In the 1950s, believers in the Wolaitta district of Ethiopia adopted a saying to describe their conversion. “With two hands,” they would say. “With this hand I renounce the devil and all his works! With this hand I surrender to Jesus Christ! All I am and all I have.”
We come today to the final part of our evangelistic message. We have shared with our friends and neighbors the solemn truth of their sinful condition. We have unveiled the hope of salvation in the two-word plot twist: “But God.” We have called them to respond to this joyful announcement with repentance and faith. Now, we invite them to new life in Christ.
This new life requires “two hands,” as the Ethiopian Christians understood. First, our relationship to sin is fundamentally changed. Because we have a new identity in Christ and are united to Him in His death and resurrection, sin is no longer the inevitable habit of our lives. As Christians, we no longer have to say “yes, sir” to Satan and call him our master (vv. 6, 14). Sin has no power over those who have been set free in Christ. Of course, even Christians sin. But if we sin, “we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” (1 John 2:1). We turn to Him in repentance, assured of His loving forgiveness.
At the same time that we renounce sin, we also offer ourselves to God. This is not a partial offering of only some aspects of our lives. Today’s passage commands us to “offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness” (v. 13). Our new life in Christ is one of willing obedience to His commands and eager expectation for that day when “we shall be like him” (1 John 3:2).
APPLY THE WORD
An important part of our message is the new life that God gives to those who trust in Christ. Through Him, everyone who believes is released from slavery to sin, set free to righteousness, brought into relationship with the triune God, and promised a future day of being made perfect in holiness. What a privilege to share this news!