Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.

Read: Romans 6:15-23 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.

Reflect: Imagine with me a horrifying scenario (great way to start a Daily Walk devotional, isn’t it?).

You have a 5-year-old daughter who’s been put to bed. She’s had a bedtime story and a prayer and been safely tucked in and kissed goodnight. She’s the love of your life, and she’s drifting off to sleep as you walk out the nearly-shut door. You and your spouse hit the sack not long after.

In the morning, you go to your daughter’s room to get her up and ready for the day. You open her door and find the bed empty. It’s unusual for her to wake up earlier than you, but it’s happened before. You look for her in the kitchen, in the bathroom, all over the house. You can’t find her anywhere. You call out. No response. You rush back into her room and for the first time notice that her window is open and that there’s a dirty footprint on the windowsill.

You are now panicking. You call the police. They come over and take statements, examine the room, look outside the house, and question the neighbors. There are no leads. The police have no idea who could have done such a heinous thing. A kidnapper has taken your child and you don’t know what’s going to become of her. The future is uncertain. But one thing is for sure: you would do anything to have her back into your arms  and at home with her family where she belongs. The phone rings. It is the kidnapper with a list of demands.

What would you be prepared to do to get her back? Anything? Almost anything? Would you trade your life for her life?

This is the way God feels about you, right now. A kidnapper came into His home and took His children (Genesis 3). This kidnapper introduced sin and the wages of sin (what sin does to us, not what God does to us), and our Father will do anything to get His children (us) back. In fact, He already did do everything He could to get us back.

The kidnapper demanded a ransom. That ransom was death. Jesus willingly paid that ransom to take His children back from the kidnapper and bring them home.

The wages of sin was death to our Savior. Now we are freed from the wages of sin and free to live the kinds of lives that don’t breed death and destruction but love and everlasting life.

Recalibrate: If you have children, imagine what you’d do for them if they were in danger. What would you do to save them? How has God done the same things for you?

Respond: Thank God for saving you from the wrath of sin and death.

Research: Read the four gospel accounts of Jesus’ death and ponder what He has done to ransom us from the kidnapper.

Remember: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23, ESV).

Mark Witas is the lead pastor at Pacific Union College Church in Angwin, CA. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Mark has served as a youth pastor, Bible teacher, college and academy chaplain, and lead pastor in the United States and Canada for the last 33 years. He has also authored four books:Born Chosen, Live Out Loud, Portals, and Just Jesus.