Slaves to God

Romans 6 ESV

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. This is the essence of the gospel of our salvation – always has been, and always will be! When we come to believing faith (God-given faith) in Jesus Christ, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, that we might walk in it, in righteousness and holiness. So, how can we, who have died with Christ to sin, continue to live in sin? Nay!

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Jesus did not die on that cross that horrible death merely to forgive us our sins so we can escape hell and go to heaven when we die. He died on that cross to put sin to death in our lives, that we would no longer walk in bondage (slavery, addiction) to sin, but so we would walk in holiness.

For, when Jesus died, he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. And, it is the same for us in that we must consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Thus, this is saying that faith in Jesus Christ means putting sin to death in our lives and walking in obedience to our Lord in his power and strength within us. For, this is why Jesus died!

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Ok, we need to understand here that not everyone is teaching this. Not everyone is teaching that our salvation is for the very purpose that sin would no longer have dominion over our lives, but that we would now be under the control of righteousness and the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Many people, in fact, are teaching that God requires no repentance (turning away from sin), no submission to the Lordship of Christ, and no obedience to the Lord, too. They have reduced faith in Jesus Christ to a mere profession of (ambiguous) faith and a belief that Jesus merely forgives sin and promises us heaven when we die, but that nothing is required of us in the way or holiness, righteousness, morality, honesty or faithfulness.

So, we need to understand that God’s grace is not a free license to continue in slavery to sin. For his grace, which brings salvation, demands that we say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and that we live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s soon return (Tit. 2:11-14). For, our salvation from sin is deliverance from our addiction to sin!!

What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

We are either slaves (addicted to) righteousness or we are slaves (addicted to) sin. This is not saying we will never sin again, though. What scripture teaches with regard to this is that it all comes down to lifestyle. It all comes down to what we practice. For what we practice reveals what we really believe (Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Eph. 4:17-24; Gal. 5:19-21).

This is not about perfection! This is not legalism, either, and it is not works-based salvation. For, what we practice also shows where our allegiance truly lies, either to sin and self or to God and to his righteousness (Gal. 6:7-8).

I can’t tell you, though, where God draws the line, i.e. how he determines who is a slave to righteousness and who is a slave to sin, since we all have the propensity to sin against God. But, it seems to me that if someone is wanting to know how far is too far, that he or she is probably already living in sinful addiction. And, it is God who judges our hearts and who knows where our allegiance truly stands. He knows whose hearts are given to him.

The point of all this, I believe, is that if we are truly in Christ, by faith in him, we will want to obey him. We will want to walk in holiness. Yet, this is not saying, again, that we will never fail, or even that we may not ever wander off from our pure devotion to Christ for a time (See Rev. 2-3) and need to be brought back to repentance and be renewed and restored to our Lord.

But, if we begin with the premise that we don’t have to repent or obey Christ, then that is a false premise and a false faith of the cheap grace gospel. If we begin thinking that once we have believed in Jesus that heaven is secured for us and so it doesn’t matter how much we sin from that point forward, then again that is a false faith which will end in death, not life.

For, true faith in Jesus Christ, because it is God-given and God-persuaded, submits to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and it forsakes our old lives of living for sin and self, and it walks in the Spirit in obedience to Christ and to His Word, not in absolute perfection, but in lifestyle, as a matter of course.

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So many people quote this last verse, but out of context. They quote it in the context of a gospel presentation followed up by a prayer to receive Christ, and that once that prayer has been prayed, then they congratulate that person that they are now in God’s family, that heaven is secured for them, and that nothing can ever take that away from them.

They quote it in the context of a faith that says once that prayer is prayed then all sins are forgiven and therefore their debt was paid and now that they have received this free gift of salvation, they are guaranteed eternal life with God no matter what they do from that point forward.

But that isn’t what this is saying, not exactly, though that is partially correct. But, we have to read it in the context of the whole chapter and even in the context of this last paragraph. For, what this is saying is that this all comes down to whom we are in enslavement, and to whom we obey as a matter of practice in our lives.

For, if we are walking (living in) sinful addiction to porn, adultery, lust, gossip, gluttony, slander, lying, stealing, etc. then that is who we are obeying, and that is who is our master, and the result of that is death. But, true freedom in Christ is not free of righteousness, but it is slavery to righteousness, to which we obey, and that results in eternal life.

So, when it says here that the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord, we have to read this in context!!

For, it is talking about sinful practices. It is talking about living in sinful addiction to lust, porn, adultery, lying, cheating, stealing and the like. The wages of slavery to sin (to the one whom we obey) is eternal death. But, the free gift of God is freedom from our slavery to sin and it is slavery to righteousness, and that is what results in eternal life with God.

He Lifted Our Burdens

An Original Work / February 15, 2014
Based off Isaiah 9:2-7

People walk in darkness.
They abide in their sin.
It has power o’er them.
True belief escapes them.

Jesus Christ came to save them.
He gave His life up for them;
Crucified; died for our sin,
So we might be forgiven,
And have life up in heaven.

Many come to know Him.
God’s love now o’erflows them.
They rejoice in vict’ry.
Their sin is but hist’ry.

We were once bound in slav’ry.
Jesus lifted our burdens;
Set us now free from Satan,
So we now walk in freedom.
Sin has no more dominion.

Praise be to our Savior!
He showed us His favor.
He took all our burdens;
Cast them all upon Him.

He is our mediator;
The Light which shines in darkness.
Counselor in our troubles;
He gives peace now in our hearts;
Joy which is everlasting.

Monday, March 25, 2019

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