How do we experience resurrection in our earthly life? We often think of our eternal life beginning when our mortal life ends. But Paul’s words in Romans 6 call us to walk in newness of life now. How do we do that?
We might begin with Paul’s words in verse 9: “We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.” Christ now lives free of death; death has no authority over him, or over us. In a later verse in this chapter, Paul will urge his readers not to let sin have dominion over their mortal bodies.
Dominion is often translated as “lordship” or “sovereignty.” Its root is the word from which we get domestic, the word for home and family life. So Paul asks us who rules our home. That’s a great question, and it extends beyond sin and righteousness, though those are important distinctions. Paul would likely take it further than that, to urge us not to be ruled by fear, but by trust; not by scarcity but by generosity; to live as members of our community, not in a walled-off fortress protecting us from the contagion of otherness.
Paul believes that God made us for freedom. Though doubt and fear will find their way into our hearts, as we grow more experienced in living out our faith, we can have confidence that sin has no dominion over our house. Having died with Christ to sin, we have also been raised with him and can walk in the newness of our resurrected life with joy.
O God, for the newness of life possible in Christ, we give you thanks and praise. Help us to walk in confidence of the freedom we have obtained through your infinite loving-kindness. Amen.
The story of Isaac and Ishmael resounds through human history down to today. According to Genesis, tensions between the descendants of Isaac and the descendants of Ishmael go back to the lifetime of Abraham himself. These are complex issues, and we are wise to understand them theologically, not just politically. The psalmist calls out to God from a place of desperation, yet even in desperation there is confident hope in God. Paul attacks a theology of “cheap grace” in Romans. Yes, God forgives us; but this does not give us license to do whatever we want. When we are joined to Christ, we die to ourselves. Jesus tells his disciples that following him is a sort of death. We sacrifice a life under our own control yet find something much greater.
Read Genesis 21:8-21. Consider an action you regret or wish you’d handled differently. How might a daily examen practice help you correct or move on from your mistakes?
Read Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17. With whom do you need to reconcile? How might this psalm help you begin that process?
Read Romans 6:1b-11. Consider the author’s question, “What does freedom from sin look like?” Allow the author’s suggestions and questions to guide your searching for an answer.
Read Matthew 10:24-39. How do you see the tension Jesus identifies between inclusion and separation in your Christian life today?
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