The Other Side of Regret


But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.  Romans 6:22

Yesterday’s devotional prompted a lot of you to write to me.  Regret was a powerful topic and most of you expressed why you struggle with it.  You are not having trouble moving on for your own sake, but for the sake of those you hurt.  The consequences of past choices are ever in front of you in the lives of family and friends who are still paying for your bad choices. Continue reading “The Other Side of Regret”

If Only I Could Go Back


But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed?  For the end of those things is death.  Romans 6:20

What are the things you regret?  Regret is a powerful emotion and if I choose to live in it without having placed all my hopes in a God who redeems, I will become depressed and withdrawn.  There were words spoken that I can’t take back.  There were a series of selfish acts that seemed so small at the time but yielded great pain for those around me.  That is the cruelty of sin; what looked like no big deal led me to do it a second time, then a third, and it wasn’t long before guilt became my ever constant companion.  I have thought many times, “If only I could go back and do it right!” Continue reading “If Only I Could Go Back”

When I Don’t Want To


For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.  Romans 6:14

For years, I numbed out to Christian realities like sin and grace.  I knew how they were both defined and I believed I understood them.  However, I had no knowledge of the limitless expanse of sin within myself and the unfathomable expanse of grace within Christ.

I was like a patient who feels mildly ill, goes to the doctor, and just wants a pill for whatever is wrong; not wanting to know how sick they are nor what disease they have. I treated sin like that.  I had a vague sense that I was a sinner but didn’t understand how serious it was.  I was completely unacquainted with myself through the mirror of the Word. Continue reading “When I Don’t Want To”

What Reigns?


Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.  Romans 6:12

To reign is to prevail.  To reign is to rule.  To reign is to have ultimate power.

Sin can reign but only with my permission.  Even though Christ died for it, and I have the choice, and the power granted to me by the Holy Spirit to walk in resurrection life, I can still choose sin and allow it to gain the throne of my life. I think of the many things I have said about my life, or my environment, over the years. Continue reading “What Reigns?”



For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you must also consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.  Romans 6:10-11

I realized this morning in an even deeper way that my generation, the one that has raised children and had prominent positions in the church, has had it backwards.  We have seen the fallout.  Have I discipled others like Jesus?  Have I mentored like Paul?

His message to the Roman Christians is not one long list of ‘Do this and don’t do that!’ In fact, the first five chapters of Romans do not contain one command.  It is all teaching.  Continue reading “Backwards”

Instruction Before Expectation


So you must also consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.  Romans 6:11

I can’t believe it.  This is the first time in the entire book of Romans that Paul told the Roman Christians to do something. There were five whole chapters of instruction before there was an expectation for obedience.  What a foundation Paul laid for us to understand our sin, our relationship to Adam, God’s provision of a Lamb, and what Jesus really gave to us freely when He died.  Now, in light of all this, Paul says, “Consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God, in Christ Jesus!”

Part of what has been wrong with the raising of my generation is that we grew up in authoritarian environments; both within our homes and within the church.  Questions of ‘why’ weren’t tolerated.  If asked, the answer was always, “Because I said so.  Period.” Continue reading “Instruction Before Expectation”

Implications of Good News


We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.  Romans 6:4

I was baptized at 14 in a little country Baptist church in upstate New York.  The familiar scriptures of Romans 6 were recited as I waited to be lowered into the water and then raised with Christ.  I must confess that I had no clue about the implications of what was happening to me.  I could have spouted bare truth, i.e. “buried with Christ and raised to new life in Christ.” Continue reading “Implications of Good News”