Paradoxes abound- Wednesday, 29th week in Ordinary time- Romans 6:12-18
How do you free yourself from sin? Have you ever felt more frustrated and disgusted with repeated sins that you have tried hard to shake off? The problem with battling sin is that we foolishly think that we can work this out or deal with it by ourselves. In order to rid ourselves from sin, in order to detach ourselves from this slavery, we need to attach ourselves slavishly to Christ. Yet this slavish attachment is done in freedom. Paradoxes abound.
Sin is slavery to our wants and to our desires. Paul is calling us to freedom from self though a union with Christ. For Paul, the Christian has entered a new life with Christ who reigns supreme over sin and death. Through baptism we are identified with Christ’s death and resurrection and our very being or self is transformed.
In one sense Paul is telling the Romans that God has already rescued the Christians out of the mud and cleaned them off through the bath of baptism, so that Paul admonishes these same believers to stay out of the mud, to resist any subsequent urge to return to the mud-bath from which they have already been rescued.
Paul in an earlier paragraph feels the need to explain himself. He said, where sin abounds there grace abounds. This for Paul does not mean that we have a license to sin in order to make grace operative. It is not an invitation to seek evil so that good (grace) may come out of it. For Paul where one is in union with Christ, one is “dead to sin and alive to God”. it is the same point that he now labours with regard to freedom from the law. For Paul freedom from the law is not to be translated as freedom to sin; freedom from the law is freedom to server Christ.
But though the Christian is baptized and freed from sin, this freedom is not yet definitive. The Christian can be tempted and can succumb to sin and seduction. Aware of this, Christians are to be instruments of God’s service, not in the cause of sin and death but in the cause of Christ. They are to devote themselves to God and God’s work in the world so that they may continue to grow in God’s grace.
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