Scripture Reading:  Romans 6:15-23

“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.” (Romans 6:17,18)

Paul is using the imagery of slavery.  The basic principle is that slaves must obey their masters — “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?” (v. 16).  The real question is:  Who is your master — sin or righteousness?

If one is a slave to sin, he or she will be obedient to sin because sin is the master.  This is the sinful nature with which we are born.  Human beings are slaves to sin by nature.  We must realize that if we are slaves to sin, we are headed for death for “the wages of sin is death” (v. 23a).

But if one is a slave to righteousness, that is, he has been set free from sin and has the righteousness of Christ imputed to him, he is now free to live for righteousness.  This means he is in full pursuit of sanctification.  One who is freed from his bondage to sin is in a position to grow in righteousness.

Paul is deling with the subject of a changed life, a life changed by the power of God from the inside out.  He is saying that now we are in union with Christ, we have the ability to resist sin and the ability to pursue righteousness — “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” (v. 19b).

What does all this mean?  It means that we have a choice to sin or to obey God.  We no longer are slaves to sin.  We now have the freedom to resist sin and to obey God.  We have the power of the resurrected Christ in us.  As we learn how to appropriate His presence and power in our lives, we can present our members as slaves to righteousness.

Lord Jesus, You have freed me from my slavery to sin.  I know that I am now able to pursue righteousness but I need Your presence and power to do so.  I keep going back to my old self rather than living as one who has been made righteous through justification.  Give me Your heart and mind this day.  Let me present my members as slaves of righteousness.


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