[Rom 6:12-23 NIV] 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.
13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.
14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one 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 have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves 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 of 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.
[John 8:31-36 NIV] 31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
33 They answered him, “We areAbraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.
35 Now a slave has no permanent place
in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.
36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
I. Recap & Introduction
● We are studying Romans ch 6, which starts with verse 1:
○ 6:1 What shall we say, then? Should we continue to live in sin so that God’s grace will
● Paul is talking about the rela_onship between grace and sin.
○ If we have faith in Christ, we receive grace and are forgiven
○ So: does it maer if we sin or not? Paul says YES, it matters.
○ This is a big issue for us, isn’t it. Because we struggle with sin.
○ We react in different ways.
■ We can con_nue to deal with our sin.
■ And if we fail, we can just give up, and just live with our failures.
■ Or we can completely ignore and try to deny our sin.
● Paul is giving us an answer to this ques_on of how Chris_ans should think about sin.
● We saw last week the first reason Paul says we should not sin is
○ not because sin is bad (although it is)
○ but because we are dead to sin
● Paul wants us to understand this, because it is really important.
○ He uses three illustrations to get this across to us:
■ Bap_sm, master-slave rela_onship, marriage rela_onship.
■ All of these talk about being dead to our old self, and that we been given a new life.
○ Last week, Paul explained using the first illustra_on, baptism
■ Bap_sm symbolizes that we have died and started a new life.
■ The going under the water symbolizes death, and the rising symbolizes rebirth
○ This week, Paul is going to use the second illustra_on, master and slave to teach us about how to
answer: “ if we are forgiven, and not under Law, what shall we do about sin in our life ?”
II. Who is your master?
● Now we may not be so familiar with the idea of slavery. So let’s set this up.
● Illiustra_on: Recently, there is a Japanese word “Furari-man”, which is a pun on “salary-man”.
○ These are guys who are geng off work in the early evening because their companies are
○ They get off work early, but they don’t want to go home, because of the demands of their wife
○ So instead of going straight home, they stop off aer work and have a beer, do some karaoke or
something like that to relieve stress. These guys want their own private _me before they go
home and deal with all of that.
● We can understand that, right? Basically, we prefer to have the freedom to do what we want.
○ If you are young and living at home with your parents, you may long for a place of your own.
○ If you are married, you have to answer to your spouse, and some_mes we can’t do as we want.
○ In that sense, it is easier to be single 🙂 You only have your boss at work to worry about.
● Now Paul is reminding us here that each one of us has a master to whom we answer.
○ All of us serve something or someone that is most important to us.
○ That something that gives us our iden_ty, gives our life meaning, and gets us up in the morning.
● Paul separates those masters that we serve into two groups: God, and everything else.
○ “Everything else” is anything that takes the place of God.
■ It could be work, or status, or rela_onships, or love, or family.
■ But if anything it takes the place of God, it is sin.
■ That’s because sin is essen_ally the condi_on of separa_on from God and an atude of
independence and even rebellion against God.
○ And so Paul here calls the two masters that we can have, God and sin.
○ v12 Paul says sin can rule over our bodies, and if we let it rule, we will obey its evil desires.
■ Remember, the essence of sin is separa_on from and rebellion against God.
■ Paul is saying we can let that sin orienta_on rule us, but it is our choice.
■ If we let sin reign, we will listen to its evil desires and commit various sins.
○ v13 Paul to give ourselves to God, not to sin. He is telling us to make a choice in what we serve.
○ v14 We must not let sin be our master.
■ The reason he gives is that we are not under law, but under grace.
■ This is difficult to understand. What does it mean?
■ Paul is going to explain this in the next few verses. So let’s go on.
○ v15 Paul re-states the ques_on:
■ v1: Can we con_nue to live in sin, so grace will increase?
● As we saw the answer was: no, because our old self is dead.
■ v15: Can we sin because we are not under law, but under grace?
● The answer again is No. Let’s see why.
○ v16 Paul says we are a servant or slave of either sin or righteousness.
■ We tend to think of ourselves as free, not serving anything or anybody.
But as we saw, that isn’t really true.
■ But in actuality, outside of us there are powers bigger than us.
■ And inside us, we have different and conflic_ng desires and hopes.
■ Paul is saying here that who&what we listen to is who&what we are serving.
