Luther Seminary God Pause
Wednesday, 6/25/2014 Reading: Romans 6:12-23
Oftentimes at a banquet, the emcee has the auspicious job of introducing a speaker. On one such occasion I piled up the accolades and the presenter said he did not recognize himself in the flourish of my comments. With a smirk he remarked, "Now I suppose I have to live up to this!"
There is a flagrant honesty in the Lutheran understanding of being saint and sinner simultaneously. Recurrently in my life I've been convicted by the "old Adam," the harassing voice that points out my deepest flaws and tempts me to despair. Because of this I sometimes feel unworthy to be a preacher, and yet marvelously slipping through my attempted proclamation to others comes the gospel of forgiveness, mercy, and being cherished by our Lord Jesus. My words turn upon myself, and with deep gratitude my breath returns. I can joyfully live again, not as a man of perfection, but as an imperfect person perfectly loved! That's who I really am!
Oh, Jesus, when our lives crumble in failure, lift us into life again through the righteousness of your grace. Amen.
Steve Wigdahl Senior Pastor, Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Naples, Fla. Master of Divinity, 1984
Romans 6:12-23 (NRSV)
12 Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. 13 No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 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? 17 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, 18 and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 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. 20 When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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