22 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.23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Funny, today a friend of ours died. And this passage on eternal life spoke to me. I was thinking Romans 7, when instead it was Romans 6. Actually, I’m probably thinking of a verse from one of the Gospels, because I mentally cross reference everything thru the Gospels.
But, as always, God gives us what we need when we need it. So, our friend died. He has been ill for quite a while but seemed to be rallying back. And we were excited and expectant that we’d see him more frequently – probably, he know that wasn’t so. He got all his stuff in order – saw his friends/family/church family again and then allowed himself to let go –
Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Paul says so. The law of the Spirit has set you free. It’s in Romans 8. Do we remember who Paul is? Paul reminds me a bit of Peter. Simon was the humanest of humans as far as I am concerned. The apostle, disciple who made all the mistakes *I* would make if I were following Jesus in that day and age. Paul is humanest of humans because (as Jim says) he did all the wrong things until Christ stopped him…well, Jim might not have said that exactly, but it’s what I think he meant. I’ll comment if it wasn’t…”Saul, why do you persecute me?” And what does Saul (for reference, that’s Paul’s Hebrew name, the one he had before he was forever changed by the life of Jesus Christ) say? Yeah, what we’d all probably say…”Who are you?”
I relate to Simon Peter a bit more – I would be the one saying, “NO LORD, I would NEVER deny you!” And yet….when the rooster crows, I have to hide my face in shame. I was writing something else today and I was reminded of Peter being forgiven…after Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus repeatedly asks Peter if he loves him. “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Each time (3 times…hmmm…three times denied, three times asked if he loves…interesting, huh?) Peter replies with ever growing grief at the Lord asking him this over and over. Feed my lambs. Tend my sheep. Feed my sheep.
Even when faced with the seemingly unforgivable guilt and shame Peter felt – Jesus chose him to be “the rock” he would build his church on. The most human of us can be someone who leads – and leads with a Christian heart and mind.
Our friend that passed today – he was actually a leader. He was a leader in the communities we are involved with. A man of God who, at this point in time, knew he was ready to be with his Heavenly Father. And he returned home singing his favorite worship songs (Breathe was one I knew he loved….)
What more could we ask for – coming home, with love and a song in our hearts…