vision for the things that will benefit you. Seeking out pleasure because it benefits you. Living for the world and all of its toys. This life breeds more selfishness, greed, and Paul says eventually death. It is doing the same thing over and over again, like spinning your wheels, but never going anywhere. Do you know people around you that are spinning their wheels in life and not going anywhere? Dedicating their life to their profession, living life for all it’s pleasure, living up life with one goal in mind; getting more.

The second type of slavery is to righteousness. Christ Jesus bought us at a price. The price was not with some precious stone or large currency or piece of real estate. We were bought by his blood and it wasn’t cheap, it meant his death. As he bought us we belong to him. He says in Matthew 11:30, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Jesus declares he is a different type of master. Paul confirms it when he says, “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.”

As slaves to God we follow in the ways he would have us go. We look to Jesus as our master and find that just as he came to serve, we too are free to serve one another. Our freedom is slavery, I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but one that we can feel comfortable about. It is a freedom to not indulge the sinful behavior, but serve one another in love.

If we are truly slaves to Jesus Christ, what does that mean to our daily lives?

Let me know what you think.

Have a great day!

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