Romans 6:15-23- Slaves to the Righteousness of God
Explanation- Paul begins verse 15 with yet another rhetorical question. This has to do with one who presumptuously indulges in sin because he is no longer under the condemnation of the Law. How can such an idea exist in the mind of one who has been born again? Is it not clear that the one to whom we offer obedience is indeed our master? This idea of obedience isn’t simply following orders, but it carries with it the notion of an attentive hearkening or submission. There is a difference between the one who is under the headship of Christ and yet still falls into sin against the desire of his new nature, and the one who is a slave to sin and willingly submits to his master’s bidding. Slavery to sin leads to death, destruction, and ruin, but slavery to obedience in Christ leads to life, peace, and reward. Certainly, we were all once under the mastery of sin and offered ourselves to its service, but at the proper time, God, through His wonderful grace, has set us free from the dominion of sin and has made us slaves of righteousness in Christ Jesus! So now, having been freed from the cruel master of sin, we are able to offer our earthly members to God for use in His righteous purposes. It should be our great desire and passion to do the works of righteousness that are in accordance with our new nature in Christ. No longer can sin provide the pleasure which it once did because we have come to see the rotten fruit that sin produces, and now, having tasted of God’s pure and perfect fruit, how can we be satisfied with anything less?
In the time of our slavery to sin, we were completely unbound from righteousness, for a slave will not obey a master that is not his own. Our master did not require righteousness from us, and therefore, it was none of our concern, nor our desire. But what lasting fruit was gained by doing these things which only promised death and ruin? Certainly, there was no reward for those things which only led to misery and whose paths were riddled with chaos. ‘But now,’ says Paul. Now we have been set free from the cruel master of sin and unrighteousness, and in our freedom, we have become slaves of God. To the world, escaping one form of slavery for another is the definition of insanity, but to the child of God, being a slave to God is the greatest inheritance that we can possess! As one preacher said, ‘Who is the happiest man alive? The one who is a slave to the greatest master.’ God is no ‘slave driver,’ nor is He cruel. God is good and kind and gentle toward those who serve Him, and He is continually working for our greatest good. Through our ‘slavery’ to God, we are continually being transformed by His grace and bear the fruit that meets with repentance, the end of which being life eternal with our beloved Savior! Through bondage to sin and the practice of it, we earn death as the fair wage, but God’s free gift is eternal life that is found in Christ Jesus, our Lord!
Application- As we consider the free gift of God found in Jesus Christ, let us be filled with gratitude that we are no longer held captive to sin’s cruel mastery. No longer do we serve an overbearing monarch who makes promises that he in no wise intends to keep and tramples over the lives of his servants. Our dear Master is of a much different sort. He is on who loves and cares for us. He treats us as beloved sons and offers us the inheritance of His only begotten. God is a master that we can serve without fear or angst. He is unchanging and all-wise, benevolent, and all-satisfying, and we know that there is nothing, neither on earth or in heaven, that can separate us from His presence and love. When we consider this in light of our former way of living and the master we once served, how can we not be filled with joy? How can we not rejoice and offer praise to God for granting such a treasure? Let our thoughts continually be upon His goodness toward us, and may we always be captivated by His awesome majesty!