Romans 6:19-23 (NKJV) 19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Today we come to the end of Romans chapter 6. As we look at the results of the grace of God in Romans, we have found a progression.
1. All mankind is in a state of unrighteousness because of the fall.
2. There is no law we can keep nor price we can pay to overcome this condition.
3. Faith in the sacrifice of Jesus is the only way we can be made right with God. Salvation is the product of God’s grace.
4. What God did in Christ overturned what Satan did in Adam. Since all are under the affects of Adam’s fall, all can partake of redemption in Christ. Faith is the way we partake of what Jesus did.
5. In Romans 6 Paul brings a balance. The salvation we receive by grace through faith does not negate the toxic nature of sin. We still must live according to the principles and ways of God. If we do not we become slaves to sin which will release the power of death in our earthly life.
Today let us finish looking at Romans 6. Paul was accused of preaching a message that gave people license to sin. This was not true. Paul did believe deeply in the grace of God. He did not believe that because we have God’s grace we were free to sin without affect.
What grace did for us is bring us salvation. Salvation changed us inwardly. This inward change gives us a power called “new life” which enables us to live above sin. When we allow this life to flow through our whole being it will drive out all the power of death. This includes giving us an inside out ability to resist temptation and sin.
The law was God’s way of giving access to grace to those who were not changed inwardly. In Romans 8 Paul tells us what the problem is with the law.
Romans 8:3 (NKJV) 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,
The law could never be a vehicle for the salvation God wanted to bring to humanity by his grace. It was weak because it was based in the flesh. God gave the law as a means for a fleshly people to control the flesh. That is always going to fail.
Salvation is strong because it changes man in the spirit. It overrides the flesh. It taps into a power that is as far above the law as Heaven is above earth. That power is available to us in a real way if we walk in it by faith. If we do not access this power, the flesh will reassert itself and we will once again be under the dominion of death.
I want to make it clear that I am not talking about losing salvation. That is another question. I am talking about how much my salvation affects my daily living. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words defines salvation as “all the blessings bestowed upon men in Christ by the Holy Spirit.”
Salvation includes everything promised in the Old Covenant and all that God promises in the New Covenant. How much we see those promises at work in us is determined by how much we allow the life of God within to influence our life without.
That is the message of Romans 6. He concludes this important chapter by saying, “I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh.” I think Paul is amazed at how people seem to misunderstand what is to him a very clear truth. I have been in ministry 40 years and I have been a Christian for 50. I have seen both personally and in the lives of the believers I have dealt with that we have a real problem not allowing the flesh to dominate us.
To me Paul is saying, “This is not rocket science. You used to yield yourself to the flesh and it brought bad things. God provided good things for you but to walk in them you have to yield yourself to righteousness!” That is not complicated.
Paul addresses this problem by pointing out something we should all remember. When we were not saved we all allowed sin to rule our lives. Sin produced a lifestyle that led us away from God. Paul says that the result is death. In today’s section of Romans 6, he reminds them that slavery to sin was not a good way of life.
Verse 20 is an interesting statement. When you were slaves of sin you were free in regard to righteousness. You did not have to be concerned with God’s ways or his nature. You were not right with God, but you did not care. You could do whatever you wanted. The problem with that was the fruit it produced. That fruit was an earthly life to be ashamed of and eternal death in separation from God.
Paul finishes chapter 6 by telling his readers what they now have. They have everlasting life. Hell in not in their future. Their physical lives can produce fruit that is holy to God. That is ours positionally because of salvation through grace. When we allow the new life of God to flow through us it is also true in our daily living. All we need to do is live as slaves of God. A slave has no choice about what he will or will not do. A slave is totally at the command of his master. Like it or not we are totally at the command of our Lord if we are Christians. We are slaves to God.
Finally Paul makes one more summing statement. The wages or payment for sin is death. Eternal death for those who never receive the sacrifice of Jesus in salvation. Sin is an open door for death in our physical lives if we yield our members to it. If we choose daily to yield our members to righteousness, rejecting sin by the power of the inward life we received at salvation, we can have heaven on earth.
The bible is a book of choices. Even in the Old Testament God tells us the kind of life we live is based on the choices we make.
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NKJV) 19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”
Paul sets the same choice before us in Romans 6. We can obey him and his voice and have life and blessing or we can choose to obey the sin and the flesh, and the result will be death and cursing. Grace made the choice available. The choice is ours.