Liberated to serve God (Rom.6: 18, 22): Meditation for the third Sunday after trinity
This is a very erroneous understanding and application of the Christian’s freedom. Freedom in Christ means freedom to produce the fruits of righteousness through a Spirit-led lifestyle. When a Christian is delivered from the pangs of the law, the Devil and the world, it is not so that he will entirely be on his own and do whatever he likes. The purpose of his deliverance is for him to be free to serve or become “slave” of his Saviour/Redeemer.
The issue is well discussed in Romans 6:15-23 from where our topic today is derived. Verses 18 and 22 respectively read: “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness” and “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God…” It is, therefore, clearly a case of liberation from one form of slavery to another form of slavery – From being slaves to sin to being slaves to God.
The difference is that the former state leads to death and the new state leads to eternal life (Rom. 6:22-23). Our liberation is, therefore, that we become free to serve God devoid of distractions and inhibitions. It is never a blanket freedom. We are duty bound to yield our entire beings to the service of God, if we are really saved.
Reflections on the Bible Readings for Day
In the OT passage (Deut.7: 6-11), the attention of the people of Israel is drawn to their state as liberated people of God and the implications. It is just by God’s grace and love that they were delivered from slavery in Egypt and Pharaoh’s powers. But that very mighty deliverance work of God has made them a personalised possession of God, Who deals ruthlessly with heady and contemptuous people. They should, therefore, be very careful to adhere to God’s commands, decrees and laws.
In the Epistle (Gal. 3:23-4:7), Paul differentiates between the condition before Christian liberation from the law and the condition thereafter. He was under the law, which served as a warder/guardian leading him to Christ for justification by faith. His liberation from the law, therefore, does not mean becoming lawless, but rather attaining the status of maturity, responsibility, accountability and trust. It is liberation from every encumbrance for a close, intimate and filial relationship with God.
The Gospel (Matt. 6:24-34) is the Lord’s teaching on single mindedness and devotion to God. It is based on the explicit assertion that no one can serve two masters. We are to serve only God and be solely devoted to Him. This means that our liberation from the mastership of the Devil, the world and the flesh is not that we become “masterless,” but that we will have only God as our Lord and Master and love and serve Him with all our hearts.
The Venerable Dr Princewill Onyinyechukwu Ireoba is the Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.
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