New Identity: Free to Choose
Pastor Shawn’s sermon “Free to Choose” in the two-part series New Identity is available to watch or listen to here.
Pastor Shawn continued in Romans on Sunday, inviting us to look at the mystery of our new identities in Christ.
The piece that stuck out to me in the sermon this week was maybe a bit discouraging. Pastor Shawn reminded us that we will never spiritually mature beyond temptations. We will always face the temptation to sin, no matter how long we are Christians, how saintly we become, how many Bible verses we read a day, etc. In fact, Genesis says that sin is crouching at the door, waiting for us. First Peter says that the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour.
(Isn’t this a fun and cheery blog post?!)
So, we will always be tempted to sin, at least until Jesus returns. But, the good news, which Pastor Shawn pointed out, is that we now have a choice when it comes to sin. Because we have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus — because we have accepted His free gift of salvation, we no longer belong to sin. We belong to Christ and to His way! We can choose to obey Him and deny sin in ways we were not capable of before our salvation.
Before we were slaves to sin, but now we are slaves to righteousness. “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness” (Romans 6:18).
I also loved the illustration Pastor Shawn used about the emancipated slaves in the United States who were unaware that they had been set free. According to the law, they were no longer slaves, but for practical purposes, they still lived as slaves. Some didn’t even know how to live free lives. Why is it that we are so eager to go back to the things that we know entangle and destroy us? Paul wrote about it in Romans 7. Galatians 5:1 warns us against it — “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” We have to be reminded not to go back to our slavery. We have to be encouraged to live in freedom.
But what is hopeful here is that God does encourage us to live free lives. He gives us the Holy Spirit to help us live in love, joy, peace, patience, and so on. We do not have to choose sin — we can choose life and freedom in Jesus! This is good news!
We have a new identity in Christ. We take on so many good things when we become a part of God’s family. So, when you are struggling with temptation and sin, remember that you are a new creation and God has set you free! Live in that truth this week!