These lyrics from Bob Dylan’s song resonate with the words of Paul in Romans 6. Paul’s focus in the second half of this chapter is this- we are all designed by God to have a master. We are built that way. That sounds strange, doesn’t it, but when I use the word master it’s the lowest idea of what God intended.
God designed us to always be in intimate relationship with him….all the while allowing him to be Lord of our lives. But that plan went wrong when Adam chose a different lord….a taskmaster that led him into bondage. Now this idea of another reigning in my life is considered primitive, religious or even stupid.
But here’s the problem…in spite of our aversion to the idea it’s still the way we function, it’s still the way we are made, so we WILL install a master, a lord to reign in our lives. The question Paul asks is this- Do you understand how important this decision is? Do you understand the
implications? Who you choose as your lord will determine all that follows.
As I prepared to teach through this material last week I came to two verses, completely unrelated, that caught my attention because of one common word. Here are the verses and then let’s talk about them,
Genesis 4 “Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
Notice these words, “sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you…it desires to master you, but you must master it.”
Now, contrast that passage with this,
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”
Two visitors have come to seek entrance. One comes by stealth, crouching, looking for a way in to master us. The other comes knocking, looking for a relationship. What a contrast of masters. One simply wants to master our lives to sin, and finally death. The other wants a relationship, time to eat, fellowship with us and brings life. These are the two choices of masters. We each will choose one or the other. Here’s how Paul describes it in Romans 6,
“…do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 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. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”
You’re gonna have to serve somebody. At the door wait two masters. One will reign with evil desires and death as the final outcome. The other will rule in love and grace with life as his goal for you.
As I have thought about this I realize that most do not believe this is true. We believe, as the writer once wrote, “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” But it’s simply not true. We aren’t our own masters. It’s clear we choose whom we will serve, but serve we will.
Who do you serve?