Summary: Because of our relationship with Christ, we are enabled to live righteously and able not to live in sin. Thanks to the grace of God we are forgiven, freed, and enabled to yield our selves to Him and His service
ROMANS 6: 15-20
FINDING FREEDOM FROM SIN
The previous verses taught that each man has one of two masters. Man will serve God, or man will serve sin. Sin is the most devastating, debilitating, degenerating power that ever entered creation. Sin is the terrible, life wrecking, soul-damning reality that resides in man's heart like an incurable cancer. Even when men try to escape from sin, they cannot, they simply move to another facet or form of sin.
One of the greatest gift God could give to fallen man is freedom from sin. He offers that very gift in His Son, Jesus Christ. Freedom from sin is the gift God gives to those who will present themselves to Christ. Christ frees us,[ the Christian,] from our past enslavement to sin by providing us a new enslavement to righteousness through trust in Jesus Christ. Because we have died in Christ to sin, and risen with Him to righteousness, we are no longer under the lordship of sin, but under the Lordship of Christ or righteousness. Because of our relationship with Christ, we are enabled to live righteously and able not to live in sin (CIT). Thanks to the grace of God we are forgiven, freed, and enabled to yield our selves to Him and His service [and held accountable for doing so].
I. ENSLAVED BY OBEDIENCE, 15-16.
Our text contains various contrasting or one or the other [or antitheses] statements. Because of the misuse of the doctrine of grace verse 15 repeats the warning given in 6:1 so that we do not lose the clear and firm distinction of right and wrong which the law provides. "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!"
"What then" indicates another turning point in the argument about super-abounding grace (5:20). If "we are no longer under the law, but under grace," should we sin and disregard the ten commandments? Does grace undermine moral responsibility and promote reckless sinning?
Paul answers with an indignant, outraged, even horrified may it never be! or God forbid such a ghastly thought. The Bible does not grant any concession, any room for sin or sinning, even if one is under grace. The [aorist subjunctive] verb tense for sin indicates occasional acts of sin as opposed to a life of sin indicated in 6:1.
The people of EASTERN EUROPE are extremely grateful for their new privileges after years of Communist oppression. But now that they can speak more freely, run for political office, and establish private businesses, some are misusing their new freedom.
There are people in the television industry, for example, who are taking advantage of their new opportunities and producing shows that promote immorality, materialism, and the illicit use of drugs.
Many Christians make a similar mistake by misusing their freedom in Christ. Because they are not under law and have been set free from sin's condemnation, they have the idea that they can sin without suffering the consequences. Paul said emphatically, "Certainly not!" People who think this way may be giving evidence that they have never really chosen God's way - that they are still slaves of sin. But even for those who are saved, 1 Corinthians 11:32 and Hebrews 12:6 make it clear that God chastens His children when they are disobedient.
Yes, we are free from Old Testament rules and regulations. Yes, we are free from the burden of trying to earn our way into heaven. But this freedom does not give us license to sin. It obligates us to a life of grateful obedience. May we never misuse or abuse the amazing grace of God.
Verse 16 points out the constraining influence under which freely pardoned sinners are brought that seeks to keep them from becoming servants of what was formerly their master. "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?"
"Do you not know" means that it is self-evident if you think about it. It should be obvious that you become the slave of what you do and can identify your master by what you do or your habits. What ever we continue to yield to becomes our master (Jn. 8:34). If you obey the cravings of sin, then sin is your master and death is your destiny. If you obey the commands of righteousness then righteousness is your master and life is your reward.
Sin enslaves the sinner. Those who obey sin become its slaves, moving on from one degrading service to another, until it works their ruin resulting in moral death. Those who yield themselves to God are under the influence of holiness which will secure constancy of service to God.