Rev Moss

I’ve been told that if you work in the Cadbury chocolate factory you’re allowed to eat as much chocolate as you like. If they needed a chaplain, I’m not sure it would be a good thing for me. I love chocolate, but unrestricted access to free chocolate might be just too much for me to handle!

In the book of Romans, Paul answers a problem that has been simmering away in the Christian community at Rome. They knew that Christians have been forgiven, but some mistakenly thought this gave them a licence to sin freely. They think it’s like working in a chocolate factory; they can now sin as much as they like without restriction or repercussion. But for Paul, that is a crazy way to think. It makes no sense because that way of thinking denies who your true king is.

If you are at home by yourself, you can eat how you please and dress how you like. You make the rules. However, if you have been invited to someone else’s place for dinner, all that changes. Instead, you eat what the host has given you. If we accept the invitation to dinner, we now eat in reference to those who have invited us.

This is what a Christian has done. A Christian has accepted the invitation to sit at the king’s table. We no longer live by our own rules, but we have placed ourselves under his authority. To describe this reality, Paul uses the language of slavery. He explains that Christians have a new master. They no longer rule themselves (“slaves to sin”) but they are now ruled by God (“slaves to righteousness”). Paul writes in chapter 6 of Romans:

17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

Who are you going to let rule your life? Have you placed your life under the authority of sin or righteousness? Are you the king… or is it Jesus? This question is at the heart of what it is to be a Christian.

If it really is Jesus who rules your life, then the idea of deliberately sinning should be a foreign concept. You are no longer calling the shots; you have placed yourself under his authority, because you are now at his table.

Many will say that life at his table is a second rate, oppressive life full of restrictions. They will argue that joy is found in living life by your own rules. However, if that is your view then you simply don’t know the true character of the King. He has not invited you to his table to take life away but to bring life to the full. He has invited you to a feast of life. He desires to lift our eyes from our small vision that we have for our lives and invite us to join with him in the grand vision he has for the world. A life of true joy, satisfaction and a hope that never fades.