Free From Sin (Part 3)
Romans 6:17-18
"After genuine salvation a person will have the innate, Spirit-led desire to know and to obey God's truth." ~ John MacArthur
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#righteousness
#slave
Published November 6th, 2018; Updated November 7th, 2018
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The Argument - Explaining the Two Slaveries - Their Position (6:17-18)
Romans 6:17-18
NASB
What did the text mean to the biblical audience?
What's the difference between us and the biblical audience?
What's the theological principle(s)?
How does the theological principle(s) fit with the rest of Scripture?
How should individual Christians today live out the theological principle(s)?
Free From Sin (6:15-23)
Questions for Clarification
Keywords
Quotes
notes
The Argument - Explaining the Two Slaveries - Their Position (6:17-18)
Paul thanks God, because they (his Roman audience) have become slaves of righteousness, obedie nt from the heart.
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Romans 6:17-18 NASB
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Romans 6:17-18
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17 But a thanks be to God that 1 though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that b form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been a freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
What did the text mean to the biblical audience?
Paul thanks God that He has freed his Roman audience from sin. As a result, they have become slaves of righteousness, and not only slaves, but willing slaves, obedient from the heart, to the teachings of Christ.
What's the difference between us and the biblical audience?
In this context, the difference is that we don't fully understand the concept of slavery as the biblical audience understood and experienced it. We aren't subjected to physical slavery as they were, nor do we subject anyone else to slavery as they did.
What's the theological principle(s)?
1) Upon salvation, God frees Christians from the slavery to sin, and as a result of that 2) they become willing slaves of righteousness, 3) obedient from the heart to the teachings of Christ.
How does the theological principle(s) fit with the rest of Scripture?
John 6:44 - We see that God has to do the work of drawing a person to Christ before that person can come to Him. John 6:65 - God drawing us is something God has to grant to us. Ezek 36:25-27 - It can be clearly seen that God is the one who does all the work. He removes the heat of stone. He gives us a new heart of flesh. He puts His Spirit in us. He causes us to walk in His statutes and to be careful to observe His ordinances. 2 John 1:9 - John says that anyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ does not have God, but the one who abides in His teachings has both the Father and the Son. 2 Tim 1:13 - Paul exhorts Timothy to "retain the standard of sound words" that he received form Paul. 2 Tim 4:3 - Later in the same epistle, Paul warns timothy that a "time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires." Because Scripture conflicts with people's ability to do their own desires, they reject Scripture and make up their own doctrines. Titus 1:9 - Paul exhorts Timothy to hold "fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict." Titus 2:1 - Paul tells Titus to speak things that are fitting for sound doctrine. John 8:31 - Jesus says "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine." The reverse of this condition applies. If we don't continue in His word, then we truly aren't disciples of His. John 14:21-23 - Jesus makes it clear that the one who loves Him is the one who has His commandments and keeps them. John 15:10 - Jesus says that if we keep His commandments, we will abide in His love. 1 John 2:3-6 - We see that we can know that we have come to know God if we keep His commandments. Anyone who says "I have come to know God" but does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truths is not in him.
How should individual Christians today live out the theological principle(s)?
1. Follow Paul's example in thanking God and giving Him all the glory for their salvation and the salvation of others. They should know that it is God who does all the work in salvation, it is a free gift of God, so that none of us may boast. 2. Know that at salvation, God frees us from sin. This will, always, have the result of a) making us willing slaves of righteousness, and b) us receiving a heart of flesh and God's Spirit in us, making us obedient from the heart to the teachings of Christ. 3. Be thankful that we have indeed been set free from sin, knowing that apart from God actively saving us from this condition, we would forever remain dead in our sins and trespasses, and be doomed to eternal destruction.
Free From Sin (6:15-23)
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Romans 6:15-22
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What then? a Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?
The Antagonist (6:15a)
Τί οὖν; ⸀ ἁμαρτήσωμεν ὅτι οὐκ ἐσμὲν ὑπὸ νόμον ἀλλὰ ὑπὸ χάριν; μὴ γένοιτο·
b May it never be!
