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Weekly Wisdoms for the week of February 9, 2009

The way you become free from sin is by becoming a slave to righteousness.

Paul, in one of the most quoted verses of Scripture, makes clear that every person has sinned: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Indeed, your sins hold you so deeply in bondage that they bring death to you: you were dead in your sins (Colossians 2:13).

Every one of us was born a slave to sin, but God offers to free us from that. How? We can choose to become slaves to righteousness: When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. ... But now ... you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God (Romans 6:20,22).

In other words, your default human nature is to follow sin and to consistently choose sin. The way you break free from sin is by following God and consistently choosing God; that is, you become a "slave" to God (to righteousness).

One of the results of being a "slave" to God is being made righteous and holy: God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). In other words, when we are freed from bondage to sin by giving ourselves to Christ, a transaction occurs: we are changed from being sinners (i.e., slaves to sin who occasionally mess up and do something right) into being holy ones (i.e., righteous slaves to God who occasionally mess up and do something wrong).

When this transaction occurs—that is, when you become a slave to righteousness—you are made holy, made righteous, cleansed, forgiven, and freed from all sin. Therefore, the way you become free from sin is by becoming a holy one, which happens by turning your life over to Christ and wholeheartedly following Him, thus becoming a slave to righteousness.

The more you doubt, the more you'll have to live without.

Complaining is one of the worst traps that many Christians fall into. A complainer thinks, "I can't stand my boss. If she would only treat me better, I'd be happy. I hate this traffic. Why can the government improve traffic flow with all the tax money I pay?" This is a deceptive trap because it leads one to believe that life would be better if something would be different. However, it is far more productive for to believe that God can change the situation than to doubt him.

This trap of complaining is the same trap that the Israelites fell into. They were not satisfied with what God had given them and they continually wanted more. Psalm 106:12-15 is a great example of what happens to people who are unthankful and always want more: Then they [Israel] believed his promises and sang his praise. But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his counsel. In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wasteland they put God to the test. So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease upon them.

That passage refers the Israelites' persistent request for food, water, and other basic resources. They didn't trust God; they doubted his ability to provide and tested him. So, because of their doubt, God sent a wasting disease upon them. Furthermore, for forty years God withheld the promised land from them. Their doubt caused them to live without.

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