Summary: Dead to sin, slaves to righteousness

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Romans 6:15-23

John Shearhart

August 8, 2010


What do you think would happen if I told my wife that I want to stay married, but I also want the freedom to date other women on occasion?

It probably wouldn’t go over very well, would it?

Or what if you told your boss that you’d like to receive a full paycheck each week, but you’ll also be working for a competing company?

I doubt you’d have your job long.

You see, you can’t be married and date other people. You can’t work for two competing companies at the same time. You have to choose one or the other—do you want to marry or date? Do you want to work for one or the other?

Jesus tells us that no one can serve two masters (Mt. 6:24). In our text tonight Paul continues to address the believer’s new relationship with sin. We saw last week that we’ve been united with Christ. Because of this we’re dead to sin, and we’re no longer to obey it.

Dead to Sin, Slaves to Righteousness

1. We are all slaves to whomever we obey (:15-18)

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!

Since I’m no longer under the law, and since I’m now under grace, what keeps me from sinning? Why wouldn’t I do whatever I want since it’s all covered?

This is a big question for those who don’t believe in eternal security. “You mean that you think you can do whatever you want because you’ve been saved, and you’ll still go to heaven?”

The answer is “yes” and “no.”

“Yes” because I’m under grace, and because my salvation is in Christ Jesus.

“No” because when I’m transferred from slavery to sin to slavery to righteousness, I no longer obey sin; I’m free to submit to righteousness!

16Do 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?

Isn’t it interesting that obedience equals slavery? When men and women do what they want, they think it’s because they’re free. In fact, Scripture tells us, they’re not free at all; they’re slaves to sin, and they’re stuck doing its will.

On the other hand, those who are joined with Christ are slaves to Him in that He is Lord and they obey His will.

Slavery to sin results in death, but slavery to Christ results in righteousness. I want to be clear about this point: we’re not talking about works for salvation. Rather, we’re talking about works because of salvation. The man lost in his sin is dead and his righteousness is non-existent. He’s guilty before God. But the man who’s repented and been joined with Christ now lives in Christ and his righteousness is Christ’s righteousness.

The lost man continues in slavery to sin, but the saved man is now free to live in righteousness. This describes the church at Rome:

17But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

2. Submission to sin leads to more sin, but submission to righteousness leads to sanctification (:19)

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