CMF eZine

The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship.

Romans 6:22 - Free Slaves

Rom 6:22
But now being made free from sin - As being free from righteousness is the finished character of a sinner, so being made free from sin is the finished character of a genuine Christian.

And become servants to God - They were transferred from the service of one master to that of another: they were freed from the slavery of sin, and engaged in the service of God.

Fruit unto holiness - Holiness of heart was the principle; and righteousness of life the fruit.
(Dr. Adam Clarke)
But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. (NASB)
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. (KJV)
But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. (NLT)
But now, freed from sin and enslaved to God, you have your benefit leading to sanctification, and the end is eternal life. (NET)
John 3:36 And anyone who believes in God's Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn't obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God's angry judgment." (NLT)

The "end fruit," the culmination and completion (telos - completion as in a state of perfection) of God's plan is our sanctification and eternal life.  There is no more perfect example than that of Christ Jesus Himself who yielded to the will of the Father.  This is our fruit (derived benefit) of His holiness permeating every fiber of our being by His presence in our lives.  We are now delivered from sin's slavery and have been transformed into slaves of His righteousness (bond slaves of Christ) who is Lord.  It is hard for the American mindset to understand that there can be such amazing liberty in slavery because what our flesh really desires is freedom to do what our fallen nature desires.  But as we have seen this has been described as bondage with the illusion of freedom.  Only in Christ is there true liberty because our current tent of habitation is a vessel of corruption.  So we wait patiently for our Lord's return when these earthly bodies will be raised incorruptible and our final perfection realized.  However, the here and now is life in the Spirit who will lead us in the way everlasting.

In the Greek mind the idea of freedom (eleutheroo?) was in contrast to slavery (douloo?) and was considered in the political context. Aristotle phrase this as κοινων?α τ?ν ?λευθ?ρων ,the assembly of freedom (The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament). In this sense we are now the congregation of the liberated!

Romans 6:21 - Fruit-loop

Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. (NASB)
What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. (KJV)
And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. (NLT)
So what benefit did you then reap from those things that you are now ashamed of? For the end of those things is death. (NET)
Translation. Therefore, what fruit were you having then, upon the basis of which things now you are ashamed? (Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English reader).
Ezekiel 16:61 (NLT)  Then you will remember with shame all the evil you have done.

What profit is there in the earthly sin that gives only the illusion of pleasure and brings with it only imaginary satisfaction?  If by my sinful practices, I would have gained the riches of the whole world and yet lose my soul to an eternity of torment, would I not be the eternal looser?  Would this not be a profit that evaporates in the heat of the final righteous judgment when Christ shall judge the living and the dead?

Romans 6:20 - Done Wronger

Ye were free from righteousness - These two servitudes are incompatible; if we cannot serve God and Mammon, surely we cannot serve Christ and Satan. We must be either sinners or saints; God’s servants or the devil’s slaves.  It cannot be as a good mistaken man has endeavored to sing: -

“To good and evil equal bent,
I’m both a devil and a saint.”

(Dr. Adam Clarke)
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. (NASB)
For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. (KJV)
When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. (NLT)
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free with regard to righteousness. (NET)

There couldn't be a stronger way to describe the prevalence of sin as Paul does here.  We were free from righteousness — in no way capable of doing good!  The word reprobate seems to be an understatement (tested and found to be no good).  I suppose one could argue that we do some good (at least in our eyes) but the Word says our righteousnesses are but filthy rags.  The lie is on our lips as we deceive ourselves deeper into the pit where darkness appears as light and we are unable to distinguish the difference.  How sad is our plight before a Savior's love enters onto the scene with a love that is able to overcome our piteous estate and deliver us out of death and into a new life!

