The Holy Spirit’s Teaching on “Living on the Edge” —Your Sanctified LifeIn Romans 6:3–23, through St. Paul, the Holy Spirit writes to you:
“3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through Baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of Sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to Sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from Sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to Sin, once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to Sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let Sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to Sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For Sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we Sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of Sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of Sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from Sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification. 20 For when you were slaves of Sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. 22 But now having been freed from Sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23 For the wages of Sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:3–23).
Living on the EdgeFor nearly 200 years, most United States blacks were born into slavery. A small minority of enslaved blacks saved enough money—over many years—to purchase their freedom. Other enslaved blacks were redeemed from slavery by a wealthy friend or relative.
Newly freed blacks rejoiced greatly when they were liberated from slavery! But even after their liberation, every day they “lived on the edge.” Why? Because there were “slave-catchers” constantly prowling around, seeking to recapture and re-enslave freed slaves and sell them back into slavery. The painting on the opposite page, titled “Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad,” could well be titled Living On The Edge.
GOD HAS REDEEMED YOU FROM THE SLAVERY TO SIN!Through the apostle Peter, the Holy Spirit explains how God has redeemed you from the slavery of sin. “You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18–19).
YOU ARE FREED FROM SLAVERY TO SIN—BUT YOU ARE NOW “LIVING ON THE EDGE!”To be free from the slavery of Sin, the Holy Spirit assures you that, through His miracle of Baptism, God graciously unites you to Jesus Christ and His sin-cleansing and redeeming blood (Romans 6:3–6). However, you must remain constantly on a spiritual vigil. Why? Even after being united to Christ and redeemed by His blood so that you will no longer be a slave to Sin (Romans 6:6), even at that point in your Christian life, you must be very alert (1 Peter 5:8). The Holy Spirit gives you this warning: Although Sin is always tempting you, “Do not let Sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts” (Romans 6:12). This is to say, just as malicious men roamed around, looking to catch freed slaves and re-enslave them, so also Satan, demons, and the power of Sin are always around you, hoping to catch you at a low moment and re-enslave you into Sin. Be aware that you are being spiritually stalked! In order to prepare your defense, be absolutely sure to read, read, and reread, Romans 6:3–23 as shown on the opposite page. It is the Holy Spirit’s clearest explanation of your battle in the Christian life. Meditate daily on this short section of Scripture. Note especially how the Holy Spirit repeatedly uses the words “slave,” “master,” “slaves,” “freed,” and “enslaved.” These expressions are part of your life as a Christian.
THE CONFIDENCE AND JOY YOU HAVE BEING “UNITED” TO CHRIST THROUGH GOD’S MIRACLE OF BAPTISM!When—through God’s miracle of Baptism—you are united to Christ (Romans 6:5), you are then never alone! Jesus Christ is always with you. “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20); “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18; Isaiah 41:10).
When you are united to Christ by God’s miracle of Baptism, Jesus does not merely live in you in a spiritual sense; rather, Jesus is actually present in you, as St. Paul confessed: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ LIVES IN ME” (Galatians 2:20).
LIVING ON THE EDGE WITH JOY AND CONFIDENCE!As you consider various denominations’ official doctrines, examine very carefully whether or not they teach what the Holy Spirit teaches in Romans 6: that all Christians “live on the edge,” surrounded by demons and all the powers of evil—vulnerable to being re-enslaved. Go to that church which teaches that you don’t need to live in fear—a church where Jesus Christ is present for you in His proclaimed Word and His Sacraments, a church where you will always receive His living Word, a church where you receive His gifts of forgiveness, strength to live each day, and hope for eternal life. Through His gift of faith to you, Jesus not only lives within you—He fights the battle against the power of Sin for you!
Blessed heavenly Father, thank You for uniting me to Jesus Christ and His sin-atoning death and His life-giving resurrection (Romans 6:3–5). Lead me to a new realization that I daily “live on the edge” of spiritual re-enslavement. Lead me also to daily rejoice that You live within me, that You will always protect me, and that I never need fear re-enslavement. Amen.
For further study, turn to the Bible Study on page 38, questions 61–66.
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