We are all familiar with the image of a street preacher standing on a box screaming about eternal death and damnation for those who do not repent. It may be hard to hear that way, but those words are true.
Read Romans 6:19-23. Focus on verse 23.
What does Paul mean when he says the Romans offered parts of themselves?
What fruit do you think the Romans were ashamed of? (See v. 21.)
Why do you suppose Paul says that fruit led to death?
What does it mean to be enslaved to God?
What fruit or characteristics do you believe come from Christ’s righteousness?
Do you see any of those things in your life? Why or why not?
What are the wages of sin?
What is the gift of God?
Have you received God’s gift?
When I was growing up, I often heard verse 23 used to scare us into obeying God. It was such a heavy verse, pointing out so blatantly that all sin really brings us is death.
But as I have grown, I have learned that this verse actually expresses God’s love. Because God loves me, He has given me eternal life through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. He has provided salvation, forgiveness, and His Holy Spirit to guide me to make daily choices that honor Him and point to eternal life. When I do make choices that lead to death (every time I sin), His Spirit convicts me so I can seek repentance. God has provided a way for me to choose life each day and for eternity. Listen to the Holy Spirit as you go about your day today. Choose life!
Have you ever thought something like this: “I can tell this little white lie now. I will ask Jesus to forgive me later”? If you have, did you notice it was easier to lie the next time? Did you start to notice a pattern? Whenever you were in a pinch, you probably found it easier and easier to shoot off another lie.
Read Romans 6:15-18. Look at verse 17.
Do you see Christ just as the Person to ask for forgiveness for a sin you continually choose to repeat? Why or why not?
What do these verses teach you about that kind of attitude?
Why is forgiveness a gift you shouldn’t take for granted?
How does your life show God’s grace is precious? Explain.
Today’s reading says the Romans “obeyed from the heart.” Does that mean that the Romans were afraid of Christ or that they loved Him? Explain.
What’s the reason for your obedience to God? Explain.
The word “pattern” in verse 17 refers to the teaching the Romans received. A pattern is predictable and recurring. If you live by the pattern taught in Scripture, your life will be predictable and consistent. You know you love Christ, and you know how He is calling you to live—and you obey from the heart. That means that the reason you’re obedient to God isn’t because you think you have to, that being “good” will earn you His favor, or that the way to live the Christian life is to follow a bunch of rules. It means that you obey Christ’s commands out of love, recognizing who He is and what He has done for you. When you understand the cost Christ paid to set you free from sin and the depth of His love for you, you simply can’t pursue a life characterized by sin.
It’s brand new. Silver! It is the hottest car in town. When you put the top down, people can see that you are the driver of the new car everyone is talking about. You drive slowly down Main Street. Your cousin waves you down. He asks to take your car for a spin. You remember all the cars he has dented the past few months. But he is your cousin. He has your best interests in mind, doesn’t he? You offer him the keys.
“Yeah right!” I hear you say as you read this. But don’t we do that all the time? Offer the keys of our heart to a driver who doesn’t have our best interests in mind?
Read Romans 6:12-14. Look again at verse 12.
What does it mean to let sin rule in your body?
How have you seen this play out in your life?
Do you think that your musical tastes or your movie or Internet habits show who reigns in your life? Why or why not?
When friends hear you talk, whom do they suppose rules your heart? Explain.
In the way you speak to your teachers and parents, is it obvious that Christ rules your heart? Why or why not?
Does Christ reign in your study and work habits? Explain.
Think of your heart as a huge parking garage. There are many cars in it, and each one represents an attitude, an activity, or some other facet of your life. Christ died for you so He can drive each one of these cars. But you may have said to Him, “You can drive this old truck but not this sports car.”
The point? If Jesus isn’t in control of every part of your life, He isn’t your King. That’s what today’s Scripture passage is about. If sin is reigning in your life, Christ isn’t in control. What areas of your life are you withholding from Jesus’ control? Give them to Him today!
The sunrise this morning took my breath away. Along the horizon there were a few clouds, metallic pink on the backdrop of a pink and yellow sky. A nice cold morning here at camp! The breeze was invigorating. I felt so alive. I knew God was with me.
Read Romans 6:8-11. Notice verse 8.
When do you feel most alive? In nature? With friends? At a worship service?
Are you aware in those moments that God is with you? Why or why not?
Do you think God gives us those moments to remind us of the truth that He is always with us, even when we do not feel Him?
How do you feel knowing God is always with you, living with you?
What does it really mean to live with God?
Are you aware that Christ is with you at school? At the movies? Everywhere? Explain.
How is it that we still are tempted to sin even though we died to sin?
Today’s verse tells us that because we died with Christ to sin He now lives with us. When you live with someone, they know all the very best and the very worst about you. They know what you do and don’t like. They know what buttons to push to make you instantly furious. They know what fills you with happiness.
Christ knows all about you, inside and out, and still loves you thoroughly. As today’s Scripture passage points out, while our sin is the reason for Jesus’ death, we did nothing to bring about the resurrection—yet we get to share in the fruit of it, eternal life. What a miracle! Let that truth sink in today. Live each moment for God!
When you hear the word slave, what picture pops into your head? I see a poorly clothed man or woman who is skinny, bruised, and ashamed. Hands tied behind the back. Head down. Eyes on the floor. There is no hope and no escape in store for him or her.
Read Romans 6:5-7. Pay attention to verse 6.
What comes to mind when you read the phrase “enslaved to sin”?
Do you believe you have been freed from the slavery of sin? Why or why not?
Did you live yesterday like your old self had been crucified with Christ? Explain.
Is there something you would have done differently yesterday if you had remembered you are no longer a slave to sin?