Romans 6:19 - Give Yourselves to Liberty

Every man is the servant of the master to whose commands he yields himself; whether it be the sinful dispositions of his heart, in actions which lead to death, or the new and spiritual obedience implanted by regeneration.  The apostle rejoiced now they obeyed from the heart the gospel, into which they were delivered as into a mould. As the same metal becomes a new vessel, when melted and recast in another mould, so the believer has become a new creature.  And there is great difference in the liberty of mind and spirit, so opposite to the state of slavery, which the true Christian has in the service of his rightful Lord, whom he is enabled to consider as his Father, and himself as his son and heir, by the adoption of grace.  The dominion of sin consists in being willingly slaves thereto, not in being harassed by it as a hated power, struggling for victory.  Those who now are the servants of God, once were the slaves of sin. (Matthew Henry)
I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh.  For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification. (NASB)
I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. (KJV)
Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this.  Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin.  Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy. (NLT)
(I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh.)  For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. (NET)

Here is where we reiterated the transition from the positional to the practical.  We must give ourselves to be slaves of righteous living else we will not find the liberty we seek.  There is no picking and choosing!  Salvation has a cost, everything.  The sanctification that follows comes by walking with the Savior and submitting to His headship!

Romans 6:18 - Emancipation Proclamation

Being then made free from sin - Ελευθερωθεντες is a term that refers to the manumission of a slave. They were redeemed from the slavery of sin, and became the servants of righteousness.  Here is another prosopopoeia: both sin and righteousness are personified: sin can enjoin no good and profitable work; righteousness can require none that is unjust or injurious. (Dr. Adam Clarke)
eleutheróo?; contracted eleuthero??, fut. eleuthero??so?, from eleútheros (G1658), free.  To make free, liberate from the power and punishment of sin, the result of redemption (John 8:32, John 8:36; Romans 6:18, Romans 6:22) (The Complete Word Study Dictionary, Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D., General Editor)
and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. (NASB)
Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. (KJV)
Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living. (NLT)
and having been freed from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness. (NET)

We cannot overstate the liberty that is bestowed upon the believer because it is contrasted with the total and complete bondage that is sin! I have often said that sin is like a fishhook, no matter whether you push it through our pull it out, the pain is excruciating!  The concept of deliverance from this bondage to a new life in Christ Jesus at some level becomes mind boggling.  Yet this is exactly what is being communicated here by the Apostle.  In union with Christ we are free to become all that He has designed us to be!  Will my flesh continue to strive against this liberty?  Yes, but I am no longer obligate to (listen under) obey its voice!

Rom 6:18 Being then made free from sin,.... Not from a sinful nature; nor from a corrupt heart; nor from vain thoughts; nor from sinful words; nor from sinful actions altogether; but from the damning power of sin: sin brought all men under a sentence of condemnation; Christ has bore the execution of this sentence in himself for his people; hence, as considered in him, they are free from it; and such as are born again have passed from death to life, and shall never enter into condemnation: likewise, such persons are free from the guilt of sin; men are in a legal sense arraigned for sin, accused of it, and being convicted, are pronounced guilty before God; and awakened souls have a sense of it in themselves; but the blood of Christ sprinkled on their consciences frees them from it; though fresh sins committed bring fresh guilt, which requires the continual application of the blood of Jesus for pardon and cleansing: but what is chiefly designed here is freedom from the servitude of sin, as appears from the context. Now God's elect are not released voluntarily by their former masters; nor is their freedom obtained by their own power and will; but it is of God, Father, Son, and Spirit; and the Gospel is generally the means of it, and happy are those persons who are blessed with it! They are rid of a bad master; are freed from the worst of bondage; will be no more servants, as before; are delivered from the power, and out of the kingdom of darkness; are heirs of heaven, and shall enjoy the glorious liberty of the children of God: and for the time present are 
become the servants of righteousness; servants to God, whose Gospel they obey; servants to Christ, whose righteousness they submit to; and servants to the law of righteousness, as held forth by Christ; they give up themselves to a course and life of righteousness, in which there are true honour, peace, and pleasure. (Dr. John Gill)

