Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Romans 6:1-14 in the New Living Translation (NLT). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: When I finished my undergraduate degree, I had accumulated a large debt. Because of my citizenship status, I could not get any federal loans and, by the time I was close to graduating, the school made a deal with me to allow me to finish. They would let me finish my degree, and, in turn, I would work for enrollment services until I paid off the remainder of my bill.
So I worked—and every day I lived for the moment when the debt would not reign as Lord over me. Every paycheck went to my debt, with the exception of a small portion that covered my room and board. I often dreamt of when I wouldn’t have to worry about that monstrous bill devouring my livelihood. It didn’t seem like it would ever get paid off.
Then one day it happened. I was called into the finance backroom. My finance officer handed me a slip and, with excitement, exclaimed that my bill was paid in full! My debt no longer mastered my life! I could go anywhere I wanted to go now. I could keep working for the school, but at my discretion and not because my debt demanded it of me. We hugged! We cried! She shared my joy and relief as I was released from the ever-looming debt that had dictated the limitations of my life for so long.
I imagine that Paul’s words, “sin will no longer have dominion over you,” provide an overwhelming sense of relief to most of us. This is cause for great joy! As we journey along over the next few days, consider how sin no longer has power to dictate your life. Too often we are hindered by our exhausting awareness of our sin or of the law. Paul removes these options from the table. You are free!
The first year following my final payment was a year of relearning how to live without the dominion of my debt. I would constantly forget that my debt was paid. I cut back on living expenses, worked extra hours, stayed overly frugal, and felt like I had to borrow money often. My community had to keep reminding me that I wasn’t “poor” anymore.
Even after we are freed from the dominion of sin, it is easy to forget that it no longer has a hold over us. We are tempted to return to our old ways. It can be challenging to remember that we are free. One role we have as members of a faith community is to regularly remind each other that we are free. And if you have forgotten it lately, let me remind you: You are free!
Recalibrate: What is the implication of freedom from sin? How does it translate into your everyday living? What is the difference between living free from the dominion of sin and “perfection” theology?
Respond: Pray that God reveals the true depth of grace that frees us from the dominion of sin.
Research: The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller is an excellent read and reminder of God’s love.
Remember: “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14, ESV).
Iki Taimi is the lead pastor at Gardena Genesis Community Church—a congregation that he planted in the Southern California Conference (SCC). He has a deep passion for young adults and creative ministries and serves as the SCC’s chairperson for Young Adult and Senior Youth Ministries and co-founded the secular collegiate ministry C3. He is married to Melanie and they have two beautiful children, Mikayla and Lio. Iki loves people, food, and Jesus.
Tickle your little one’s tummy. Show them your belly button, then tickle theirs. Belly buttons are the funniest things, especially when you tickle them. Tell your child that this button was how they got food before they were born. Pretty amazing, hey? This button is a sign of where we have been. Now we get to choose when to eat and sleep and play.
Have you ever been given a new toy in a box? Have you noticed how the toy is held tightly in place with plastic and you cannot cut the plastic unless you have the right tools? Sometime the toys are even held in place by a screw. There is no escaping for those toys. Our words to remember for this week are found in Romans 6:14, and they tell us that sin has no dominion over us. Unlike the ties that hold the toys down, sin cannot hold you down because Jesus lives in your heart. You are free to play like Jesus designed you to.
When you think about someone being free of sin, what kind of person comes to mind? For me, I always imagined a stiff, serious person who does everything correctly. Paul talks about a newfound freedom when we are under God’s grace. What kind of role does Christ’s law have in your life? Do Christ’s laws bring you more or less joy?