Summary: From slaves of sin to slaves of God
This section continues Paul’s discussion of sanctification by reminding his readers of their past slavery to sin and their new slavery to righteousness. He wants them to live in submission to their new master, Jesus Christ, and not be entantagled again with the sins that characterized their old life, sins which no longer have any claim over them.
Antinomianism comes from the word comes from the Greek anti, against, and nomos, law. It is the unbiblical practice of living without regard to the righteousness of God, using God’s grace as a license to sin, and trusting grace to cleanse of sin. In other words, since grace is infinite and we are saved by grace, then we can sin all we want and still be saved. It is wrong because even though as Christians we are not under the Law (Romans 6:14) we still fulfill the Law in the Law of love (Romans 13:8,10; Galatians 5:14; 6:2). We are to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:27)) and, thereby, avoid the offense of sin which cost God His only begotten Son. Paul speaks against the concept of antinomianism in Romans 6:1-2: "Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?". We are not to use the grace of God as a means of sin. Instead, we are to be controlled by the love of God and in that way bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22-25).
Romans 6:15, “15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!”
Sin comes from the Greek word Hamartano which basically means choice. Sin is a choice in the will. Our choices leads to agreements that are made which lead to getting self in bondages. This leads to us missing the mark by running away, which leads to us wondering from the standard of God as revealed in the personhood and work of His sacrifice.
Law comes from the Greek Word nomos which is in the noun masculine sense here describing the Mosaic law, and referring, acc. to the context. Either to the volume of the law or to its contents. Paul is preparing his readers here in v.15 for what he will say in chapter 7. Thus what we see already is that Paul has already placed the Jew and Gentile in terms of the Law itself in his previous chapters but he did it in the framework of community. The Law here then would refer to the Old Covenant while grace would refer to the New Covenant. Paul is comparing and contrasting as he has previously in Romans. Paul uses comparison and contrast to get us to understand that sin is a choice; an action that we commit. This helps us too see that the Old Covenant leads to the New Covenant. The New Covenant isn’t possible without the Old Covenant, so therefore the Old covenant now after salvation leads us into obedience, but that is only after one has actually come into the New Covenant. The Old Covenant is bondage without the New Covenant.
Grace comes from the Greek word charis. It is used here in the noun feminine sense which would mean it is describing an event or place, as the law was previously. Grace can describe goodness, mercy but here it is being used to describe of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.
What we will see in the next few verses are obedience (v.16) leads to freedom, freedom to righteousness, which leads to heart (vs.17), to right teaching/discipleship (v.17) and sound theology (v.17.).
Romans 6:16, “16Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?”
Paul is comparing obedience to slavery which is sin to slavery which is death to obedience which is righteousness. We place ourselves as believers in Egypt which is spiritual bondage when we choose to make agreements (choices) with Satan. We do not have to sell ourselves back into slavery as believers, because we have become heirs with the Lord. Paul is speaking of slavery in terms the people would have understood.
Slavery was a common in Rome at this time. Most wealthy land owners had tons of slaves. The government of Rome also sponsored slavery and used them in the affairs of the state. Paul’s audience would have known well what Paul was saying about slavery. When we choose to sin as a believer we are opening ourselves wide for Satan to cause havoc in our lives. We are in effect allowing our peace to be stolen from us. Don’t sell your inheritance for a cheap imitation any longer. Choose today that your inheritance as a child of the Lord is worth growing in and developing. Don’t sell yourself short; run the race towards the face of pursuing the high calling of being a child of the living God. You can be obedient now as a believer only through the shed blood of the Lord who gave you newness of life through His resurrection. Come and be invigorated in the mercies of the Lord today by presenting your life afresh to Him.