WE ARE WHO WE CHOOSE TO BE
“Do you not know that if you yield yourselves to any one as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness” (Romans 6:16). When God created man, he placed within him the nature of a free moral agency. Man could make decisions and choose his own path. Adam and Eve chose to eat the forbidden fruit as an expression of their freedom to choose to be what they desired to be. It was this nature that Satan appealed and won the temporary victory over man. Temptation that brings about sin is not a charge that can be laid at God’s feet “for God cannot be tempted with evil and He himself tempts no one; but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire” (James 1:13,14).
We are the kind of persons we choose to be. If we want to live apart from the blessings of God – that is our choice. When we desire to live within the framework of God’s laws to receive His blessings – that is our choice. Yielding our hearts to sin or to righteousness is a decision we make on our own accord. The difficulty is trying to make the judgment that will bring the greatest happiness and reward. We become slaves of what we choose to become. There are only two choices to make in this arena: one is death, and one leads to righteousness.
The conflict is where we find ourselves yielding. Sin is a powerful aphrodisiac that draws men into a quicksand of death. Submitting oneself to the enslaving power of sin will only bring death. The lie told to Eve in Genesis 3 still holds sway over the hearts of men as the sentence of death is not understood in the truth given by God. Adam and Eve were told that eating the forbidden fruit would bring death but the devil assured Eve she would not die. She did not die; at least as the devil explained it. The Lord meant spiritual death and man died that day when they yielded themselves as obedient slaves to the will of Satan.
The decision of Adam and Eve was their decision and their decision alone. They could not blame God. Yielding to the influence of sin brought about separation from God. The history of man is marked with the rebellion of those who were obedient slaves of sin and found death in their choice to live apart from the blessings of God. Man has always had a choice to seek life or find death. “See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil” (Deuteronomy 30:15). The freedom of choice can bring joy. The same nature that destroys man in a quagmire of sin can also release him from the chains of death. Yielding ourselves as obedient slaves to obedience will lead to righteousness and that is a choice we can make, if we desire. The Lord does not wish that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9) and this allows man’s free moral agency to find peace in seeking righteousness. We can be saved. We can find peace. We can look to salvation in Jesus Christ. When I remove the chains of sin and take up the chains of righteousness, I have voluntarily placed myself under the care of a loving Master. Jesus died to give me this choice. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). The decision is mine to make, remain a servant of sin or become a servant of God.