Who Will You Serve?

Romans 617–18 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Romans 6:15–19 (ESV)

15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 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? 17 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, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 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.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Should Christians go on sinning? After all, we are saved by grace and not by keeping the law, right? Paul answers this question with “By no means!” It is true that we are saved by grace and not through keeping the law, but how we live reveals who, or what, we serve. If we continue to sin, we prove that we are still slaves to sin. If we live lives of righteousness, we show that we serve righteousness. And Christ died so that we did not have to remain slaves of sin.

When we read this passage, or others like it, we must keep in mind that the Bible is not speaking of perfect sinlessness. Scripture is clear that even the saved still sin, though there should be a continued growth in holiness over a lifetime. One day we will be completely free from sin and its consequences, but that day is still future. For now, we live in obedience to our Lord through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us while humbly admitting that we often fail and seeking to remove sin from our lives rather than letting it grow. Through our righteous living we prove that we are no longer slaves to sin and that we now serve righteousness.

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