Romans 6:17 - Cast into a New Mold

That form of doctrine - Τυπον διδαχης; here Christianity is represented under the notion of a mold, or die, into which they were cast, and from which they took the impression of its excellence.  The figure upon this die is the image of God, righteousness and true holiness, which was stamped on their souls in believing the Gospel and receiving the Holy Ghost.  The words εις ο?ν παρεδοθητε τυπον refer to the melting of metal; which, when it is liquefied, is cast into the mold, that it may receive the impression that is sunk or cut in the mold; and therefore the words may be literally translated, into which mold of doctrine ye have been cast.  They were melted down under the preaching of the word, and then were capable of receiving the stamp of its purity. (Dr. Adam Clarke)
But 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, (NASB)
But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. (KJV)
Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. (NLT)
But thanks be to God that though you were slaves to sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were entrusted to, (NET)
2Ti 1:13 Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus. (NLT)

Thankfulness seems a understatement for having been delivered from the slavery of sin.  But here we see the supremacy of the Gospel that casts us into its mold where the likeness of Christ is delivered into our being so that we can see His pattern upon us and can wholeheartedly obey, (listen under, conform, heed, hearken) as newly created righteous vessels.  A new nature gives sustenance to a new life lived in union with Christ Jesus.

τυπος here, is used by the Jewish writers for a form, copy, pattern, or exemplar of any sort of writings This form of doctrine is ????, "a Cabala", but not like that of the Jews' oral law, or form of traditions, handed down, as they say, from one man, and set of men, to another; but this is delivered from the Father to Christ, from Christ to his apostles, and by them to the saints; and "into which they were delivered", as it may be rendered, as into a mould; and so received the impression of it, and were evangelized by it: so such are who have a spirit of Gospel liberty, in opposition to a spirit of bondage; who live by faith on Christ, and not by the works of the law; who derive their comfort from him, and not from anything done by them; whose repentance and obedience are influenced by the grace of God, and who are zealous of good works, without any dependence on them. (Dr. John Gill)

Romans 6:16 - Slaves of Righteousness

To whom ye yield yourselves - To whom ye give up yourselves for servitude or obedience.  The apostle here refers to voluntary servitude; but where this existed, the power of the master over the time and services of the servant was absolute.  The argument of the apostle is, that Christians had become the voluntary servants of God, and were therefore bound to obey him entirely.  Servitude among the ancients, whether voluntary or involuntary, was rigid, and gave the master an absolute right over his slave (Dr. Albert Barnes)

doúlos; gen. doúlou, masc. noun.  A slave, one who is in a permanent relation of servitude to another, his will being altogether consumed in the will of the other (Matthew 8:9; Matthew 20:27; Matthew 24:45-46).  Generally one serving, bound to serve, in bondage (Romans 6:16-17). (Word Study - Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D.)
Do 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? (NASB)
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (KJV)
Don't you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. (NLT)
Do you not know that if you present yourselves as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or obedience resulting in righteousness? (NET)

Once again the Apostle make the argument from the standpoint of "knowing."  Quite literally, don't you know that you become a slave of who you stand beside and listen under.  If we stand next to sin we are once again enslaved!  However, if we stand next to Christ we are liberated from sin's power and empowered to live righteous lives.  Beloved, our life of liberty is found in slavery!  A volitional choice we make each day is who then shall we serve.  If you want to live in compound misery, try deluding yourselves into thinking you are serving two masters (sin and Christ) a Non sequitur (doesn't follow - fallacy).

When I rise in the morning, my body hurts and rebels against my wishes almost from the minute of conscience thought.  If I were to base my life upon feelings, I would be thwarted before my feet could touch the floor.  My faith must be in the Word alone that lives forever, Amen!  "I dare not trust the sweetest phrase but wholly lean on Jesus Name" (my Rock and my Redeemer).  I am a slave of Christ by choice yielding to his perfect goodness and steadfast love for me a lowly sinner for whom he bled and died.  This love given to me undeserved is what puts wind in my sails and give meaning to my life today as I enter into His Sabbath Rest!

