Romans 6:15-18

In Romans 6:15-18 Paul schools us more on the connection between grace and sin. Earlier in the letter to the Romans, Paul convinced us that a lifestyle of habitual sin is not compatible with one whose life is changed by grace. But what about an occasional sin here and there? If we are under grace and not law, must we be so concerned about a little sin here and there? “What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!” The verb tense of the ancient Greek word sin is important (it is an active tense). It indicates dabbling in sin, not the continual habitual sin. As Christ Followers, there should be no ongoing continual sin.

Whatever you present yourself to obey, you become its slave. For example, if I obey my appetite constantly, I am a slave to it. So we have a choice in our slavery: sin leading to death or obedience leading to righteousness. “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?” One way or another, we will serve somebody. The option to live our life without serving either sin or obedience isn’t open to us. We formerly were slaves to sin, but Christ has set us free.

Paul puts it in the past tense because we have been freed from our slavery to sin. He also says that we have been set free by obedience from the heart. The faith is put in God’s Word, which he describes as the standard of teaching. All in all, the point is clear: “You put your faith in God and His Word, and now you are set free. Now live every day consistent with that freedom.” “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” We shift from slaves to sin and become slaves to righteousness and obedience to God.

What does it mean to be a slave? A slave was more than an employee. The noted Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest defined the ancient Greek word for a slave here by these terms:

  • One born into a condition of slavery.
  • One whose will is swallowed up in the will of another.
  • One who is bound to the master with bonds only death can break.
  • One who serves his master to the disregard of his own interests.

The following was once true in regard to our slavery to sin:

  • We were born as slaves to sin.
  • Our will was swallowed up and captive to sin within us.
  • Our bondage to sin was so strong that only death – spiritually dying with Jesus on the cross – could break the bondage.
  • We were so enslaved to sin that we served it to the disregard of our own interest, even when sin destroyed us.

Now the following is true in regard to our slavery to righteousness:

  • We are born again, now as slaves to righteousness.
  • Our will is now swallowed up in the will of God. It is His will that matters to us, not our own.
  • We are bound to Jesus with bonds that only death can break; but since He has triumphed over death and given us eternal life, those bonds will never be broken!
  • We now willingly chose to serve Jesus to the disregard of our own (selfish) interests.

One response to this post.

  1. Reblogged this on Matthews' Blog.


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