Paul tells the Roman believers that they are shamed no more. Romans 6:20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. 21 And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom.
Many of the believers in the Roman church worshipped idols and had a matching lifestyle before they knew Jesus. They realized what they had previously thought of as normal was sinful and now were ashamed of what they had done. Paul said it was appropriate for them to feel ashamed of their pre-Christian activities and urged them to live a moral life to match their faith.
Shame and Guilt
Paul explains that through Christ, we have a new nature. Romans 7: 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. 8:1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
Paul knew that even as they walked the journey of faith, their sinful nature would cause them to stumble. Forgiveness is available when we repent and confess our sins. Yet, some former idol worshippers might feel guilty over these stumbles due to their history. We can have the same problem today.
Distinguish the Source of Sin
Paul is clear that sin’s wages are death, so we should give ourselves to be slaves to righteous living. How do we tell if we have left the right path? Discernment is needed here so we don’t fall under a false, self-imposed condemnation.
- The action and the temptation
- An ongoing, habitual sin versus stumbling
- Ongoing tolerance versus repentance and a struggle against sin. 
Even Paul struggled with his sinful nature. He wanted to do what was right but still found himself doing what was wrong. We, too, do the same. Yet, God knows our hearts and the source of sin. If we willingly go the way of sin, we rebel against God’s desires. God knows if we desire to walk the path of righteousness but stumble into sin. In this case, we can repent and receive forgiveness; there is no reason for shame.
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