What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!
~Romans 6:21, NIV
Sin shall not have dominion over you no matter how fiercely it may tempt you, provided you do not yield to it.
In sermon preparation, I come across a lot of great stuff that I don’t have time to share in the pulpit. I love Luther’s commentary on Romans and I am challenged by his insights. In all my study and preaching from Romans six, I am embarrassed to confess that I have never paid that much attention to the latter part of the chapter. We might sum up the theme of chapter six by repeating Paul’s admonition, “Sin shall not have dominion over you.” We are not to be slaves of sin. Paul uses three verbs to share with us the path to victory.  First, we have to KNOW that our old sinful Adamic nature was crucified with Christ on the cross. Christ wrapped up everything in Adam, took it upon Himself and died with it on Calvary. When Christ died, He died to sin and we were with Him. Our victory is not in the death of sin but in our death to sin.  We RECKON this fact to be true. Reckon is an accounting term in scripture not Southern slang: it means to take into account, to count on, to compute. When you reckon that a check is good, you cash it. Reckon simply means we take God at His word and we exalt His word above our reason.  We YIELD ourselves to Him to become instruments of righteousness. To know is an exercise of the mind or intellect, to reckon is a act of faith and to yield is an act of the will. Note what Paul said in verse 12, Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Sin has no authority in your life and it cannot do anything without your permission.
FOR THE REST OF THE CHAPTER. Paul has said, Christ death broke sin’s grasp or power. Christ death redeemed us from the power and slavery of sin. Now we are free to serve God but we are still capable of yielding to sin and becoming it’s slave. He concludes the chapter a strong admonition to serve righteousness instead of sin. Paul asks the sobering question: what benefits does slavery to sin pay? Remember, Paul is not talking to lost people, he is talking to believers. The ultimate consequence to slavery to sin is death but Paul challenges the Romans to look back at the history of their personal life and determine what benefits more: serving sin or serving Christ. He points out that everything we did under the tyranny of sin has produced shame. The benefits of serving Christ are inexhaustible: thanksgiving, joy, peace, etc. but the wages of sin are death.
We could take gossip, gluttony or greed as examples: all are killers. These things will destroy your happiness, faith, testimony and even your life. However, the one that is so prevalent these days is drugs. A mother in her late 20’s had been rehabbing for six months. She had a job and even her appearance was changing for the better but then she yielded to the temptation and slipped back into the life of drugs. You and I know exactly where the drugs will take her. We know this story does not have a happy ending. Sin pays, it always pays but it pays in death. Say no to gossip, alcohol, gluttony, greed, drugs, profanity…they are all killers. Trust me, profanity and filthy talk will destroy your testimony. Sin, any sin is a killer!
I learn something practically everyday and then I forget it. David pointed out last night that there was one good sin. I asks for clarification and he said, “Original sin, it brought us Jesus.” Brilliant thought, one I had never considered.
Today is August 31 and Keith’s favorite word comes to mind…unbelievable. Two thirds of 2020 are history. Although it has been a weird year, it has gone by in a hurry. We are only one week from Labor Day.
I talked with Jeff and Joe about our corn crop yesterday. In a normal year, there would be some shelling this week but that is not going to happen. Most of the corn in these parts is still green. I don’t think the dove hunters will have corn fields to shoot in this year. One more thing that makes 2020 different.