Death or Life?
Tony R. Nester
Romans 6:19, 23
Paul is trying to get us to go all the way with God.
Paul knows that Christians usually stop short of giving God full reign in their lives. Call us part-way believers. We believe in God. We accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. We try to be good Christians who love our neighbors. We come to worship. We support the church.
But for all that we do many of us -- if we're honest -- feel we're holding back on God. There are within us entire regions of unredeemed territory.
There is within us a surprisingly active and enduring insurgency fighting against the rule of God that was established in our hearts when we first came to faith in Christ.
This is what Paul means when he says in Romans 6:19 that we are to "present our members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification."
The NRSV is an accurate translation but it's not an easy one to understand. Put into everyday language Paul is saying: "surrender every part of you to the holiness of God -- leave nothing of yourself to sin".
The British theologian Austin Farrer wrote a prayer containing these words: "Lord Jesus Christ, crucify me on your cross for I cannot do the crucifying myself. Make my sacrifice part of your sacrifice. Nail me to the cross and do not let me slip."
That's a very hard prayer to pray but it's exactly what the Scripture has in mind in Romans 6:19 -- present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.
About his prayer Austin Farrer said, "God wants [this prayer from us], for his delight is in them that fear him, and truly to fear God, to reverence him as his holiness demands, is to make a complete sacrifice of ourselves to him. There is no fear of God that stops short of that.
We are to surrender every part of ourselves to the holiness of God and leave nothing to sin. That is what the word "sanctification" means in Romans 6:19. It means going all the way, not part-way, with ...
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