But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.

Romans 6: 22

 

Of course, Paul is talking about our relationship with Christ and the way that entering into Christ’s death and resurrection works in us to create profound change. The nature and the identity of people who know Christ is changed and we are set free from unending slavery to the sinfulness of our birth nature. In Christ we are made free to live in the love, truth, and righteousness of that new identity that is formed by God and made real in us by Christ’s presence within us. In Christ there is far more freedom than there is in our old lives; yet, we are still governed and mastered by God.

 

Perhaps the most significant difference for us in being subjects of Christ as opposed to being subjects to our old natures is found in the results that we enjoy as we follow each of these masters. The first path leads to self-centered and protective thinking and actions. It uses relationships to achieve gain; so, it also tends to devalue and to discard them when they seem used up. In contrast, God values relationships to the point of giving all in order to enter into them with people. In Christ, we can be transformed into people who willingly do the same. There is much more about us that is changed in our relationship with Christ from the life that we lived before we knew Him.

 

Yet all of this change leads in one direction. We are taken out of a life that leads to death both in the conduct and the outcomes of this life and a death that continues throughout eternity. In Christ we are placed into the fullness of life that is experienced in these mortal days and then fully known in the unending realm of eternity. This life in Christ provides us with the reward of the sweet fruit of God’s Spirit that includes peace, hope, and love. The experience and enjoyment of these gifts is something that grows and increases as we continue to submit ourselves to Christ so that He continues to work within us to bring about the transformation from our old selves into people who live more fully in the expression of our new persons in Christ.

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