A Reply to
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.
Interesting that you use smoking as an example of “slavery to sin.”
The LORD used Rom.6-8 in my life 33 yrs ago to deliver me from this habit. It was a couple years after my conversion, and I was still struggling with this addiction. At the time our family was were not in good shape financially, as I was starting over in a new job, having lost my long term position.
Often had to choose between tobacco and milk for the kids. Someone told me to memorize chapters 6-8 in Romans as an aid to breaking that stronghold in my life. I did, and was set free from 18 years of bondage.
I still recommend it to anyone struggling with sinful habits. I like to use the imagery from Exodus 21:6 as an illustration of the servant hood of the believer vs. the slavery of someone in bondage to sin. The former serves willingly out of love for his Master, the latter out of fear or compulsion.
Let’s take a look at the Exodus 21:6 and the preceding verses
2 “If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything. 3 If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him. 4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free. 5 “But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ 6 then his master must take him before God. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.
Later Deuteronomy 15:12-17 would say the same thing, but provide additional details
12 If any of your people—Hebrew men or women—sell themselves to you and serve you six years, in the seventh year you must let them go free. 13 And when you release them, do not send them away empty-handed. 14 Supply them liberally from your flock, your threshing floor and your winepress. Give to them as the Lord your God has blessed you. 15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you. That is why I give you this command today. 16 But if your servant says to you, “I do not want to leave you,” because he loves you and your family and is well off with you, 17 then take an awl and push it through his earlobe into the door, and he will become your servant for life. Do the same for your female servant.
So the question is will you choose a master you love (16 But if your servant says to you, “I do not want to leave you,” because he loves you) and a master who loves you or will you choose the bondage of sin from fear and/or compulsion or your Creator?
It’s Monday and I hope you have a Great Week.