Saturday of the Week of Lent IV
For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. Do not yield your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but yield yourselves to God as men who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness. (Romans 6:9-13)
Additional Daily Bible Readings: Exodus 6:28–7:24; Psalm 72; Romans 6:1–14
Weekly Reading: http://bit.ly/2kQhhvX
Paul is answering the question from verse 1: “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” He answers saying, “By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” That gets at the heart of the matter, doesn’t it? We are sinners, saved by grace through faith. How can we now live the grace-full life? How can we live as the redeemed sinners we are? Should we simply continue in sin, knowing that this gives even greater cause for grace? The lives of those who have died to sin and are now alive to God in Christ Jesus are not to be lived that way. We are not to let sin “reign in our mortal bodies.” We are to live differently.
Paul makes it clear that we are sinful people, and in spite of our redemption we continue to sin. The apostle acknowledges his own sin, disobedience and inability to do that which he should do. He does what is contrary to God’s will, even though he knows better. What is Paul advising, then? Do not yield to sin, but yield yourself to God!
I find this notion of “yielding” interesting. The appropriate definition is “to give way,” to “relinquish.” Acknowledging that we cannot stop sinning, that we are sinful people from our birth, still, Paul doesn’t want us to give in or give way to our sin. It would be easy to say, “hey, our human reality is that we are sinners, so we’ll just accept that and not worry about our sin.” No, Paul says. Do not yield to sin, but yield to God! Do not give way or relinquish the fight against sin! Give in to God, his will and way! We are not to “continue in sin, that grace may abound.” Grace will abound, even as we struggle against sin, because we are children of God, redeemed by Christ.
Winston Churchill said in an address at Harrow School on Oct. 29, 1941, “…never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” This is Paul’s message about not yielding to sin!
Prayer: Lord God, give me strength and courage to yield only to you!
Lenten response: To what sin/temptation do you easily “yield.” Make this your Lenten challenge: not to yield.
Video Devotional: From Ashes to Easter
Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism.