Read Romans 6:15-23
Cost Benefit Analysis
What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are
now ashamed of? Those things result in death!
Digging Deeper: Most of us struggle with it; a blessed few don’t—or at least that’s what they say. I’m talking, of course, about our struggle with sin. Even though we have been redeemed from our sins, credited with Jesus’ righteousness, set from the law of sin and death, given a new identity and a glorious destiny in Christ, we tend to drift back into the sins that once held us in bondage before our salvation. That’s how powerful sin is and how susceptible we are to sin’s pull.
Now please understand that I am not excusing the inevitable surrender to sin. I am only explaining it. Sin seems to win a fair share of skirmishes with us, and if it weren’t for God’s grace and the reality of unlimited forgiveness (I John 1:9), we’d be toast!
But as satisfying as grace and forgiveness are, I want more! I want to be free from all sin. I don’t want to lose any more skirmishes. I don’t want sin to have any more dominion over me—not in the least.
Now is that really possible? Is my total and complete sanctification possible? Of course, our positional sanctification before God is an accomplished fact—remember, we’ve been credited with Christ’s righteousness, and as a result, we can’t get any more righteous than that before God! What I’m talking here is practical sanctification. In my every day, moment-by-moment life, can I be totally and completely free from sin and holy in my Christian walk?
Some would say yes; most would say that’s not possible—and I tend to side with the latter. But here’s what I do know for sure: One of the strongest antidotes to the ongoing and habitual sin in my life is the spiritual discipline of doing a cost-benefit analysis before I commit the sin. That’s what Paul is asking us to do in Romans 6:21. If in everything we do—whether it be acts of righteousness, or simple errors of judgment, or the outright plunge into sin—the inalterable law of sowing and reaping is in effect (so says Galatians 6:8-9), then wouldn’t it be wise to first stop to consider the outcome of our actions?
And Paul is very clear about the outcome of sin. Romans 6:23 reminds us that “the wages of sin is death…” Not a pleasant outcome, is it? Ultimately, those who continue in sin will suffer eternal separation from God in a Christless eternity. But even for those of us who have been redeemed, not making an all out effort to overcome sin will mean death to the fullness and favor of God that he’s promised to those who overcome. Sin blocks God’s best in our lives. And to me, that’s death!
I don’t want that, do you? No, you and I want life: “But the gift of God is eternal life,” verse 23 goes on to say. And my friend, eternal life doesn’t just start the minute after you die. You see, each time we say no to sin there is a bit more of eternity that is unleashed in our hearts in the here and now. And the benefit of surrendering to God far outweighs any momentary high that comes from surrendering to sin—especially in light of the fact that sin’s “high” fades in a heartbeat, leaving in its wake only guilt, pain, and forfeiture of the blessings of obedience.
So in light of that, what say we begin to practice a spiritual discipline! I will, and I hope you’ll join me. Before we let ‘er rip on that next temptation, let’s just first run it through a little cost-benefit analysis.
My guess is, if we can commit ourselves to that simple practice, we aren’t going to be committing too many sins, because sin ain’t gonna be looking so good after all!
“When you entertain any temptation to sin, you do as wisely as he
who takes those into his house whom he knows are come on
purpose to spoil him of what he esteems most precious.”
This Week’s Assignment:
- Read Romans 6:1-23
- Memorize Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- Compare Romans 6:21 with 6:23. Do a cost-benefit analysis of the particular sin that you seem to struggle with on a recurring basis.