Faithlife
Faithlife

Romans 6:15-23

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(ESV)
Title: “Enslaved to Serve”

INTRODUCTION

There is a popular saying about living the Christian lifestyle that suggests, “Change is a process, not an event.” However, if you pay close attention to what Paul is teaching here in ch. 6, you will see that the saying is not entirely accurate. The changed life is both a process and an event.
Paul uses the analogy of a freed person to explain the event of the changed life. Vv. 1-11 teaches that once we are justified through faith, God repositions us in our relationship to the power of sin (analogy of slave plantation).
Paul now uses the analogy of a slave to explain the process of the changed life. Over 80% of the people of the 1st century would have sold themselves into slavery for a period of time to escape disaster, so the people would have understood that Paul was teaching a simple principle: You are enslaved to whom you willingly obey.
We were excited to learn from Paul in the previous chapters that one is justified by faith alone and thus freed from condemnation (explain). However, this is just the beginning of the Christian life. Therefore, Paul now turns to the doctrine of sanctification, which explains how the Christian is now able to live a new life for Christ. I think we would all agree that living the changed life has its challenges, but Paul is going to help us all understand that while change is a process, it begins with an event that occurred the moment you were justified.
The event that Paul is referring to is found in 6:1-11, where he explained that at the moment that a person believes in Jesus Christ for eternal life, that person is effectively transferred from the field that is controlled by the power of sin and is placed in a new field that is controlled by the grace of Christ. In short, the believer is in a new position, and Paul used the analogy of freedom to explain the event.
Paul will now explains the process with the use of the analogy of a “free slave” to drive home the point that a person is indeed enslaved to the one that he or she obeys. Paul’s audience would have understood this analogy well, for their society was full of people (85-90%) who had come under some sort of physical or financial stress and decided to sell themselves to someone who could care for them in return for protection.
After writing about the exciting doctrine of justification (“just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned”), Paul tackles the doctrine of sanctification (“set apart for God”). While justification leaves us joyful, sanctification leaves is frightful
After writing about the exciting doctrine of justification (“just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned”), Paul tackles the doctrine of sanctification (“set apart for God”). While justification leaves us joyful, sanctification leaves is frightful
without proper understanding,
Once Paul established that all people are sinful and stand condemned before God, he brought forth the wonderful news of salvation through repentance and faith in Christ.
Paul has made a profound statement in his teaching about the doctrine of justification in 5:20-21, and has been fleshing out the details in chapter 6.
Once a person expresses his or her faith in Jesus Christ, that person is declared not guilty of sin, or justified (just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned).
Romans 5:20–21 ESV
Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Paul then clarifies that grace “superabounded” in that as the reign of sin brought death, the reign of grace brings a righteousness that issues in life eternal:
Grace “superabounded” in that as the reign of sin brought death, the reign of grace brings a righteousness that issues in life eternal:
Mounce, R. H. (1995). Romans (Vol. 27, p. 145). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
(ESV)
20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,
21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness [of Christ’s obedient act]leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

BODY

Paul readily admits in this passage that analogies break down at some point, but you can get the gist of what he is teaching.
I will walk us through the analogy and share 4 things that Paul would have us remember:

I. Reminder That Our Activities Identify Our Master (15-16)

15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! (refuting antinomianism)
Grace does not free us to do anything
16 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?
85-90% sold themselves into slavery at one point or another.
The slaves willingly signed their services over when they enslaved themselves.
The Christian that sins has chosen to sin.

II. Reminder That Obedience to Scriptures Emancipates You from Sin and Enslaves You to Righteousness (17-18)

17 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,
18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
We don’t grasp our freedom.
In the 19th century Lincoln enacted the Emancipation Proclamation Act, but many slaves in the South would not stop working for their masters. They were read the news about their new freedom, but they would not act on it.
The Christian cannot live like these slaves that would not leave their master’s planation. Rather, you must act on what the Scriptures are teaching.
We’ve gone from sinners to servers!
31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
God’s Word has announced an emancipation proclamation act.
Have you heard it and stayed on Satan’s plantation controlled by the power of sin, or have you walked off?

III. Reminder That Serving Is Sanctifying (19)

19 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.
Committing ourselves as slaves to doing what is right before God (“righteousness”) results in living that is increasingly God-centered and world-renouncing.
Suppose you had a thousand-acre ranch and someone offered to buy it. You agree to sell the land except for one acre right in the center that you want to keep for yourself. In most parts of the country, the law would allow you to have access to that one lone spot by building a road across the surrounding property.
Suppose you had a thousand-acre ranch and someone offered to buy it. You agree to sell the land except for one acre right in the center that you want to keep for yourself. In most parts of the country, the law would allow you to have access to that one lone spot by building a road across the surrounding property.
So it is with us as Christians if we make less than a full surrender to God. We can be sure that the devil will build roads to reach any uncommitted area of our life. When this happens, our testimony will be marred and our service will become ineffective.
So it is with us as Christians if we make less than a full surrender to God. We can be sure that the devil will build roads to reach any uncommitted area of our life. When this happens, our testimony will be marred and our service will become ineffective.
How many acres of uncommitted land do you have in your possession?
God wants you to hand it all over to him.

IV. Remember That There Is Fruit That Grows From Servanthood (20-23)

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
21 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.
22 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.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Henry C. Morrison, after serving for forty years on the African mission field, headed home by boat. On that same boat also rode Theodore Roosevelt. Morrison was quite dejected when, on entering New York harbor, President Roosevelt received a great fanfare as he arrived home. Morrison thought he should get some recognition for forty years in the Lord’s service.
Then a small voice came to Morrison and said, “Henry—you’re not home yet.”
Green, M. P. (Ed.). (1989). Illustrations for Biblical Preaching: Over 1500 sermon illustrations arranged by topic and indexed exhaustively (Revised edition of: The expositor’s illustration file). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
As a Christian you’re not home yet either, so stop looking for your reward and get back to work.
“Well done, my faithful servant?”
Will you hear Jesus say, “Well done, my faithful servant?”

CONCLUSION

Through faith in Christ, God has saved us from disaster. He has not only freed us from the old plantation that is controlled by our old master of sin, but has placed us on a new planation of righteousness. Therefore, we must act accordingly.
(ESV)
Paul has reminded us that when we realized that we were in great distress about our condemnation and put our faith in Christ to save us, that he not only freed us from the power of sin but we effectually sold ourselves into slavery to a new Master. Therefore, we must act accordingly.
I. Freed From Sin and Enslaved to Serve (15-19)
If you are on the old planation that is controlled by the power of sin, I am here to warn you that you are headed toward disaster, and you need to sell yourself to God.
15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!
A. You Are Enslaved to Whom You Obey (16)
16 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?
B.
17 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,
18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
19 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 (imperative) your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
II. The Benefit of Death is Eternal Life (20-23)
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
21 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.
22 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.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

5. The Believer Is Emancipated from Sin and Enslaved to Righteousness (6:15–19)

a. The objection repeated (6:15)

b. Offering oneself is the equivalent of enslaving oneself (6:16)

c. Offering oneself to righteousness leads to holiness (6:17–19)

6. The Benefit of Death to Sin Is Eternal Life (6:20–23)

a. The “benefit” of sin is death (6:20–21)

b. The benefit of holiness is eternal life (6:22–23)

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