Romans 6:15. What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!
And so Paul returns to the same question he started this chapter with.
The fear is that living under grace will lead to a license to sin. But one of the great truths of the Christian life is that when we are set free from slavery to sin, we enter into slavery to God. WE NEVER STOP BEING SLAVES. This bondage to God is what produces righteousness.
The book of Exodus illustrates this truth. In Hebrew the word for slave, serve, work, and worship are all the same word – abadah. The Israelites go from being the abadah of Pharaoh to being the abadah of Yahweh.
Exodus 5:18. [Pharaoh said] “Go now and work (abadah). No straw will be given you, but you must still deliver the same number of bricks.”
Exodus 12:31. Then [Pharaoh] summoned Moses and Aaron by night and said, “Up, go out from among my people, both you and the people of Israel; and go, serve (abadah) the Lord, as you have said.
The Hebrews were set free from slavery by God’s grace. But they weren’t left on their own. They entered into a covenantal relationship with God. They would become his servants. Could the Hebrews leave Egypt and go into the wilderness and sin? Yes and No. Yes – of course they could and they did. But could they really? No – they were in a covenant with God. By entering the covenant they chose to serve God. THEIR SLAVERY TO GOD PRODUCED THEIR POTENTIAL RIGHTEOUSNESS.
We too have been set free. We have a choice. But we are also slaves of God in a covenant with God.
Romans 6:16. 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?
Romans 6:13. 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.
Each moment of each day you have to choose between sin and righteousness. But the question in each moment is: whose slave am I?
If you have been freed from bondage to sin and been united to God in a covenant, if you are now his servant, his slave, then the choice has been made. Your new found freedom in Christ, is slavery to God. And your new found slavery to God is freedom. And this “enslaved freedom” produces the choice to serve righteousness.
But here’s the difference between us and the Israelites. And it’s a big difference. Ours is a covenant of grace. We are not under law but under grace. The Israelites entered a covenant of works with God. They were under law as the means of righteousness. A law that only accused and condemned. A law that could never produce real lasting obedience. A law with no power behind it. But we are not under law but under grace.
Like the Israelites of Exodus, are we obligated by the New Covenant to present ourselves to God as slaves of his righteousness? YES!
But that same righteousness has been freely imputed to us. Its standard has already been met in Christ. It can no longer accuse or condemn us. YOUR SLAVERY TO GOD IS YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Like Christ, now our duty is our delight. That is “to live is Christ.”
Can you see that you are always a slave to something or someone? Do you consider yourself a slave to God and his righteousness? How does this slavery to God produce righteousness (think grace not law)?