Lord, You have loosed my bonds; lead me in Your ways. Amen.
Text: Romans 6:19-22
I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
The unconverted are servants of the devil and yield their members to be his instruments. He uses them as servants for his impurity and unrighteousness, and what they do in darkness would embarrass them even before the eyes of the world. They do not consider that God sees everything, and they do not feel how sad it is that their noble soul, which should be a temple of the Holy Spirit, is Satan’s dwelling place, and that their members, which God gloriously created for good, are used in the service of evil. But “the end of these things is death,” that is, eternal condemnation and separation from the Lord. Those who serve the prince of death receive their reward from him, and he has only death with which to reward them. Miserable service and horrible reward! In the meantime he dupes them with dreams of glory and teaches them to make great speeches about liberty.
But if slaves of sin serve the devil in all impurity and unrighteousness, then shouldn’t the believers serve the Lord in all purity and truth? Your whole way of life should show that you are freed from sin and have become God’s servant. Righteousness from your heart should control all your members. Your eyes should never again serve lust, your ears should close themselves to impurity and lying, your tongue should speak only truth and good words, your hands should always do what is right and merciful! Then, though your members are weak and dying, they are still imperishable. Your pure eyes shall see God in eternal light. Your tongue which speaks the Lord’s praise shall sing the song of the Lamb in heaven. Your hand which here served love shall pick fruit from the tree of life in the new Jerusalem. Everything is pure grace! You are freed from sin, it is grace. You are servants of God. It is grace. You shall harvest in its season, as far as you are not weary. What is that but the grace of God? Everything in the Lord’s house is freedom, everything is a gift, no one is a hired servant, all are children, everything is undeserved, and everything is received as such. The servants of self-righteousness and of works are excluded. “The wages of sin is death,” – there is reward and payment, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord,” that is not reward — but a gift of grace.
God, give us Your Spirit. Where He is, there is freedom, there is love, there is holiness. We pray You sincerely: hear us in grace for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
O search your heart to see
If Jesus there is speaking;
The Christian’s life should be
The true faith e’er revealing;
Faith makes us righteous first,
Then holy, set afire
To bring forth true good works.
Is this your sure desire?
O Jesus, strengthen me,
True faith forever giving;
May all my actions be
A holy life and living.
For where there is true light
The splendor must show true;
O teach me then aright
Always to follow You.
Breithaupt: Forsøger eder selv L 494:8-9 tr. DeGarmeaux;
tune: O Gott du frommer Gott (ELH 470); alternate hymn: Not what these hands have done ELH 433