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March 3 I Sunday

Numbers 26-28

Mark 8

 

“Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?”

—Romans 6:16

 

In our world today, we place a high value on choice. As a result, we have never had such an incredible range of selections available. About 40 years ago, the typical North American supermarket carried about 9,000 products on its shelves. Today they carry more than 45,000. The average home had 6 television channels, but the Nielsen report now states an average of 189 channels. As Christians, we are considered to be either Catholic or Protestant, yet today there are close to 33,000 registered Protestant denominations and approximately 300 Catholic groupings.

Choice is everywhere, and we pride ourselves on that, but the Bible tells us we have only one fundamental choice to make in life. Every other choice that we believe to be an expression of our freedom is actually going to be an expression of that one choice we make. According to Romans 6, the most important choice we make is this: who or what is going to be our master? In the opening verse, Paul says that every one of us is a slave either to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness.

Once we decide who is going to be our master, everything we do and every ambition we hold, everything we spend our money on and how we use our free time, is going to be dependent in some way on that fundamental choice we have made. If we have become slaves to sin, it is probably because we think we are benefiting from it, but sin will reap destruction in the long term. Some Christians think that Christ being our Saviour is adequate. He gets us off the hook so that we are not going to hell but to heaven and can do as we please in the meantime, but that is not the Christian life.

Jesus brings us out of our sin in order to bring us under His authority, and we are to live every day with an attitude of heart that says, “What does God want in this situation? What is His will here?” The benefit we receive from being a slave to obedience is holiness and life. Holiness is not a righteous concept we have about ourselves, nor does it imply that we are better than anyone else. Holiness is being set apart for God so that the way we live, work, earn and spend our money, and treat our families all become a reflection of the fact that there is Someone clean, holy and pure who rules our lives, and it is His character being expressed in us and through us.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, many of us have had a very troubled past, but I thank You that by faith in You, our pasts are used to strengthen and prepare us for Your work.


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