"You Shall Not Pass!" - August 2022

by Pastor Pete Panitzke on August 11, 2022

If you have watched The Lord of the Rings, you are familiar with the scene. Gandalf is confronting the Balrog. Death for all seems imminent. No one can withstand the Balrog!

But Gandalf does. The Balrog falls into the darkness. The Fellowship of the Ring is saved. The cost? Gandalf also falls into the darkness. 

This scene comes to mind as I read 
Romans 6 (find it here). The Apostle Paul is dealing with the issue - If I am forgiven, then shall I just keep on sinning? 

To go on sinning is to feed the Balrog of sin and death. When we give into sin, we make sin more powerful in our lives. 

But grace (the Gandalf of the scene above) stands between us and sin. "You shall not pass!" Paul's words are, "Sin shall not be your master! Why? Because you are not under law, but under grace" (Romans 6:14). 

There is a power at work in you. Sin and death are not the end. You have risen with Christ to a new life. Often I don't see it in my life. I only know it by faith. I go back to my baptism: I was buried with Christ through baptism into death so that just as Christ was raised from the dead, I too live a new life of service to my God (Romans 6:4). 

If Christ has come forth from the grave, then God is at work in you and me bringing us out of the darkness and giving us new strength to live for him.

SPOILER ALERT: Gandalf doesn't truly die. He comes forth more powerful than ever. When you fall into the darkness of sin, claim again God's grace. You are forgiven. And you shall come forth more powerful than ever as you wield the parts of your body as instruments of righteousness in service to your God. 

Too Late! 

What if it is too late for you? Sin has become so powerful there is no hope!

When those fears come, enjoy seeing God's grace in action in his dealings with wicked King Ahab (read 1 Kings 20-21 here)Notice what God says about this wicked fool: 

(There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, urged on by Jezebel his wife. 
26 He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the LORD drove out before Israel.)

The LORD sends Elijah, the greatest of Old Testament prophets, to call Ahab to repentance. Grace in action! 

Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite: 
29 “Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me?"

The amazing power of God's grace! Working repentance in Ahab. Working repentance in us.

Sin shall not be your master. Death and darkness shall not overcome you. Grace proclaims your victory over the power of sin: You Shall Not Pass! Amen.


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