“We confess that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves.” Many people wrestle with this confession from the Lutheran Book of Worship. On one hand, we know we are sinners. On the other hand, we are freed from the consequence of sin through Christ Jesus. Truth be told, we have not loved God with all our heart, nor our neighbors as ourselves.
Paul teaches that freedom comes only through Jesus’ death on the cross. As we renounce sinful behavior, we put to death the desires of the flesh. Renunciation of evil is a baptismal vow; it is also an everyday discipline. Paul reminds us of the Christian’s war against sin (Gal 5:17). Our sinful nature tempts us to live according to works of the flesh. These works are condemned by the Law. However, redeemed by Christ, we are free to reject sin and live by the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). When our sinful nature suggests dishonesty, we shout, “No!” When gossip begs repeating, we say, “No way!” and speak only truth in love.
Through Christ, renouncing evil puts to death our sinful nature, which leads to life in the Spirit. Life in the Spirit leads us to eternal life.
Prayer: Christ our Lord, guide us by your Spirit that we might turn from sin and live for you alone. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by David Nuottila,
Pastor of Union Lutheran Church in Salisbury, NC.