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.
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.
- We are not to commit sin.
- We are not under the law.
- We are under grace.
- Being under grace does not give liberty to sin.
- Whomever we subject ourselves to we are slaves to.
- We are slaves of whoever we obey.
- Sin leads to death.
- Obedience to God leads to righteousness.
- God is the one who is to be thanked for, those who were slaves to sin are now obedient to the teaching they were committed to.
- We were once slaves of sin.
- We have become obedient to the standard of teaching to which we were committed by the grace of God.
- We have been set free from sin.
- We have become slaves of righteousness.
- We once presented our body as slaves to impurity.
- We once presented out body to slaves of lawlessness.
- Our lawlessness led to more lawlessness.
- We now present our body as slaves to righteousness.
- Righteousness leads to sanctification.
- When we were slaves to sin we were free from righteousness.
- There was no good fruit from living in sin.
- The end of sin is death.
- We have been set free from sin.
- We have become slaves of God.
- The fruit we get now leads to sanctification.
- The end of sanctification is eternal life.
- The wages of sin is death
- Eternal life in Christ Jesus is the gift freely given by God.
Paul anticipates another argument that we use to justify our living according to our sinful passions. In the first part of the chapter, he address the idea the since our sin allows God to demonstrate His grace we ought to sin all the more because that would give God all the more opportunity to demonstrate His grace. In the last half of this chapter, Paul addresses the idea of antinomianism or lawlessness. Since we are under grace and not under the law, we do not need to follow the law of God. Grace did not abolish the law. Nothing is taken away except the curse of the law. Without grace, everyone is subject to the law. Here Paul talks about how debased it is to take the grace which Christ has given us and use it for greater sin.
We are slaves to whatever we serve. If we serve Christ then we are slaves to Christ. If we serve sin then we are slaves to sin. We will obey one or the other. If we obey sin then that is a choice which leads to death. If we obey Christ, that is a choice which leads to righteousness. Righteousness leads to sanctification. Sanctification leads to eternal life in Christ Jesus.
It is impossible for us to be subject to sin when God’s grace reigns in us. No one can be servant to righteousness unless he is first freed by the power and kindness of God from the tyranny of sin. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36) Sin and righteousness are so contrary that if you devote yourself to one you must reject the other.
Paul gives thanks to God that his readers were no longer slaves to sin. He does this to remind them that this is not the result of any of their own merit. It is through the special mercy of God. Paul asks the question, what were the results of the way you use to live? What was the fruit? By thinking back to what we are now ashamed helps keep us humble and realizing that we have received grace from God unworthily. It is only because of His mercy. God has set us free from sin, and we are slaves of God, we now have fruit, or live a life that leads to sanctification.
As sinners we have worked for and earned death. That is what we deserve, death. It is our due. But God gives us eternal life because of His mercy.
The gift of God is eternal life. We do not earn it. We do not deserve it. In fact, we earn and deserve death. Because of God’s gift, we can now live a life of righteousness. We are slaves to righteousness because we obey the law of God. Obedience brings righteousness. Righteousness brings sanctification. And sanctification brings eternal life.