Slaves to Righteousness
Rom 6:15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!
Rom 6:16 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?
Rom 6:17 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,
Rom 6:18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
Rom 6:19 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.
Rom 6:20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
Rom 6:21 Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.
Rom 6:22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
v15 – Being under grace does not free us from obeying the law. However, instead of obeying because we have to, we should obey because we want to; it is who we now are. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15. ” But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” James 2:18. The way you follow His commandments show them the reality of your walk with Him.
v16 – He uses this example. To whom you give yourself up for servitude or obedience, you are a slave to whom you obey. The Greek word from which ‘slave’ is derived is ‘doulos’, which means “one who is subservient to, and entirely at the disposal of, his master; basically a slave. A bondservant is one who is voluntarily someone’s slave. In Exodus, we see the meaning of this term in reference to the law. “But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man, then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently.” Exodus 21:5-6. The same with our Christian life. We voluntarily give ourselves as bondservants (doulos’) to, as the end of Exodus 21:6 says, to serve Christ permanently. Lastly, in the first verse of Romans 1, we read, “Paul, a bond-servant (doulos) of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.
V17-18 – But though we were slaves of sin, we became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which we were committed. This is not simply an outward only obedience. This is an obedience that is sincere and regarding total service. I like this phrase from Albert Barnes commentary on this verse. “No other obedience is genuine.” If we are only obedient because we are forced to, or it is what is expected even though not preferred, then it is not the obedience God is looking for. And having been freed from sin, we are slaves (again doulos) of righteousness.
v19 – The idea of ‘in human terms’ denotes ‘ in your vernacular’. (vernacular – the language or dialect spoken by the ordinary people in a country or region) In other word, he spoke using an example they would understand. And he did this because of their lack of understanding of spiritual things. He is telling them that as you presented your members, as slaves, to sin and impurity which resulted in deeper lawlessness, now do the same as slaves to righteousness resulting in sanctification, which is holiness.
v20 – Because you were a slave of sin, you could not be a slave to righteousness therefore, you were free regarding righteousness.
v21-23 – So, he asks another question. While you were doing things which now, you are ashamed of because you are a new creature, what benefit did you derive? There was no benefit, since the outcome of practicing these things was death. Not much of a benefit. But now that we are free from sin, and are slaves of God, our benefit is holiness, and the final benefit is eternal life. The wages, or what you are owed, of sin is death. To continue serving sin results in you receiving you just earnings. However, if we give ourselves to God as slaves of righteousness, then their are no wages, but there is in incredibly wonderful free gift to all who are now slaves to righteousness, which is eternal life because of Christ. The free gift from God is infinitely superior to the earnings from sin.