Topic:A New Master
For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
Why does Paul bring in the Law? He brings in the Law because he is dealing with one of the most basic problems of the Christian struggle, the thing that often depresses and discourages us more than anything else — the sense of condemnation we feel when we sin. The Law produces condemnation. The Law says that unless you live up to this standard, God will not have anything to do with you. We have been so engrained with this that when we sin, even as believers, we think God is angry and upset with us and he doesn’t care about us. We think that way about ourselves, and we become discouraged and defeated and depressed. We want to give up.
But Paul says that is not true. Believers are not under Law, and God does not respond that way toward us. We are under grace. God understands our struggle. He is not upset by it; he is not angry with us. He understands our failure. He knows that there will be a struggle and there will be failures. He also knows that he has made full provision in Christ for us to recover immediately, to pick ourself up, and go right on climbing up the mountain. Therefore, as his beloved child, you and I don’t need to be discouraged, and we won’t be.
Sin will not be your master because you are not under law and condemnation, but under grace. And even though you struggle, if, every time you fail, you come back to God and ask his forgiveness, and accept it from him, and remember how he loves you, and that he is not angry or upset with you, and go on from there, you will win.
I will never forget how, as a young man in the service during World War II, I was on a watch one night, reading the book of Romans. This verse leaped out of the pages at me. I remember how the Spirit made it come alive, and I saw the great promise that all the things I was struggling with as a young man would ultimately be mastered — not because I was so smart, but because God was teaching me and leading me into victory. I remember walking the floor, my heart just boiling over with praise and thanksgiving to God. I walked in a cloud of glory, rejoicing in this great promise: “Sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”
Looking back across the years since that night, I can see that God has broken the grip of the things that mastered me then. Other problems have come in, with which I still struggle. But the promise remains: “Sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”
How grateful I am, Father, for this word of assurance that as one who is in Christ I need not be discouraged and need not fail, for there is nothing that can separate me from the love of God which is in Jesus Christ our Lord.
When our sins are exposed by the Law, where do we go with our burden of guilt? Are we learning to live in the forgiveness and liberating power of God’s grace? Are we captured by God’s unrelenting Love?