Monday, August 21, 2017

Romans, Day 16: Romans 6:15-25 - Are We Slaves to Sin?

This Week's Reading for Walking with Jesus on Acts and Romans

Mon., Aug. 21: Rom 6:15-25
Tue., Aug. 22: Rom 7:1-6
Wed., Aug. 23: Rom 7:7-12
Thurs., Aug. 24: Rom 7:13-25
Fri., Aug. 25: Rom 8:1-11

Today's Reading: Romans 6:15-25

Are We Slaves to Sin? 

"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, ESV

"I just can't help it."

"I've tried to change, but it just doesn't work!"

"I wish I was a better person, but I'm not."

Have you ever thought or said any of those things? I know I have had very similar thoughts and have said very similar things. We may even think we have a biblical basis for such thinking. After all, Jesus did say that everyone who sins is a slave to sin, right? Yes, He did, but then He went on to say, "The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."  (John 8:35-36, ESV)

We are born in sin, sinful from conception, but Jesus has defeated sin and death. He is the Son of God who remains forever, and He has purchased our freedom, our salvation. If He sets us free, we are free indeed.

What Jesus said in John 8 aligns perfectly with what Paul is saying in Romans 6. Once we were all slaves to sin. We offered ourselves in service to sin and we were paid slave wages, death. But salvation in Jesus is more than just the forgiveness of sins and the declaration that we are not guilty before a holy God. We have been united to Christ by faith, and He lives in us, even as we live through Him. 

Jesus also said, "No one can serve two masters." (Mt. 6:24) Paul is saying that we once served sin and were free from the law of righteousness. Now we serve God as slaves to righteousness, and we are free from the dominating, enslaving power of sin. 

Is Paul saying we never sin? No! He will go on in Romans 7 (on Thursday) to agonize over the remaining indwelling sin in the members of his body. Sinful unregenerate human beings often do good things that do align with God's law, even though they do so for the wrong reasons and thus they cannot be counted as acts of righteousness. Likewise, redeemed people who belong to Jesus still often sin, but we do so not as slaves to sin, dominated and controlled by its influence. 

Who is your master? Serving sin is a dead-end job. Serving King Jesus as slaves to righteousness brings true freedom, life and joy, as we grow in sanctification and holiness to the glory of God! 

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