SUBJ: The manner of our servitude
(slavery) compared with a view toward the active component in receiving
the just reward as that which issues forth from the state of our natures
and consequent actions.
AIM: That we might be sensitive to
that which engenders and empowers eternal life and so be delivered from
the presumptive thought that it is a done deal and I have no worries.
INTR: The passage before us
connects the immensely practical with the spiritual identity we have in
Christ and the hope that eternal life both brings and of which it
1. While Paul may seem to be somewhat repetitive, his aim
is to anchor our identity with Christ to action and expectation in this
2. That he might do so, he resorts to simple
illustration in the language that we all can understand, but with a view
to claiming the full experience of life with Christ.
3. As a
conclusion, Paul brings us to consider the contrasted outcomes of life
lived here on earth and so we will do with one of the most quoted verses
in pressing the Gospel and endeavor to see a common error by close
examination of the context.
The announcement of the gift of God and eternal life brings us to
consider that life, as we know it in Christ, is more than mere existence
and is certainly not characterized by the compelling pursuit of earthly
things. It is rather an interactive vital and exciting existence that
begins here and continues with ever increasing awareness of God and all
His glory, world without end!
I. An absurdity restated and
contrasted (vv. 15-17)
1. This chapter began with a similar statement
1) The suggestion being that sin made grace look good – more sin, more
grace – God forbid!
2) Here the thought is that since grace has done
all sin doesn’t matter – God forbid!
2. It is not a question of what
is allowed or what one may get away with – it is a matter of whose
servant we are
1) Paul uses strong emphasis again (see v. 3, v. 6, v.
9, and now v. 16)
2) His appeal is to common sense reasoning but with
strong spiritual implications in that he points to the outcome of each
manner of life or should we say servitude.
3) The question is given
that we might be ever conscious of Him to whom our allegiance must be.
3. Paul is addressing believers and it is only believers who will truly
understand and be submissive to such truth as this. (First, I thank my
God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of
throughout the whole world. Romans 1:8).
4. Here again, the Apostle
expresses thanksgiving to God that their status had been changed from
servants of sin (on the course to hell) but obeyed from the heart the
Gospel mandate to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and so
II. A change of masters (vv. 18-20)
1. That change
indicated here is as drastic as could occur:
1) The thought of being
free from sin implies first freedom from the guilt and penalty, then
from its power, and from its necessary consequence – death. Never to be
2) This despite the lingering presence of an old
sinful nature and it vain thoughts and deeds.
3) In becoming the
servants of righteousness there is submission to Christ and all that
pertains to Him – holiness as He is holy becomes the objective.
Paul’s resorts to human language and thought for the sake of
clarification owing to them (and us) being weak in the flesh and then
1) All the movements of the flesh in answer to a
sinful nature engaged the whole person in thought and physical
attributes – Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed
innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and
destruction are in their paths. Isaiah 59:7 and compare: Wherein they
think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot,
speaking evil of you: 1 Peter 4:4.
2) With even more zeal should all
that we are given be employed in serving in the pursuit of holiness.
3. The thought of being free from righteousness: that is we had none, we
wanted none and presumed to be free to do as was pleased (which is the
nature of bondage by nature) and felt indebted to none.
fruit unto eternal life (vv. 21-23)
1. A searching question is then
asked: what fruit leads to the question as to what does it profit a man
if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?
1) Even so the
pleasures of sin are but for a season and soon vanishes life all else
and in either case
2) Becomes a source of shame as we think of all
wherein we acted contrary to Christ – this is the stuff of repentance to
the believer and the misery of hell to those who perish.
2. Now, free
from sin and have your fruit unto holiness: 22 But the fruit of the
Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians
3. The wages of sin:
1) The term used here indicates a
payment made after a period of service such as might have been the case
with a Roman soldier – at the end of a year he collected all his wages
and so the picture of
2) An accumulation of services to a wicked
taskmaster, each thought and each act being strictly accounted and then
the wages for each death, death, and more death as the payment never
4. The gift of God:
1) Not eternal life per se but rather
that which brings eternal life.
2) It is by the justifying grace of
God in Christ that we are given entitlement to eternal life, sealed by
the blood of Christ, and claimed by faith. The gift is Christ!
is enjoyed by the grace of God in regeneration and sanctification
whereby are made immediately sensitive to being alive in Christ and
wherein we grow ever reaching to its infinite pleasure and glory with
the Lord. Christ in you is the hope of glory!
4) I have that by which
the joyous life reserved for the saint of God in Christ is both claimed
and experienced which is far above the idea of merely being saved from
hell. Christ is all and in all. Amen