Slaves of righteousness
Romans 6 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Believers Are Dead to Sin, Alive to God
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin.
8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16 Do 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? 17 But 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, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I 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.
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. 22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In today’s text Paul poses two questions regarding grace and sin: What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?... What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Today many speak of grace without the mention of sin, as if grace has removed the evil and darkness of sin. To the first question Paul says: May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? The last verse of today’s text says: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Because of grace, through Christ, we don’t have to die from sin. Instead, we die to sin. Grace does not give license to sin. It empowers us so that we can live free from sin in Christ. We cannot live for Christ and continue to live in sin. In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus says: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” It is not enough to know that Jesus is Lord. He must truly be Lord of our lives. In John 14:15 Jesus says: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
To the second question, What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Paul says: May it never be! Do 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? Jesus said: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” Those who do not fully understand or who have not fully received the grace of God think that the commandments of God are restrictive and limiting. In truth, the commandments of God are what free us to live. In John 10:10 Jesus says: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Many people mistakenly equate the abundance of Christ with quantity, believing that the abundant life is one of excess, comfort and pleasure. In Jeremiah 29:11 God says: I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. The abundance of Christ is not about quantity, it is about quality. It is living according to the good plans that God has for us. Ephesians 2:8-10 says: By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Our salvation by grace is not so that we can continue to live in sin, but rather so that we can do the good works which God intended for us. In the text Paul says: Do 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?... Having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness… 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. Again in John 14:15-24 Jesus says: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him. If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.” Because we live in a fallen world it is difficult for us to truly and fully live free from sin. We are given the Holy Spirit so that we can truly and fully walk in God’s grace and righteousness. In Luke 17:21 Jesus says: “The kingdom of God is within you.” By God’s grace, it is the righteousness of the kingdom that should go with us wherever we walk.
‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come.
Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. ‘Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’