Guest Blogger: Jason Helopoulos
One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Romans 6. I heard Romans 6 explained for the first time in a seminary classroom. The professor walked us through this chapter and as he did a true joy and peace began to occupy my heart and mind. It was one of those moments where I wanted the class to go on forever and also end as soon as possible. When the class did conclude I ran out the door, skipped my next class, and raced home to walk (or more accurately—“run”) my wife through Romans 6. She was gracious and listened as her young seminary student husband seized by zeal and enthusiasm rushed through a teaching of Romans 6. The lesson was probably lost in the moment, but I just had to share this new knowledge with someone.
The truth that was opened to me that day was that I am not only free from the guilt of sin, but also its reign and power. Paul uses “regal” language in Romans 6 (i.e. dominion, reign, under, etc.). In so doing he personifies sin as if it was a king sitting upon the throne. What struck me that day is that where sin once sat on the throne of my heart and life, grace now sits. In Christ, sin is no longer my sovereign. It is no longer my master. I am no longer a slave to sin having to obey its every enticement and command. I have been set free.
Our new found freedom in Christ is one of the most liberating doctrines of the Christian faith. And we need to have a full view and understanding of this freedom. In the Reformed community there has been quite an emphasis of late on the freedom we have in Christ from the guilt of sin. Thank God! That is essential in our gospel preaching and teaching. But let us with equal force remind one another that we have been set free from the reign and power of sin as well. This is just as essential to our gospel preaching and teaching.
In Christ I have been set free from the guilt of sin, but not that alone. I have also been set free from its reign and power. When we think about the gospel, speak of proclaiming the gospel, and encourage one another in the gospel, we need to remember that the gospel proclaims that we are set free from sin in Christ—free from its guilt, its reign, and its power. Let us teach, preach, and encourage one another in the full spectrum of our freedom from sin in Christ. What joy, peace, and godly living emerges from such knowledge.