The word δουλος, which we translate servant, properly signifies slave; and a slave among the Greeks and Romans was considered as his master’s property, and he might dispose of him as he pleased.  Under a bad master, the lot of the slave was most oppressive and dreadful; his ease and comfort were never consulted; he was treated worse than a beast; and, in many cases, his life hung on the mere caprice of the master.  This state is the state of every poor, miserable sinner; he is the slave of Satan, and his own evil lusts and appetites are his most cruel task-masters.  The same word is applied to the servants of Christ, the more forcibly to show that they are their Master’s property; and that, as he is infinitely good and benevolent, therefore his service must be perfect freedom.  Indeed, he exacts no obedience from them which he does not turn to their eternal advantage; for this master has no self-interest to secure. (Dr. Adam Clarke)

Romans 6:15 - Of Course Not!

Rom 6:15
Shall we sin because we are not under the law - Shall we abuse our high and holy calling because we are not under that law which makes no provision for pardon, but are under that Gospel which has opened the fountain to wash away all sin and defilement? Shall we sin because grace abounds? Shall we do evil that good may come of it? This be far from us! (Dr. Adam Clarke)
His servants ye are to whom ye obey. If we obey sin, we are sin's servants, under his reign, and will receive, not grace, but sin's wages, which is death; or, on the other hand, if we obey Christ, we are his servants, and enjoy his righteousness. None enjoy this blessedness but those who turn from sin and obey Christ. (The People's New Testament)
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! (NASB)
What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. (KJV)
Well then, since God's grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning?  Of course not! (NLT)
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Absolutely not! (NET)

Liberation is not license!  Do we wish to continue to receive the recompense of sin in our mortal bodies after we have been freed from its bondage?  I think not! We are NOT somehow made impervious to the wrath of God revealed against ALL unrighteousness and ALL ungodliness.  To the contrary, gravity still exists! Instead, wouldn't we rather continue to grow in Grace enjoying a greater intimacy with the Savior of our soul?

Now it is true that, not being under the law, the rule under which we are placed is not that of imputation but of non-imputation.  Is this a reason why we should sin? No! there is a reality in these things. We are slaves to that which we obey.  Sin leads to death; obedience to practical righteousness.  We are upon the wider principle of a new nature and grace; not the application of an external rule to a nature which was not, and could not be subject to it.  And, in truth, having been in the former case, the disciples in Rome had given proof of the justice of the apostle's argument by walking in the truth.  Set free from the slavery of sin, they had become (to use human language) the slaves of righteousness, and this did not end in itself; practical righteousness developed itself by the setting apart of the whole being for God with ever-growing intelligence.  They were obedient in such-and-such things; but the fruit was sanctification, a spiritual capacity, in that they were separated from evil, unto a deeper knowledge of God. (Dr. John Darby)

Romans 6:14 - No Longer Down Under

He grants that sin is not yet so dead in us that it is utterly extinct: but he promises victory to those that contend bravely, because we have the grace of God given to us which works so that the law is not now in us the power and instrument of sin. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)

For we are not under law - We who are Christians are not subject to that law where sin is excited, and where it rages unsubdued.

But under grace - Under a scheme of mercy, the design and tendency of which is to subdue sin, and destroy it. In what way the system of grace removes and destroys sin, the apostle states in the following verses. (Dr. Albert Barnes)
Rom 6:14
Sin shall not have dominion over you - God delivers you from it; and if you again become subject to it, it will be the effect of your own choice or negligence.

Ye are not under the law - That law which exacts obedience, without giving power to obey; that condemns every transgression and every unholy thought without providing for the extirpation of evil or the pardon of sin.

