Now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. (Romans 6:22)
When we look closely at the account of Adam and Eve’s terrible fall in the Garden of Eden, we see that their number one desire was to live autonomously. They actually wanted to get out from under the rule and reign of God. Instead of obeying God’s revelation, they listened to the insinuation of Satan, who had taken possession of the serpent. Our first parents had been given every imaginable provision and only one prohibition, but the serpent was able to convince them to question the goodness of God.
Notice that the serpent did not suggest that there is no God. Instead, he convinced Adam and Eve that God, by prohibiting the fruit from just one tree in the Garden, had demonstrated that He did not want the absolute best for their lives. The implication was that God is not good. Adam and Eve swallowed this lie and decided that they could and should live apart from God, independently and autonomously. What a terrible idea!
What Adam and Eve actually did was exchange God for Satan. After their rebellion against God, they did not live autonomous lives; they were now living for Satan. They had become slaves to another master, and that master did not have their best interests in mind. Satan’s ill intent jumps off the page in his words to Eve: “You will be like God” (Genesis 3:5).
Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting to be more like God. That should be the greatest goal of our humanity: to be conformed to the likeness of Christ. What was wrong was the way in which Satan told them to achieve that goal: by disobeying God. They already were like God; they were made in His image! They were made by God and made for God, but by following Satan’s sneering suggestion (“You will not surely die”), they denied their divine design. They certainly were not living autonomously, because that is an impossibility.
You and I are no different from Adam and Eve; we too are designed to live under the rule and reign of Almighty God. We are made to live as slaves to our Lord. He is a good and gracious Master who has our ultimate good in mind all the time. The choice is clear: We can live as slaves to our Lord or we can live as slaves to ourselves and the things of this world. If we are not living for the glory of our Creator, we are living for some created thing, and those things will never satisfy.
There is no such thing as autonomous living. Living for our Lord is the most heart-satisfying, mind-renewing, life-changing, and joy-producing “slavery” in the world. It is only to the extent that we are living in slavery to our Lord Jesus Christ that are we truly free, for “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17). At this level of living, we are fulfilling the reason for our existence: to live in a loving, intimate, and personal relationship with Jesus.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!