The Answer (6:15b)
Do you not a know that when you present yourselves to someone as b slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of c sin 1 resulting in death, or of obedience 2 resulting in righteousness?
The Axiom (6:16)
οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι ᾧ παριστάνετε ἑαυτοὺς δούλους εἰς ὑπακοήν, δοῦλοί ἐστε ᾧ ὑπακούετε, ἤτοι ἁμαρτίας εἰς θάνατον ἢ ὑπακοῆς εἰς δικαιοσύνην;
But a thanks be to God
The Argument - Explaining the Two Slaveries (6:17-22)
But o thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the p standard of teaching to which you were committed,
χάρις δὲ τῷ θεῷ ὅτι ἦτε δοῦλοι τῆς ἁμαρτίας ὑπηκούσατε δὲ ἐκ καρδίας εἰς ὃν παρεδόθητε τύπον διδαχῆς,
that 1 though you were slaves of sin,
you became obedient
from the heart
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to that b form of teaching to which you were committed,
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and having been a freed from sin,
and, q having been set free from sin, r have become slaves of righteousness.
ἐλευθερωθέντες δὲ ἀπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας ἐδουλώθητε τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ·
you became slaves of righteousness.
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a I am speaking in human terms
s I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For t just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members u as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
ἀνθρώπινον λέγω διὰ τὴν ἀσθένειαν τῆς σαρκὸς ὑμῶν· ὥσπερ γὰρ παρεστήσατε τὰ μέλη ὑμῶν δοῦλα τῇ ἀκαθαρσίᾳ καὶ τῇ ἀνομίᾳ εἰς τὴν ἀνομίαν, οὕτως νῦν παραστήσατε τὰ μέλη ὑμῶν δοῦλα τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ εἰς ἁγιασμόν.
because of the weakness of your flesh.
For just b as you presented your members
as slaves
to impurity and to lawlessness,
1 resulting in further lawlessness,
so now present your members
as slaves
to righteousness,
2 resulting in sanctification.
For a when you were slaves of sin,
v For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
Ὅτε γὰρ δοῦλοι ἦτε τῆς ἁμαρτίας, ἐλεύθεροι ἦτε τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ.
you were free in regard to righteousness.
Therefore what 1 a benefit were you then 2 deriving 3 from the things of which you are now ashamed?
w But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things x of which you are now ashamed? y For the end of those things is death.
τίνα οὖν καρπὸν εἴχετε τότε ἐφ’ οἷς νῦν ἐπαισχύνεσθε; τὸ γὰρ τέλος ἐκείνων θάνατος·
For the outcome of those things is b death.
But now having been a freed from sin and b enslaved to God, you 1 derive your 2 c benefit, 3 resulting in sanctification, and d the outcome, eternal life.
The Absolute (6:22)
But now that you z have been set free from sin and a have become slaves of God, b the fruit you get leads to sanctification and c its end, eternal life.
νυνὶ δέ, ἐλευθερωθέντες ἀπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας δουλωθέντες δὲ τῷ θεῷ, ἔχετε τὸν καρπὸν ὑμῶν εἰς ἁγιασμόν, τὸ δὲ τέλος ζωὴν αἰώνιον.