But under grace - Ye are under the merciful and beneficent dispensation of the Gospel, that, although it requires the strictest conformity to the will of God, affords sufficient power to be thus conformed; and, in the death of Christ, has provided pardon for all that is past, and grace to help in every time of need. (Dr. Adam Clarke)
For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (NASB)
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. (KJV)
Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God's grace. (NLT)
For sin will have no mastery over you, because you are not under law but under grace. (NET)

Remembering the primary illustration of this passage and the contrasts from previous verses, sin was the master and we were the slaves.  But since we are now dead (in Christ) we are no longer slaves but freemen and enjoy the liberty (deliverance from bondage) that is in His Grace.  The law reveals and even excites our propensity to sin.  But we are no longer under its impossible weight that could not be carried rather we are under Grace that carries us.  No longer burdened by the law but because of Grace a fulfillment of the law.

Rom 6:11-15
The strongest motives against sin, and to enforce holiness, are here stated.  Being made free from the reign of sin, alive unto God, and having the prospect of eternal life, it becomes believers to be greatly concerned to advance thereto.  But, as unholy lusts are not quite rooted out in this life, it must be the care of the Christian to resist their motions, earnestly striving, that, through Divine grace, they may not prevail in this mortal state.  Let the thought that this state will soon be at an end, encourage the true Christian, as to the motions of lusts, which so often perplex and distress him. Let us present all our powers to God, as weapons or tools ready for the warfare, and work of righteousness, in his service.  There is strength in the covenant of grace for us. Sin shall not have dominion. God's promises to us are more powerful and effectual for mortifying sin, than our promises to God.  Sin may struggle in a real believer, and create him a great deal of trouble, but it shall not have dominion; it may vex him, but it shall not rule over him.  Shall any take occasion from this encouraging doctrine to allow themselves in the practice of any sin?  Far be such abominable thoughts, so contrary to the perfections of God, and the design of his gospel, so opposed to being under grace.  What can be a stronger motive against sin than the love of Christ?  Shall we sin against so much goodness, and such love? (Matthew Henry)

Romans 6:13 - Don't Shoot Yourself in the Foot!

As instruments - This word ο?πλα hopla properly signifies “arms;” or implements of war; but it also denotes an instrument of any kind which we use for defense or aid.  Here it means that we should not devote our members - our hands, tongue, etc., as if under the direction of sinful passions and corrupt desires, to accomplish purposes of iniquity.  We should not make the members of our bodies the slaves of sin reigning within us. (Dr. Albert Barnes)
Neither yield ye your members - Do not yield to temptation.  It is no sin to be tempted, the sin lies in yielding.  While the sin exists only in Satan’s solicitation, it is the devil’s sin, not ours: when we yield, we make the devil’s sin our own: then we Enter Into temptation.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Satan himself cannot force you to sin: till he wins over your will, he cannot bring you into subjection.  You may be tempted; but yield not to the temptation. (Dr. Adam Clarke)
and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. (NASB)
Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. (KJV)
Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. (NLT)
and do not present your members to sin as instruments to be used for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead and your members to God as instruments to be used for righteousness. (NET)

One of the best books you could ever read is "The Holy War" by John Bunyan.  There is even a version that has been updated into the modern English.  Inside this wonderful text you will find the best manual on warfare ever penned.  It recounts the battle for Mansoul (Man's Soul) a city that was built by Emmanuel.  It had impenetrable ramparts and beautiful gates (the eye-gate, ear-gate, nose-gate, mouth-gate, and feel-gate).  Visitors could only enter at the behest of the inhabitants. Diablo and his minions stood outside the gates planning their attack.  Would it be a frontal attack?  No, they would enter in the form over which the inhabitants thought they had dominion!

Do you catch the subtlety of the deception here?  Do you see how important it is to have control over your own body?  The warning here is that sin will not come roaring across the drawbridge where the watchmen guard with vigilance, but rather approach with stealth!  We must not let any part of our body be used as a weapon of sin.  Perhaps, in modern terms, one would say, "don't shoot yourself in the foot!"  Instead recognize that the Lord has made you alive to serve Him and His righteousness for the sake of a lost and dying world.

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