I have to admit that I am a big Seinfeld fan. I wasn’t crazy about it before reruns. At first I didn’t get the significance of a show about nothing. I didn’t really know the characters so I didn’t watch it much. Once they put it in the dinner rerun slot we found ourselves watching it every night. Once you have been exposed to a lot of the episodes you find that Seinfeld is not about nothing it is actually about everything. Hardly a day goes by that you don’t have a Seinfeld moment. Seinfeld Junkies like myself are easy to spot because as they are living life they find Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer humor everywhere. One of the most vulgar and yet hilarious shows was about our four beloved friends engaging in a contest to see who could remain master of their domain for the longest. For those of you who are not familiar with that episode you can scan our picture above to get the jest of the contest. I don’t remember who won the contest but I do remember laughing my guts out. Pray for me, will you?
I was continuing my study in Romans and ran across an interesting passage
Romans 6:11-14 (NIV) 11 in the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14 for sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
The phrase that stuck out to me was in verse 14, “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” I live in a relatively free society that is mastered by everything. We are controlled by our lusts. We lust for food, we lust for drink, we lust for sex, we lust for power, we lust for positions and we lust for possessions. We are jack of all lusts, master of none. Well maybe you are and if so I apologize but most of us are struggling and admittedly not struggling all that well. Most of us are mastered by the sin we struggle with. Sins of omission (things we don’t do that we should) or sins of commission (things we do that we shouldn’t) makes no difference we are shackled by the weight of its proverbial ball and chain.
Paul says that sin shall not be your master because we are not under law but under grace. Before you blow right by that you have to ask the question, “How does being under grace keep us from being mastered by sin.” It seems to me that being under grace would actually lead to a more lax approach toward sin. It seems to me that being restricted by a series of laws would be more effective. Is this a classic case of reverse psychology?
Let me take an example from everyday life. When you see a speed limit sign does it make you want to go faster or go slower? I love this picture, can you imagine the constraint that the horse rider had to possess not to break out in a trot. See it doesn’t really matter what the rule is, there is something about a rule that makes you want to break it. Why is that? I guess it is just human nature. Parents hate rules but they are always laying down another line to be crossed and we wonder why our children are out of control at times. From time to time I will send my son to his room for a disciplinary reason. He has the hardest time getting all the way into the room. Sometimes, he will be mostly in but wants to stick some part of himself out across the threshold to show me he is mostly in compliance but he is still in control. When he is in serious rebellion he will put his toe in the room and lay out in the hallway. I am just like him related to sin in my life. I feel like God has given me rules that in effect send me to my room. Very rarely do I just go in and do what I am told. Most times I want to push the limits.
But I am not under law but am under grace. Grace is supposed to motivate me to not be mastered by my sin. But I am not sure how that works. Do you have any input for me?
Photo #1 by Aaron_M
Photo #2 by CarbonNYC