Read: Romans 6:19-23
Abby Johnson used to hear the raging voices of angry protestors outside of her workplace where she was a director. Once a man holding a sign called her a “baby killer.”
In college, Johnson had started volunteering with a woman’s health center. Abby worked hard and built a career there, eventually becoming a director. In 2008, she was named her clinic’s employee of the year. Abby estimates that, during her entire career, she played a part in as many as 22,000 abortions.
But something happened. As Abby continued her work, she grew more and more disillusioned with the organization she was representing. She began a friendship with members of a pro-life group who frequently protested at her clinic. One day, in October 2009, Abby participated directly in the abortion of a 13-week-old baby. As Abby describes it, for the first time, she saw how the baby showed signs of pain and watched as its life was taken away. Everything changed at that moment, and days later, Abby quit.
Now, Abby is a well known and vocal pro-life activist, sharing her story in her book Unplanned. Abby now uses her platform to motivate Christians to consider pro-life advocacy. She says God’s love in her life motivates her to preach about His forgiveness to anyone.
Paul paints a similar picture for every believer. In Romans 6:19-23, he calls those who believe in Christ to offer their entire beings to holiness. In our natural state, we are slaves to sin and its “ever-increasing wickedness.” We don’t know what it means to serve what is good. One consequence of this is that we cannot know the reward of righteousness either. In verse 21, Paul says that our sins don’t give us any reward, they only create death. But when we turn to God, when we become slaves to righteousness, we are set free from sin. Just as at one time Abby pursued a totally different lifestyle, she now uses her experience to carry out righteousness.
So, what exactly is the benefit of being a slave to righteousness? Paul says it in verses 22 and 23. It is holiness (God’s intended way of living) and eternal life! The incredible truth is this: we all deserved death for our sins, but out of His incredible love and generosity, God restores us in this life and saves us from punishment for eternity. We are able to exhibit righteousness to the world around us. Also, we can ultimately hope that our destiny after this life is with our gracious God. He doesn’t give us what we deserve, but out of love gives us eternal life.
You and I have been given holiness and eternal life. How should we use our new identity to preach the gospel? What duty is God calling you to complete? Let’s ask God to give us a desire to seek holiness as we walk in freedom.