discourse
Questions for Clarification
Q. Who does Paul thank for their freedom from the slavery to sin and their becoming slaves of righteousness? Why? A. Paul thanks God. Paul doesn't praise them at all for their position, because it is God alone who works in them both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Phi 2:13). Q. What is meant by "that form of teaching" (6:17)? A. This refers to God's Word. "Genuine faith not only is in God's Son, but in God's truth. Jesus said 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me' (John 14:6). Paul had confidence in the salvation of his readers in the church at Rome because they obeyed that form of teaching to which they were committed... the desire to know and obey God's truth is one of the surest marks of genuine salvation. From its inception, the early church was characterized by its devotion 'to the apostles' teaching' (Acts 2:42). And Jesus made it clear that those who obeyed His word were the true believers (see John 8:31; 14:21, 23, 24; 15:10; etc) ... it seems that a more precise rendering of this phrase is 'that form of teaching into which you were delivered'... Paul's point here seems to be that the true believer is also delivered into God's Word, His divine teaching. The idea is that when God makes a new spiritual creation of a believer, He casts him into the mold of divine truth. The Christian who faithfully obeys God's Word becomes conformed to the truth of that Word, a living model of the gospel. The divine teaching to which a believer submits himself in Jesus Christ stamps him with the authentic image of his Savior and Lord. A person does not become a Christian by claiming the name of Christ and then believing and doing whatever he himself wants. You cannot become a Christian by merely saying or doing certain things, even the godly things extolled in Scripture. But after genuine salvation a person will have the innate, Spirit-led desire to know and to obey God's truth." ~ MacArthur's New Testament Commentary on Romans. Q. Who performed the action of freeing them from their sin (6:17)? A. God alone performs the action of freeing them from their sin, but the process involves man's will as well. Like MacArthur says in his commentary on Romans - " Belief itself is an act of obedience, made possible and prompted by God's sovereign grace, yet always involving the uncoerced will of the believer. A person is not transported passively from slavery in Satan's kingdom of darkness to slavery in God's kingdom of light. Salvation does not occur apart from an act of commitment on the believer's part. The life-changing work of salvation is by God's power alone, but it does not work apart from man's will. God has no unwilling children in His family, no unwilling citizens in His kingdom. " Q. What did they become as a result of being freed from sin (6:17)? A. The action of being freed from sin resulted in two things indicated in this verse : 1. becoming obedient from the heart, and 2. becoming slaves of righteousness. Q. Why is "obedience from the heart" significant (6:17)? A. Pro 4:23 shows that from our hearts "flows the springs of life." In Luke 6:44 Jesus makes it clear that we are known by our fruit, and just after that in Luke 6:45 He explains that our fruit is produced by what's in our hearts. Even though people can deceive others by producing fake fruit, God makes it clear in 1 Sam 16:7 that "God sees not as man sees, for man looks at outward appearances, but the Lord looks at the heart . Outward appearances, or fruit, are easy to fake, but there is no fooling God. Natural man starts out with a hereditary, incurable heart problem. We are born in sin (Ps 51:5), and "the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth" (Gen 8:21). The Lord tells Israel, "what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul," (Deut 10:12). They are told that if they seek the Lord, they will find Him, if they search for Him with all their heart and all their soul (Deut 4:29). But, as Paul has made clear in Romans, "There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God" (Rom 3:10-11). If no one seeks for God, and if the heart of man is "more deceitful than all else" and "desperately sick" (Jer 17:9), how can anyone then be saved? "The things that are impossible with people are possible with God" (Luk 18:27). It is God who is at work in us to will and to work (Phi 2:13). This is what salvation is, and it is a work of God, a "gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Eph 2:8-10 ), and it is a result of what God gives us, as described in Ezekiel 36:25-27 - "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. Notice who does all the work - God, and only God. Notice what happens as a result of that work - we are caused to walk in His statutes, and made to be careful to observe His ordinances. And this is why Paul thanks God, and not them, that they have become obedient from the heart. It is a gift. Of God. So that no one may boast.
Keywords
1. Slave 2. Heart
Quotes
"That Paul is not speaking merely about outward righteousness is made clear from his declaration that you became obedient from the heart . God works His salvation in a person's innermost being. Through the grace provided by His Son, God changes men's very natures when they trust in Him. A person whose heart has not been changed has not been saved. Righteous living that issues from an obedient heart is habitual. And just as God's grace operates only through a trusting heart, His righteousness operates only through an obedient heart." ~ MacArthur's New Testament Commentary on Romans "Obedience neither produces nor maintains salvation, but it is an inevitable characteristic of those who are saved. Belief itself is an act of obedience, made possible and prompted by God's sovereign grace, yet always involving the uncoerced will of the believer. A person is not transported passively from slavery in Satan's kingdom of darkness to slavery in God's kingdom of light. Salvation does not occur apart from an act of commitment on the believer's part. The life-changing work of salvation is by God's power alone, but it does not work apart from man's will. God has no unwilling children in His family, no unwilling citizens in His kingdom." ~ MacArthur's New Testament Commentary on Romans "Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God re-mold your minds from within." ~ J.B. Phillips
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