Do you have a habit that you are unable to break even though you have accepted Christ into your life? If you do, consider asking someone you can trust to help you with it.
How will your life be different today by remembering you are free from sin?
The words “for we know” in our passage (v. 6) today are so important. Often that is the reason we stray back to old, sinful habits: we forget what we know. And when we forget, we act as slaves, helplessly doing what our sinful desires demand. We have to remember what we know! We know that our old selves have been crucified with Christ.
I have a ring a dear friend gave me. I wear it to remind me of what I know. Every time I look at it, I am reminded of whom I belong to and how I should honor Christ with my life. Would a symbol help you remember what you know? What will you choose, and what will it remind you of?
Finally, after two months, the helicopter spotted you and rescued you from the tiny, forsaken island! Relief flooded you from head to toe. Last night was the first night you spent back in your own bed.
When the morning sun flooded the room, you opened your eyes. Laid out on a chair were new jeans and a T-shirt in your favorite colors and brands. You smiled. As you got up to put them on, you saw in the trash can the tatters that had been your clothes as a castaway. You pulled them out, smelly and torn. You stared at them fondly for a minute. Then you put them on and walked downstairs.
Crazy? Yes! But not as crazy as living in death and defeat after you have received new life in Christ.
Christ has rescued us from sin and given us a new set of clothes to put on each day. When we get up each day, we have a decision to make. We can reach for old tatters (like an old attitude that constantly reminds you that you aren’t worth anything)—or we can reach for the attitude of Christ that reassures us we are significant because He loves us and has rescued us.
Do you have a favorite attitude that you put on each day? What is it? Now think about what attitude Christ would have you wear instead. You have been rescued from that! Live like it today!
What about in your everyday life? As a believer, what does victory have to do with your day-to-day life?
Read Romans 8:31-39. Memorize verse 37.
What does this passage teach you about God and His love for you?
Of all the things in verses 35-39 that we think can separate us from God’s love, which ones do you deal with the most?
What steps will you take to let God’s love wash over you in those situations?
What do these verses teach you about how you should live your life? Do you have to be trapped by fear, sin, or persecution?
If you truly lived like a victorious Christian, how would it change your life?
Over what areas of your life do you need to allow God to have victory?
Life is hard. Tough times will come, sometimes because of what you believe. But you don’t have to be afraid. Your life should be defined by an overwhelming sense of victory because of what Christ has already done. If you’re a believer, you don’t have to be afraid of death, persecution, or anguish. Jesus has already defeated all of these things through His life, death, and resurrection. You can be strong and faithful in the middle of it all because your faith is built on Christ, the Victor.
YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME! Have you ever heard a younger sibling , camper, or little kid say these words to you? That just goes to show that it’s human nature to resist authority. We all want our own way!
How do you handle authority in your life? Do you always do what your parents ask you to do without complaining? Do you treat your teachers, counselors, and authority with respect? Are you careful to obey traffic laws? The Bible gives us specific instructions about relating to authorities in our lives.
Read Romans 13:1-7. Take a closer look at verse 1.
Who is required to submit to the governing authorities?
According to these verses, what is the relationship between God and those in authority?
What happens if we refuse to obey governing powers?
Do “governing authorities” include parents and school authorities? Explain.
What should we do if those in authority rule against Christian principles?
Paul wrote this letter to the Romans in a time of religious persecution and dishonest government. The message is as clear today as it was then: God directs us to submit to the ruling authorities even if they are not perfect examples of good leadership. By doing this, Christians can be good citizens and will not bring punishment on themselves.
These guidelines apply as much today as they did in the past. By listening to parents, respecting school officials, and obeying laws, we are submitting to the authority that God has allowed in our lives. Maybe people will see something different in our lives and wonder why we treat those in authority with such respect. This may introduce them to the most important authority in our lives, Jesus Christ.
Read This Passage: Romans 8:36-39
“No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us.” —Romans 8:37
Imagine yourself as a soldier. Not in Ridgecrest Sockwar from last summer, but in the middle east, in the middle of a war. The enemy lines are quickly approaching as you await your commander’s order from the depths of the trenches. Your heart races; your palms grow clammy; sweat begins to pour from your forehead. A fierce battle seems imminent. As the advancing army begins to get louder, you look toward your commander, still waiting on his lead. Just when you think they can’t get any closer, your commander stands above the trench, aims his rifle, and fires. You jump to your feet, but when you peek above the trench, what you see is astonishing. With just one shot, your commander has overtaken an entire army. The enemy lines have fallen.
As Scripture says, “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Rom. 8:31b). You see, this passage clearly shows us that we are on the winning team—we are more than victorious because of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection! We are the champions.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Nothing today or tomorrow, no difficulty, no sin, no terrorism, no natural disaster, no circumstance, no amount of money, not even death itself can separate us from our Father’s love. When God sent His only Son to die for you and me, He proved His immeasurable love for us.
Life is hard and often unfair. It’s pretty easy to watch the evening news or read the latest headlines and get depressed. You may not feel like a champion, even though you belong to Christ, when everything seems to be falling apart.
Know this: God loves you more than you will ever fully comprehend. Life is hard, but you don’t have to live in doubt with Him as your Commander.
All too often, we allow circumstances to alter our view of our relationship with God. Write out Romans 8:37-39 and place it where you will regularly see it this week. Make it your goal to memorize it to help you remember its truth even in difficult times.
Check out 1 John 2:12-14. What do these verses teach you about the victory you have in Christ?
Ask God to calm your heart and mind. Thank Him that we are more than conquerors because of His great love for us. Ask Him to help you rest under His command and let Him lead.