devotional, encouragement

Would You Rather?

Have you ever heard kids playing the “Would you rather” game? As if tacos or pizza isn’t a hard enough choice, you get questions like “Would you rather die first or last in a group?” Um, I’d like to stay alive, thanks! 

“Would you rather have your flight delayed by eight hours or lose your luggage?”

“Would you rather be 4’5” or 7’7”? “

“Would you rather spend two weeks stuck in a psychiatric hospital or stuck in an airport?”

“Would you rather have the details of your financial life or your love life be made public?”

Every time I hear choices like that, I say, “Neither!” They all sound so unappealing, and I just can’t figure out the point of the game.

In Romans 6, Paul presents us with a list of either/or choices. But the good news is that these choices are much more palatable! 

Would you rather live like you’re dead or alive? Would you rather live under law or grace? Would you rather live as a slave or free? Would you rather live as unrighteous or righteous?

Yep, me, too! I’ll take the second choice every time! More good news: After we receive Jesus, we already have everything we need to live a holy life. We’re positionally sanctified, and with the Holy Spirit in residence in our bodies, we can live as though we are justified—because we are!

In this doctrinally rich letter to the Romans, Paul encourages them—and us—to live a life worthy of our calling:

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?

Romans 6:1 ESV

So, our dilemma is that we ARE free, and we ARE alive, yet so often we CHOOSE to live as though we were still in darkness! What’s up with that? Even the apostle Paul faced the same dilemma: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:15 ESV).

For further encouragement, Paul’s parting words in this chapter are our well-known reminder of the consequences of our choices:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

Because we have been symbolically buried and raised to new life in Christ, sin no longer has the same power over us that it once did. Are we still tempted to sin? Yep! But we should not be held captive to it.

So what’s the answer? 

That’s what Romans chapter 6 is all about. It’s a reminder that we are to live up to our calling and our standing in Jesus Christ. As Jesus also reminded us, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other” (Luke 16:13 ESV).

Remember that Bob Dylan song, “Gotta Serve Somebody”? Our actions speak louder than our words about whom we are serving. The truth is, we ARE serving someone. Who will it be?

Because we have been set free from sin, we need to live like it! It’s not impossible or unreasonable. We can choose to live a holy life—with God’s help.

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

Romans 6:22 ESV

Pray and Reflect

  • Romans 6—Read and reflect on the full context.
  • Galatians 5:13–26
  • Ephesians 2:1–10

Questions for Reflection

  • How have you been tempted to go along with the crowd and made sinful choices as a result?
  • If you’re married, how would your spouse feel if you went out and acted as if you were single? How does God feel when you act as if you’re still dead under the Law?
  • What sin(s) do you need to repent of that are keeping you from living a life fully devoted to God?

*Content also featured on the Beyond Sunday Blog.*