I remember hearing an evangelist tell the story of visiting a drug and alcohol treatment facility. While there, he had a conversation with someone in management who confessed that he often felt like he was wasting his time as virtually everyone who is admitted once would end up coming back in, despite hours of therapy and intervention. Being somewhat surprised at hearing this, the evangelist pushed the man a little further and asked if it really was that rare for someone to be admitted but end up not coming back. The man paused and admitted that there are a few occasions in which the addict would not come back, to which the evangelist asked for more details about those rare exceptions. The man responded that once in awhile a person will get “born again” and in those cases, the person would probably never come back.
I couldn’t help but think of that story as I came to our reading in Romans 6. Verses 6-7 read, ” Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.” and then again in 17 and 18, “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.”
Now we certainly understand that even a genuine convert can relapse into past sins. Even the command in verse 13 to not yield our members as instruments of unrighteousness is a reminder that we do have the choice of whether or not to sin. However, what a wonderful reminder for us as believers that the chains of sin have been broken. We no longer have to sin! The undeniable, unshakable pull to sin that is present in the life of an unbeliever does not have to define the life of a child of God. Yes we still have the flesh, yes we can and often do sin. But Romans 6 teaches us that we do not have to. The ability to live free of habitual sin is ours as believers. Are you living in that freedom right now?