V15-1615What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!16Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone [as] slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?. Knowing that you’re now no longer under law doesn’t mean you can do whatever you like. Do you know what has happened to you? Your ‘boss’ has changed. You used to be a slave; in fact, you’re still a slave. A slave has no right to anything for himself. He lives all the time for someone else who tells him what to do.
There is not one person who is really free. Everyone is a slave, but whose slave are you? If you put yourself in sin’s service, to obey sin, you are a slave of sin and your life will end in death. If you put yourself in service to do what God says, this will be manifested by your life. In your life you will respect God’s will and you will show this by doing things that are right and positive before God. So it is one of the two, either a slave of sin or of righteousness.
V1717But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,. You can thank God that being a slave of sin has all passed. You can thank God the Lord Jesus has come to take its place. He is the “form of teaching” you have been taught. He is your example, telling you how a slave of righteousness should behave.
In the previous chapters you read all that God has done through Him. This has impressed you and for this reason you have become more obedient. This is not obedience to some law, but obedience to a divine Person to whom you have given your heart. You have been set completely free from sin.
V1818and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.. In the world people have to fight for freedom. Those who are oppressed long for it. They feel relieved when the time comes when they are at liberty to go where they like and do what they want without fearing the rulers. This is even more true with sin. Sin no longer has power over you because you are now a slave of righteousness.
V1919I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in [further] lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.. Once, you used to do unclean things, living in lawlessness. Lawlessness means you did not recognize authority or listen to anyone. You were living for yourself and determining your own values. Although you thought you were free, you were a slave nonetheless to sin, just as everyone without God still is.
Now you may serve righteousness. The object is your sanctification which means that you live set apart for God in this world. Living in sanctification is not walking around with a halo over your head. Sanctification simply means you’re no longer going with the world, but now you’re God-centered.
V20-2120For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.21Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.. As a slave of sin you didn’t do what God wanted. You couldn’t please God. You followed your desires and lusts. Thinking back, you can only feel deeply ashamed. The only result of that life was death. Thank the Lord, God didn’t execute this judgment over you, but over the Lord Jesus. It was this way that you were freed from sin and made a slave of God.
V2222But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.. Now a completely different fruit appears from your life. This fruit does not bring about shame but joy. This fruit is sanctification. If you live as God’s slave, you live completely dedicated to God, turning your back on sin and the world. God is looking for this fruit of sanctification in your life. The more this fruit becomes visible, the more easily you will see the glorious end of the eternal life to be enjoyed perfectly when you’re in heaven.
V2323For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.. This verse summarizes the previous thoughts in a few words. (Memorize it!) With sin, you get what you deserve. Everyone, without exception, deserves death. God offers the alternative to this. It cannot be earned. It is a gift of grace to which no right exists. This gift is “eternal life”! God gives it “in Jesus Christ our Lord”. Everything that God has given is in connection with the Lord Jesus. Through Him all blessings from God’s heart come to you. He has taken away all your hindrances and sees you in connection with Christ. For that reason, God can give you the great blessing of eternal life. Eternal life is the very life of Christ: He is “the true God and eternal life” (1Jn 5:2020And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.).
Now read Romans 6:15-23 again.
Reflection: What can you say about your sanctification?