Getting StartedAccording to the scripture reading this week from the book of Romans, all of us are made to obey something. We are made to have a master. Whatever we live for and serve becomes our master. In some ways, as the Apostle Paul describes it, the only real choice we have is not if we will serve someone but only who we will serve: sin or God.In a divine paradox, it is only when we turn from serving sin to serve God through Jesus that we find true freedom. As wonderful as it is to live in a country where we have certain guaranteed freedoms, we can be free on the outside but not on the inside. Real freedom, according to the Bible, is freedom from the law of sin and death. Real freedom is knowing we are children of God and dearly loved by our heavenly Father. Real freedom is the freedom to not have to live in hate, fear, or addiction to destructive things or relationships, even if they are all around us or even if we are persecuted, oppressed, and mistreated. This is the freedom Christ died for us to have. Nothing else we can pursue or desire can give us that freedom.PrayGod, it is easy for me to want to use the freedom you gave me to serve myself, my own interests, needs, desires, and ideas. I am prone to letting sin be my master. Thank you for dying to save me from this trap. I choose to wholly turn to you. Be my master in every area of my life, heart, desires, and decisions so that I might be truly free in you. Use me also Father to help increase freedom for others where they are oppressed from the outside, but also from the inside so that they may be free indeed. In Jesus’ name, Amen.ResourcesBibleVideo: The Gospel Is Freedom (Danielle Strickland)Background InformationIt is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slaveryGalatians 5:1Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.John 8:35–37No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.Matthew 6:24What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 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. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But 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. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 6:15–23InstructionsReview the rubric to make sure you understand the criteria for earning your grade.Watch the video, “The Gospel Is Freedom (Danielle Strickland).” Strickland shares four principles for sustaining a life of freedom.Navigate to the threaded discussion and respond to the following prompts:Do you agree that “all oppression begins with coming into agreement with oppression” and the lie it represents? Why or why not?How have you seen “fear be the currency of oppression”? How does it turn people into oppressors or the oppressed?How has an area of fear led you to feeling oppressed, to reacting in oppressive ways toward others, or to being “entangled in a yoke of slavery”?How can your faith help you as a social worker to combat fear and oppression in those you serve? How do you think God wants to help you do this for individuals or communities you may work with?
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