What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.
When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
As a teenager I used to listen to the music of Paul Young and the song “Wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home” always stayed with me. The lyrics aren’t relevant in this context, except the line reminding us that where we chose to lay, to place ourselves, to put our treasured possessions (in this case a hat), that is where we will become comfortable and we will feel at home. In this passage, Paul reminds them there is always a choice in deciding where to call home. Paul likens it to a master and a servant and he says because of the grace of God we have a choice. Physically we may find ourselves in situations that are not of our choosing, but spiritually we always have a choice. We become familiar with old habits and ways of thinking and reacting. Paul reminds us that we don’t have to settle for lives of worry, we are set free to choose a different path leading us to walk in freedom, by still waters, to green pastures, and to travel through the hard valleys, instead of getting stuck there.
If we surrender our souls to the ways of the world, then that is where we will feel at home. Negative emotions become our master and they bring more trouble into our lives. If we choose to surrender ourselves to righteousness (v19), then right living grows in us, we settle there, it becomes our home and our master. If we become God’s loving servants, choosing to live in His presence and by His ways, then we are set free to live in joy and peace, no matter what the physical circumstances of life may look like. So, where are you choosing to lay your hat today? Where is your spiritual home? If you don’t like the answer, then pick up your hat and move locations. The eternal life of freedom in God is always there. He’s always waiting, on a daily basis, for us to settle and make Him our home.
Creator and Redeemer of my life, I chose you today. I bring all of my treasured possessions and place them by your side, so that I may call you my Home. Restore in me your love, joy and peace, as I surrender my negative emotions to you. You are my Master, my Friend and my Life. Walk with me today in everything there is to do. Amen
Jo Patel, Local Church Leader, Wattisfield and Diss URC