Romans (Today's New International Version unless otherwise noted)
Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ
No Jesus, we cannot live in sin any more. I have tried. After knowing Your love I returned to sin, and it tore me apart. I did it, but I hated it. It was not the same any more. I felt the death and loneliness the sin brought. The temptation was still there, but sin left me so empty. Thank-you and praise You for changing me so that my soul rejected sin. Open my eyes to the sin I face now. Cleanse me and heal me. Root out the darkness in the corners of my being that I have not given to You. Clean me entirely Lord, for I am no longer to live in sin. Praise You!
3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Live a new life – can there be sweeter words. I look back and see so much turmoil in my life, and yet there is a peace, it can only be from You Lord. It is as if You have given me a life that is not rooted here on earth. I have no home here, and I praise You for it. How can this be? Yet You make it clear that this is as it should be. New life – Your life.
5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with,a that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
Jesus, I feel very dead right now. Hope seems no where to be found. You say we shall rise again, and that is my hope. I hate my life here. I am so tired of the pain of this world. Yet, it is what You have chosen for me. But I do not want to walk around in the gloom of the grave. It is such a poor witness to You and it does not bring You glory. Lord, give me strength and hope and inspire me so I can be a good witness to You. Please Lord, change me and inspire me. Lead me into battle and make me hungry to fight for You. Help me to live in the resurrection, today.
8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
Help me Jesus. I want to die to this life and live a life to You alone, to God. Is that why I am going through this? Am I suppose to learn to pay no attention to this life at all but to only live for You? Perhaps that is my source of hope: do not look at my problems, but look at my God.
11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
Jesus, there is so much here. You know I have acted sometimes like I was a slave to sin. I was dying during that time. I was awful. I loved You, but maybe I loved the sin more. I don't think that was it. I think I just didn't know how to be free. I kept my sins hidden from others and in darkness, and that left them keep their deathly clutch on me.
But You decided that sin should not be my master. You loved me and showed me the way. You taught me that it was You, not my will power, that would set me free. And You did set me free. Alleluia! You showed me that I needed to spend so much time with You and live close to You and pray and be in Your word, that there was no place in my life for sin. You showed me that I need to tell people about my sin and temptations so they were not hidden in darkness. You showed me I needed people around me who would hold me accountable.
So now Lord, I sin, but sin is not my master. You Jesus are my master. You are Lord, and King and Redeemer and Provider and Lover.
Slaves to Righteousness
15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to whic
h you were entrusted. 18You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
Lord Jesus, at first glance I didn't think this was right at all. I thought of all the time in my life when I did love You and I did know You and You knew me, but I was such a slave to pornography. But You showed me that I was not a slave to pornography. All the time I spend there it brought me pain and misery. I did not have peace at all. The guilt was overwhelming, and rightfully so. No Lord, I was a slave to You and righteousness, but I was trying to rebel. You had changed my nature so that when You taught me how to be turn from my habitual sins and turn to You, then I was home and living the life You wanted. I have peace. You do change my very nature and You are the only source of life. Praise You Lord Jesus. Keep me. Do not let me return to my vomit.
19I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.
Jesus, how can I offer what I used to sin with to righteousness now? My eyes have seen, and my ears have heard and my lust have burned with sin. How can those be offered no to You? Show me Lord. Show me how my eyes and ears and passion can be used for You. It seems impossible to me.
But perhaps not: Jesus open my eyes to the pain of others. Let me see their hearts hurting and let me weep with them and love them. Open my ears to the words others speak and know what they really mean. Lead me to the lonely and the desperate and the hurting and somehow use my love to bring them to You.
20When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life inb Christ Jesus our Lord.
Oh Jesus, it is so true. Sin just heaps death's weight upon us. I have sinned so much I know all too well what a huge weight it has been to me. And yet, how much more of a weight has been to You…You actually died for my sins! Lord, keep this picture clear in my mind: sin is death, Yours, mine and my loved ones'. But You are righteousness and life!
a 6 Or be rendered powerless
b 23 Or through