In the last blog, we saw the first grouping of commands from Paul, who was speaking to his people, the Jews, in language associated with the Law of Moses that they could understand. Paul is not Jesus, but he certainly speaks with godly authority. He concludes that they – and we – should present ourselves to God as instruments of righteousness.
Today, we see a transition from the metaphor of “instruments” to a more difficult metaphor of “slavery.” Slavery is taboo today, isn’t it? Yes, although addiction to sin is most certainly slavery to Satan in modernity!
“What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 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” (Rom 6:15-16)?
So slavery and voluntary servanthood are matters of personal choice, not the kind of forced slavery we have seen throughout world history. The question is how we present ourselves. If we face Satan and are captured in his grip, our destination is death, sooner or later. The only escape is to repent and turn away from Satan by the power that only Jesus can provide! Only then can we become happy servants on our way to forgiveness and restoration through the never-ending love of Jesus:
“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. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification” (Rom 6:17-19).
Whether Jew or Greek, Roman or American, ancient or modern, each person has a choice to make at the fork in the road to perfect unity with God.
It comes down to listening and obeying from the heart and being set free from sin:
“But when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:20-23).
The first sentence in verse 20 above can be a bit confusing to some, because it seems to imply that we had no responsibility for good behavior while feeding off of Satan. Let there be no doubt as to what Paul means – when we are slaves (addicted) to sin, we could not have been farther away from righteousness and perfect unity with God!
And how are we supposed to know where we stand? By the fruit we got during that time – which is impending death, nothing more, nothing less. What could be more terrifying? Yet Satan whispers sweet nothings to lie to us that all is well. But when we are “healed” by obeying Jesus from the heart, we are given a free gift from God – eternal life in Jesus based on his grace reigning in us!
In others words, this is How Grace Shall Reign – the Lord's forgiveness and even forgetfulness of the disaster that was our lives previously!
We must listen to our hearts, where the Holy Spirit is quietly whispering for us to come home to Jesus!