I grew up in Bartlesville, Oklahoma – and I still have a lot of family there. Multiple times every year (and countless times in my lifetime) I have driven from Norman to Bartlesville or vice versa. I could almost make this drive in my sleep . . . thankfully though, I have always been awake!
The main road between Bartlesville and Norman is the Turner Turnpike. The majority of the miles between my house today and the house of my youth are logged on this tolled section of I-44. Since I have made this drive so many times, I have a Master’s level understanding of that road. Since it is a turnpike, it has one dominant feature — very few on-ramps or exits. The lack of access to the road allows drivers to safely drive at high speeds. The lack of exits, however, also means that once you get moving on the turnpike, it is difficult to turn around. If you get on in Oklahoma City, you most likely won’t get off until Tulsa, with only a few exceptions in between.
In a sense, drivers are under the control of the turnpike. Based on the laws of road travel enforced by the Highway Patrol, we are slaves to the direction of the road.
I was thinking about this today while preparing for Sunday’s message at Wildwood Community Church. This Sunday, we will be looking at Romans 6:15-23 together in part 2 of the “Set Free” series. In these verses, we will see that (to some degree) life is a turnpike headed in one of two directions: either towards God or towards sin. If we place our life on the highway of sin, we will most likely not get off until we arrive at the destination of impurity, lawlessness, shame, and death. If we place our lives on the highway of obedience to God, however, we will surely experience the joy of righteousness, sanctification, and eternal life. The Apostle Paul seems to be pointing out (in these verses) what should be obvious to us – why would we ever intentionally drive to death, when we could instead drive to life?
All too often people want to assume that life is much more like a residential street than a turnpike. On a typical residential street there are almost unlimited numbers of opportunities to change course or turn around. You could use driveways, side streets, even U-turns if necessary to correct course. However, Paul’s argument in Romans 6 seems to imply that there are far fewer chances to turn our lives around than we might think. In fact, there is but one chance . . . the turnaround he describes as the “free gift” found only for those who are “in Christ Jesus our Lord.” It is only through Christ that we can head towards life instead of death . . . and if we have a chance to drive towards life, why would we ever choose death instead?
Join us Sunday in our 8:15, 9:30, and 11:00 worship services as we will look at this idea from God’s Word together. Join us and bring a friend!