12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 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. 22 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. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 6:12-23
As we read this section of chapter 6, in Romans, we find that Paul is unpacking 2 choices – one is the choice to sin and the other is the choice to be obedience. We will walk one or the other. I love that the scripture is so clear that it says, “let not,” “do not present,” and “to present yourselves” as direction for our choices. Paul is spelling out that you have personal responsibility here. We can give ourselves to sin and be a slave to it or we can give ourselves to being obedient to God which leads to righteousness. And he spells out for us what the consequences are; if we give ourselves to to sin then it will lead to death and if we give ourselves to righteousness it leads to sanctification and eternal life. It’s your choice.
Let’s break this down a little bit.
Paul just got done telling us earlier in this chapter, “6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. “
Jesus’s crucifiction and death broke the power of sin in our lives. This is what now gives us the choice to choose death or life. He says here, “16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?”
So then, we can see that Paul is saying that we will follow after something. If you present yourselves to it, you will then do it. What does “present yourself” mean? The definition of this is to talk and behave in a particular way. So we can see then that the way we speak, leads to the way we will behave. Have you ever listened to you own mind chatter? When you are trying to make a decision about something, you will mull it over, think it through, analyze the details, weight the pro’s and con’s, compare to your experience, and come to a conclusion. You have choice to do or not to do a thing. Even saying that we have to choice is a choice to allow something outside of us to control the situation and make the decision. What we are slaves to what we obey!
The a ray of light peirces the darkness in verse 17 and 18 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
We are going to serve something! We served and were slaves to sin! Without the power of Christ at work in us we had no choice. We were sins captives but now we have been set free from sin and can become slaves of righteousness.
But why do we have to be slaves at all??
Paul is helping us to understand the way the world works. Remember in chapter 3, Paul laid out completely just how sinful we have become. Sin and death had reigned over all the earth and we, from head to toe, were thouroughly sinful. Sin had made us it’s slave. Captive to it’s bidding. It’s works always pulsing through our veins. The end of all that sin, what fruit did we get from all that sin that leads to death? I can tell you what fruit I got. I bore anger, hatred, manipulation, fornication, witchcraft, self-serving, and I hurt everyone I loved. Death leaked from me. I may have been pretty and convincing but my heart was going to squeeze every drop of life out of you for my own pleasure and thats the nicest way I can express what I was like before I met Jesus.
God gave the law – so that we could see our sin. Now, God has given Christ, so that we can be made free. Becoming a slave to righteousness leads to sanctification. Sanctification is the action of making or declaring something holy. Jesus did that for us. It’s the action or process of being freed from sin or purified. He had made us new!
The fruit of Christ’s life at work in us is sanctification that leads to eternal life!
Thanks for Listening,