Summary: Sin never delivers what it promises but Jesus always does
Americans spend over $60 billion each year trying to lose weight. The National Institutes of Health estimates that includes $25 billion dollars spent on weight loss supplements. Most of the companies that pitch those products promote the idea that you can just take a pill and watch the pounds melt away. The products make grandiose claims like 97% “success rates”, or “clinically proven results” and even offer 90-day money back guarantees.
But the fact is that a pill that allows you to eat whatever you want and lose weight is nothing more than a pipe dream. If anyone ever actually developed a pill that could do that all the other companies would go out of business overnight.
So it’s really no surprise that for the last 10 years the Federal Trade Commission has brought more than 80 law enforcement actions against companies for making false or deceptive weight loss claims for the products they are selling.
By now you’re probably wondering what weight loss supplements have to do with Romans chapter 6. I would suggest to you that as Paul wraps up this chapter, the point he is going to make is that sin is a lot like those weight loss products because, just like those products…
Sin never delivers what it promises
I think all of us have enough experience with sin in our lives that we know that to be true. But the real question we must answer this morning is how knowing that truth makes a difference in the way we live our lives.
So once again this morning, we’ll let Paul answer that question for us. This will be our 4th week in Romans chapter 6, and while it might seem that is a bit of overkill, I am completely convinced that it has been time well spent since this is such a crucial passage when it comes to our development as mature disciples of Jesus.
Hopefully you’ll remember that this chapter began with a question: If God’s grace abounds where sin increases, shouldn’t I just live a lifestyle of sin so that I can experience more of God’s grace? Paul answered that question with a resounding “No!”. He went on to explain that when we place our faith in Jesus we are so closely united with Him in His death and resurrection that we have died to sin and been transformed into completely new creatures who have been freed from the power of sin. Therefore, we can no longer live as slaves to sin.
That gave rise to a second question which essentially asked: I understand that I can’t be a genuine disciple of Jesus and live a lifestyle of sin, but is it OK if I just dabble in a little sin once in a while? Again Paul answered with an emphatic “No!”. He went on to explain that when we sin, we put ourselves back into slavery to sin again and since we become like the master we have chosen to serve we fall into more and more sin as a result.
This morning, as Paul concludes chapter 6, he is going to show us the end result of the person who chooses to return to serving sin once they have been freed from that master. So go ahead and turn in your Bibles to Romans 6 and follow along as I read beginning in verse 20.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 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. 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. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:20-23 ESV)
I’ve already shared with you part of Paul’s main theme in this section:
Sin never delivers what it promises…
But as we’ll see this morning, that’s only half of the story. We’ll complete that statement before we finish this morning.
Let’s begin by taking a look at…
WHAT SIN PROMISES…AND WHAT IT DELIVERS
1. It promises freedom; it delivers slavery
How many of you have ever heard someone say something like this: “I don’t want to submit my life to Jesus because if I do that I have to give up my freedom. I want to be free to get drunk or to have sex with whoever I want. I don’t need any religion to take away my freedom and tell me how to live.”
But what Paul makes clear in verse 20 is that the only freedom these people have is freedom from righteousness. Just as we saw last week, they are not really as free as they think they are because they are actually enslaved to sin.