You’ve just taken the big step. You placed your faith in Jesus Christ. You are probably wondering what’s next. The first answer is that there are a lot of things you could do. This is a relationship with a living God, not a to-do list. But, there are a few important concepts to incorporate into your thinking. You’ll find these concepts throughout scripture, developed in various ways. We are going to explore them as they appear in the book of Romans, chapters 5-8. In Romans 1-4, the Apostle Paul describes what the gospel is: the grace of God made available in Jesus Christ. For the purpose of this blog, I’m assuming you have a basic understanding of the gospel and that you have received Christ Jesus as your Lord and your Savior. Now you need to understand what the gospel does to you. This is the subject of Romans 5-8. We will examine this text in four parts.
Part 2: New Purpose
A new identity (see part 1) leads to a new way of living focused around a new purpose. Romans 6:15-23 explains this purpose using slavery terminology. Whereas we once were slaves to sin, we are now slaves to God. Slavery of any kind sounds offensive at first but it is an effective way to communicate the extent to which God wishes to have authority in our lives. He wants everything. This sounds radical but remember, this is the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good God who made you in the first place and who is now calling you to give yourself back to him. He knows better than you do what you need to thrive. This is one case where slavery is a good thing.
I wear around a signet ring with a cross on it. It is something I started doing around my tenth anniversary in ministry. It was inspired by a journal entry I wrote as I pondered God’s calling for the next ten years of my life. In that entry, I admonished myself to, “Look at what you have, all of it, as belonging to God.” The signet ring serves as a reminder that who I am and what I do belongs to God. The stamp on it is not an “A” for Andrew, but a cross for Christ. I don’t belong to myself or to any other person or movement in this world. I belong to Christ. All of me. My purpose is to serve him.
Such radicalism may be hard to embrace. Becoming a slave to Christ is a process (and I, for one, have a long, long way to go). But you can accelerate this process consistently challenging yourself to take spiritual risks. Experiment with your relationship with God this week. What can you enslave to Christ right now? Time, treasure, talent, heart, soul, strength or mind? Take a risk and see what it is like to live under a new master. And as you begin to experience his goodness, you will be inspired to give him more and more. In the often paradoxical outworking of the God’s ways, it is in this “slavery” that you will find true freedom.