Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey— whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. 19 I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
As you’ve read over the passage, I’m sure you’ve picked up on the word “slaves.” In fact, in Paul’s letters he used the term “slaves” 44 times. In Romans chapter 6, he used it ten times. Why?
Paul used the term “slave” to describe a person under the complete control of someone or something. Paul introduced the word “slave” to draw a strong comparison between his Christian reader’s precondition and their current condition. He probably also used it because it was a common biblical metaphor for spiritual death and salvation. Remember that the Hebrew’s were once in bondage (spiritually and literally). God was the one who broke the bondage so they could come out of Egypt and worship Him. Even his Roman readers would have understood what it meant to be in bondage to false gods. Paul used the imagery of slavery because he wanted his readers to grasp the truth of their condition, so he used an illustration they all would have understood. His main point was: prior to faith in Christ, believers (you and I) were enslaved to sin and suffered its effects.
Thanks be to God this is not the end of the story. We don’t have to remain as a slave to sin. Earlier in the chapter, Paul wrote: “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? (Romans 6:3)” In the language of the times, when a man put his name on someone he was declaring his ownership of that person. Similarly, the believer belongs to Jesus as a slave belongs to his master. We are now slaves to righteousness. We can now yield wholeheartedly in obedience to God.
Everyone is a slave in the spiritual sense. We are either slaves to sin, which is our natural state or we are slaves to Christ. As a follower of Jesus, you don’t have to live under sin’s dominion…you’re free. It truly has no control over you.
Is there a sin pattern that has taken hold of you? Know that sin is no longer your master; you belong to another. Christ has overcome the power of sin; you belong to Him, you’re now a slave to righteousness. Ask God to help you embrace the truth—the objective reality—that you have been set free and belong to Him…and if the Son has set you free, you are free indeed!
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest.