“Do you have any regrets?”
I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked that question. I hear it asked of people all the time. We seem to be very interested in how people feel about their choices. And why not? After all, how they feel about a choice they’ve made helps us decide if it a path is worth the effort or not.
For the longest time when asked, I would always answer, “No, of course not. My decisions created the path that got me where I am.” (I think this is the most common answer I hear from others.) Today when I consider my past before I met Christ, I look at it more holistically and realize that I made a lot of choices that brought harm and pain to myself and to others. Yes, they helped to carved out a path for me that may have brought me where I am, but the cost was too great for too many people.
Paul asks the church in Rome, “What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of” (Romans 6:21a NIV)? I am ashamed of many things that I have done in my past, and when I really consider them, there was nothing good that came from them. I can’t give you one example of how drinking, drugs, anger, cheating, stealing, deceiving, or any other sinful act was worth the cost to me or anyone else. What I have seen is friends die, lose their families, go to prison, or take their own lives. When you consider the “liabilities” along with what we call “assets”, there is never a profit from sinful choices. For that reason Paul says, “Those things result in death!” (v21b).
The problem is that sin enslaves us, and on our own, we are not capable of living lives free from sin. “When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness” (20). However, by grace, God created a means through Jesus so that we might be freed from this master. Anyone who receives the free gift of salvation is no longer a slave to sin. “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness” (18). This is great news, but leave it to God to offer even more!
Paul wrote, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life” (22). I certainly don’t regret giving everything to God. And I am amazed at how He has been able to take all the things that I thought were dead and bring life from the ashes. I am not perfect, no one is; but I am free to do things that lead to holiness, and these things are profitable to myself and everyone around me. This is the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, by the grace of God, and the blood of Christ; and this work allows us to become a source of good for the rest of our world. This is good news!
The simplest form of the gospel message is this, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 NIV). My biggest regret is that I took so long to embrace the love of God and finally being set free to truly live.
Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV).
Through Christ there is not only freedom from death, but there is freedom to truly live!
Please come join us as we fix our eyes on Jesus. We meet Sundays at 9AM for Sunday school and 10AM for worship. Everyone is welcome!