Friday, August 20, 2010

Slaves to Righteousness - Romans 6:15-23

We are now into the book of Romans in our Bible Reading Plan.
Following on from my post on "Ouchhhh .... !! Exodus 21:2-6", the strange concept of a willing slave, Apostle Paul brought the argument further in Romans 6:15-23

Verse 16: Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

The willing slave is the one who has the option or choice to be a slave. In this argument, Paul is basically saying that we have really only two options in life. Either you are a slave to sin, or a slave to righteousness. And righteousness comes through faith, not of our works.

Ephesians 2:8-9 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.

In the first instance, when we are slaves to sins, we are unwilling slaves. We all know how easy it is to sin. It comes so naturally. We never have to teach a child to do wrong. They will naturally do wrong. But we have to teach a child to do RIGHT. We are therefore naturally drag into sins because of our sin nature. We have to try very hard not to sin.

In the second instance, when we are slaves to righteousness, we choose to do what's right. The willingness comes from a wholehearted desire to follow Christ. The new life in us enables us to free ourselves from ourselves (the sin nature) and turn that control over to Christ. 

2 Cor 5:17 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Gal 2:20 20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Romans 6:6-7 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with (or rendered powerless), that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

When we move away from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light, we experience an inner transformation or regeneration which allows the Holy Spirit to render that sinfulness powerless over our lives. Instead, we now choose with a new desire to do what honors God. It is not without struggle because Paul gave us a glimpse of the inner battle in Romans 7:7-25 of our struggles with our sin nature - the flesh man versus the spirit man. This struggle remains with us until the day we die. Hence the need to choose each day to live for Him by the power of the Holy Spirit.

'Be filled with Spirit' in Ephesians 5:18 is not a one-off experience. The verb used is of a continuous tense, which rightly translated, 'be constantly filled' or 'keep on being filled', with the Spirit of God.

We need to guard our hearts therefore everyday to ensure that new life is fed rightly.
What are the principles and lessons?

1. When we are slaves to sin, we can't help but do wrong.
2. When we are truly slaves to righteousness, we can't help but do right.

That's why many of us experienced that when we became a Christian, we no longer like to do what we used to do. There's a strange desire that envelopes us that helps us stay away from wrong things. I know of new Christians who were chain smokers before and upon their new life, the taste of cigarettes became repulsive instantly.

But we do not take this new life for granted, but to nurture it to be strong spiritually so that we do not fall back into our sinful nature. The KEY is therefore is daily OBEDIENCE to the Word of God. That builds a strong spirit man within.

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