HOW CAN I HAVE A FRESH START WITH GOD?November 20, 2023
What do you think of when you hear the word "SIN"? It typically brings up bad mental thoughts and feelings judged by others. The mindset of God towards sin is different from what we might have experienced. In Romans 6 we see some ideas of how and why we need to think about of own sin. If we are willing to walk in a new way, we can experience a fresh start.
Maybe you've wondered, "Is it really a big deal?" or "Does God even care how I live?". Some can think, if God loves to forgive and give us grace, do we really need to worry about sin? Romans 6 begins with these thoughts and talks about not taking God's grace for granted. We don't want to be like a toxic relationship and abuse God's good grace. Paul continues to write in Romans 6 about this metaphor of slavery. This picture isn't always easy for us to understand because of the history of slavery (which was common when this was written), but the whole idea is who are you serving or who is your master? Will we live to gratify our own selfish or sinful desires or will we follow God making Him the lord of our lives? In verse 12, it says don't let sin reign in our hearts. While we will still mess up and need forgiveness, the focus is to repent and deal with our sin so it doesn't rule over us.
There's a contrast in Romans 6 which talks about being dead to sin and alive in Christ. This chapter ends with talking about the benefit of life found in Christ in contrast to the wages of sin. Sin brings death. This is a reference to eternal death in Hell, but sin also brings death and destruction of our relationships, finances, character, our inner peace, and our minds. We have this gift of life from God when we make Jesus our Lord and Savior. It gives us the gift of eternal life in heaven, but it also gives us benefits in this life. Paul explains that when we walk in God's ways, it leads to holiness and all its benefits. Holiness is about purity. It's living life as the creator God designed it to be lived. When we keep in step with His Spirit, it brings love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control into our lives (Galatians 5). This is the perspective we need to understand: Sin and Holiness isn't a list of religious "do's" and "don'ts". It's a loving God offering us a better way to live that doesn't destroy but it renews. If we want to experience a fresh start, we can't continue to live in the same ways.
The best news is that anyone can have a fresh start. No one desires it. No one can earn it. But God gives life as a gift to anyone who will trust in Him. Check out this picture from Romans 6 for more on this.
You can watch the complete talk on this topic in Week 3 of our series, The Story of God & Us.