Summary: It is impossible to be neutral in life. Every person has a master - either God on Satan.
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PASSAGE:
“Yesterday the greatest question was decided which ever was debated in America; and a greater perhaps never was, nor will be, decided among men. A resolution was passed without one dissenting colony, that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.” (John Adams, Letter to Abigail Adams 3 July 1776)
It is impossible to be neutral in life. Every person has a master - either God on Satan. A Christian is not someone who has no potential to sin, but someone who is no longer a slave to sin. You are free to choose between the two masters, but you are not free to choose the consequences. Each of these two masters has a pay day. The pay for sin is death, and is all that you can hope for in life without Christ. The pay for following Christ is eternal life. This is a new life with God that begins on earth and continues forever with Him.
Verse 19 suggests that the Christian ought to be as enthusiastic in yielding to the Lord as he was in yielding to sin. Once we were loyal to the old master and yielded our members as slaves to sin. Now we must be loyal to our new master, who has purchased us with His own blood on Calvary’s cross.
Verse 20 says that an unsaved person is free from righteousness. The Prodigal Son is an example of this (Luke 15:11-24 (quickview) ). While he was under the security of his home he decided he wanted his freedom. So he left home so he could do his own thing, but his freedom only led him deeper into slavery. He became the slave of wrong desires, then the slave of wrong deeds, and finally he became a literal slave when he took care of the pigs. He wanted to be free, but he became a slave. What he thought was freedom turned out to be the worst kind of slavery. It was only when he came to his senses and returned home to his father that he found true freedom.
In the old life we produced fruit for the devil. In the new life we produce fruit that glorifies God (verses 21-22). If we serve a master we can expect to receive wages. Sin pays wages which is death. God also pays wages which is everlasting life (v. 23). Samson was an example of one who would not yield himself to God, but preferred to yield himself to the lusts of the flesh, which resulted in death (Judges 16 (quickview) ).
If I, as a believer, refuse to surrender my body to the Lord, but instead allow sinful purposes, then I am in danger of being disciplined by the Father, and this could mean death (Hebrews 12:5-11 (quickview) ).