Lesson 20

The Epistle to the Romans

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

6:15 What then? Will we sin, because we are not under law, but under grace? Certainly not! 6:16 Donít you know that to whom you present yourselves as servants to obedience, his servants you are whom you obey; whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness? 6:17 But thanks be to God, that, whereas you were servants of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto you were delivered. 6:18 Being made free from sin, you became servants of righteousness. 6:19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh, for as you presented your members as servants to uncleanness and to wickedness upon wickedness, even so now present your members as servants to righteousness for sanctification. 6:20 For when you were servants of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 6:21 What fruit then did you have at that time in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 6:22 But now, being made free from sin, and having become servants of God, you have your fruit of sanctification, and the result of eternal life. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 Today's Lesson 

Paul had stated in verse 14 that because Christ died to sin we are not under law but under grace. Knowing the human habit of trying to find loopholes where sin is concerned, Paul seeks to clarify that he is not saying that because we are under grace we are any less committed to righteousness. We are not free to live in sin under grace.


Paul states that whoever you serve is your master. If you follow the way of flesh and live as one who is godless then sin will be your master. But, if you accept the gift of Godís grace then we should live as servants of God and live out the righteousness that was imputed to us when we were placed in the body of Christ. An attitude that neglects our obligation to live holy lives reflects an inadequate understanding of the destructiveness of sin and the righteousness of God.


"The wages of sin is death." The life that is centered on serving the flesh is a life that is self-destructive. Sin consumes us from the insides. It destroys our relationships with others and our relationship with God. We believe that we can control sin like we control fire. We believe that we can master it and derive pleasure without suffering the consequences. Or we minimize the consequences and believe that no one is seriously affected by our sin.


But sin is completely destructive. It consumes everything that it touches like a wildfire. Time and again our capacity to control sin in our lives is shown to be insufficient and yet we rarely learn from our mistakes. We become slaves to the very sin that we sought to enjoy.


But Christ has offered us a better way. By accepting the gift of Godís grace we have the opportunity for the first time to serve God and to be welcomed into His presence. It was not possible to please God before, while we were still slaves to sin, but having been freed of the dominion of sin we have the "fruit of sanctification, and the result of eternal life."


So the question of whether or not we are to continue to live sinful lives after coming to Christ comes down to whether we would rather serve corruption and death or serve eternal life and righteousness. If a person is still at the point in their lives where sin and death are compelling and attractive then they will probably continue to pursue those things. But for those who have received a glimpse of the glory of God and the surpassing pleasures of the eternal such earthly things are a poor imitation. Sin becomes less attractive as we know it and God becomes more attractive as we grow closer to Him. Sin is a cheap knock-off of what God has to offer and when we realize how little it has to offer we are attracted to it less and less.


Do Christians, even mature Christians, continue to sin? Yes, sin is deceptive and sneaks up on us even when we are strongest. But for those who are maturing in Christ sin has lost its luster. Those who have tasted the goodness of God are not easily satisfied with earthly fare. We will never live sinless lives in this world, but Paul tells us that we have been "made free from sin." Sin no longer is our master. Our master is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.


Have you come to the place in your life where the appeal of sin has worn thin? Are you ready for a change in your life? Are you ready to be set free by the love of God? Are you ready to serve a new master?


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