Focal Passage: Romans 6:1-23
We have all seen, either on television or in person,
criminals who are in shackles. They are bound, not free. Those shackles, by
design, prevent escape and freedom. Further, until the prisoner meets the
demands of his sentence, he will continue to be under such bondage. Now imagine
the prisoner is set free, not because he met the demands of his sentence, but
because someone came and fulfilled his sentence. At once, he is released and
the shackles are unlocked from his wrists. What do you think this prisoner will
Everything within us would expect the once-criminal, now
free man, to drop the shackles immediately, living according to the new freedom
he has been given. But what if that did not happen? What if the prisoner was
seen walking down the street, with the shackles draped over his wrists? Oh,
they are unlocked, just as they were the day of his release. However, he
continues to walk around living in bondage, though he has been set free.
This scenario sounds insane, right? No one would really live
like that. He would drop the shackles and live in freedom. Or would he?
Spiritually speaking, the Apostle Paul is admonishing the Roman believers to
avoid such a scenario.
He reminds them that their baptism symbolized their
identification with Christ’s death on their behalf (v. 3-4). He further reminds
them that identification with Christ in His death also meant identification
with Christ in His life. Therefore, in light of Christ dying their death and
giving them His life, they are now to “walk in a new way of life” (v. 4). In
other words, the fact of their freedom through Christ should result in the
practice of them living a new life in Christ, through the power of the Holy
We, like the Romans, were “enslaved to sin” (v. 6), under
the “reign” of sin (v. 12), and bearing the fruit of sin leading to death (v.
21). But, because of our identification with Christ in His death and
resurrection, through repentance and faith, we now have God’s gift of eternal
life (v. 23) and should be bearing fruit accordingly (v. 22).
The life we have been given in Christ should be evident as
we “walk in a new way of life.” This “new way” means no longer living for
ourselves, under the bondage of sin, but living for Christ and His glory (2
Cor. 5:15). Are you living in bondage to sin —
though its shackles are loosed from your life? Or, are you living a “new life,”
by God’s grace and for His glory?