Summary: This is the second of a series of sermons based on scriptures where a rhetorical question beginning with the phrase "Do you not know. . ." is asked. This sermon deals with the rhetorical question asked in Romans 6:16. "Do you not know that if you present
Series: Do You Not Know?
Sermon: Slaves of Righteousness
Text: Romans 6:15-23
Slavery. It’s an ugly word; usually. When we hear the word “slavery” it brings up all kinds of images. Images of trafficking in human misery. Images of poverty and oppression. Images of cruelty and inhumanity. But at the time the New Testament was being written, slavery was not seen as the moral evil it is today. That is because at that time, it was not uncommon for people to sell themselves into slavery in order to avoid an even worse fate. And while slavery was not as desirable as freedom, it was more desirable than prison.
In our text for today, it might be more helpful to think in terms of allegiance or loyalty than in terms of servitude.
Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?
Paul concluded in 1 Timothy 1:9, “understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers,” But what about those who are under grace? If we are under grace, there must be sin, or why would we need grace? Are those redeemed by God’s grace free to sin? Paul concludes, “By no means.” Today we might say, “No way!” Paul concludes that both sinner and saint are slaves. It’s all a matter of to whom we are a slave. You see, unless you could purchase your own freedom, you were a slave. You could be bought and sold in the marketplace. You might have a good and kind owner. You might have an evil and cruel owner. But at the end of the day, someone still owned you. You were not free. So it is with our freedom in Christ. We cannot purchase our freedom. Our ownership has changed. But at the end of the day, someone still owns us. We are not owned by sin, Thank God! We are owned by righteousness!
Do you not know you are a slave to what you obey?
If you are a slave to sin, that means that certain things are true. It means that you obey sin, that is temptation, you give in to sin you do what sin tells you to. It means that that kind of life leads to death. Remember the Law of sin and death? The soul who sins is the soul that will die. But if you are a slave of righteousness, that means that certain things are true also. It means you live under a new set of rules. It means that the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ has set me free from the Law of Sin and Death! (Romans 8:2). Sin is a harsh task mater, but to be mastered by righteousness—that’s a good thing.
Thanks Be To God
We are to be obedient to the form (or standard) of teaching. The word "standard" can mean "a form". When you are casting a statue, the form gives shape to the statue. It serves as the standard for what will come out of the mold or form. As servants of righteousness we have certain standards that we live by. What standard have we committed ourselves to? Righteousness—We’re going to do what’s right, regardless of the personal cost. Faithfulness—We’re going to be true to God, even if we’re the only one. Purity—We will not pollute our bodies with moral filth. Our old standard was Lawlessness. Lawlessness just leads to more lawlessness—it’s a dead-end street. Lawlessness does not lead to sanctification—only righteousness does.
Present your members as slaves to righteousness. Remember the children’s song, "Be careful little eyes what you see. . .Be careful little hands what you do. . . Be careful little feet where you go." We have been set free from sin to become slaves of righteousness. When we were slaves to sin, we were free in regard to righteousness. Do you think because you are free from righteousness that you can do as you want to? No, my friend. You do not do what you want to—you do what sin wants to. But what did that get you? (see verse 21) Shame. Death.
But now you are slaves to God. And that leads to sanctification and eternal life in Christ Jesus.
For now, we must stop, for if we continue, we will run into our next “Do you not know” question. So let’s wrap it up.
Brothers and sisters, I want to say that it is a pleasure to work for this congregation. You eagerly devour the Word of God. I sense here a true hungering and thirsting for the Word of God.
And I also sense a true hungering and thirsting for righteousness. You want to do what is right. You may not always succeed. You may stumble and fall. But you get back up and keep going, striving to do better. "Good, better, best. Never let it rest, until your good is better and your better is best."