■ And there are essen_ally only two voices, God and sin, obedience to God’s commands or
a way of life apart from and opposed to God.
■ And Paul calls us as Chris_ans to to choose to serve God and to be obedient to him.
● v17-18 So when Paul says “Do not sin”, here is the second reason he gives:
○ v17 Your master is no longer sin, but righteousness.
○ v18 You are free from the sin’s mastery over you.
○ Before we believed in Jesus, we were slaves of sin, ruled by sin. We were walking down a path of
death leading to death.
○ But we believed, and obeyed, and we were set free.
■ This is why Paul over and over again calls us to make a choice to serve God.
■ Before we could not be obedient to God, because sin enslaved us.
■ But now we can choose to obey. This is because Jesus has set us free (v7).
○ How are we set free? By the opera_on of grace.,
■ The Law says:
● Do this, and don’t do that, or you are guilty and condemned
● Do this, and don’t do that, or God will reject you
■ So because we are captured by sin and not able obey the Law, we find other things to
make us forget our inadequacies.
● But these other things enslave us.
● They promise to save us, but they cannot.
● They either make us proud or depressed. If we do well, we feel proud and judge
others. If we fail, we hate ourselves and resent others.
■ But grace says:
● Jesus died for our sins. And so the condemna_on of the Law is taken away.
● We don’t fear God’s condemna_on, because Jesus has borne it instead. And God
accepts and loves us as his adopted children.
■ This is what grace means we don’t need to worry, Am I good enough? Am I lovable? Am I
important? Does my life maer?
● Taking these worries away gives us great psychological freedom and peace of
● So we are free to choose what is good and right.
■ So because we are under the acceptance of grace, not the condemna_on of the law, we
○ And according to v18, now we are slaves of righteousness
● Here is is again, the talk of slavery! Is being a slave of righteousness, or anything, something good,
○ In v19 Paul says this slave talk is a kind of analogy, but s_ll it is uncomfortable.
● So let’s think a lile about freedom and slavery.
● Many people think freedom is being able to choose whatever we want, and no one can prevent it.
○ But is that really freedom?
○ Was that person who killed 59 people in Las Vegas free, because he could chose to buy guns and
kill and injure so many people?
○ Was that man who killed his daughter by shaking her to death in the bath, really free?
○ Or the driver who got angry over cri_cism and used his car to harass another driver, and wound
up causing the death of two people.
○ These people were not free, they were enslaved by their sinful desires and emo_ons.
They looked free. Under the law of their countries they were free. But inside they were serving
○ And this is not so far away. You know, when I am _red and the computer is ac_ng up, I oen get
angry. I should be pa_ent and calm, but I am not. This is also sin, and I realize I am not ac_ng in
freedom, but in bondage to desire to get things done according to plan . This is not a good way to
● Now Paul tells us what the freedom of grace means for our life:
○ v19a When we were alienated from God, we were en_rely given over to a life independent of God, and our lives worked against God’s purposes, more and more.
○ v19b So now that we are in rela_onship to God, we should reverse that.
■ Our lives should be given over instead to obedience and accomplishing God’s purposes,
more and more.
○ v20 So this choice is important. Paul reminds us that while we were sinners, we had no choice to
be righteous. It was impossible, we were not free to obey.
○ Summarizing, why should we not sin?
■ The nega_ve reason: we should not sin because we are set free from the rule of sin,
which leads to death.
■ The posi_ve reason: we have the opportunity now to choose to serve God and his
○ We were *made* to carry out God’s good plans for the world, and that is the proper use of our freedom.
■ Children are given for us to protect and raise up, not as a target for our stress and anger.
■ Cars are for transporta_on, not for revenge.
● This what real freedom is:
○ Freedom is not just being able to choose without constraint. Choosing to follow desires that
come from the sin inside us leads us towards death.
○ Real freedom means being what God designed us to be, and living lives that reflect the purpose for which we were made.
○ This is what Paul means to be a “slave to righteousness”, to have our lives directed as God
IV. The crossroads
● When we have a choice, we are at a crossroads. We must choose which way we will take.
○ Here is the crossroad that Jesus brings to us:
■ First, will we believe in Him, and receive forgiveness and acceptance, or reject him?
■ Secondly, will we decide to serve him wholeheartedly, or will we let ourselves be pushed
around by our old self and its sinful nature and desires?
○ Depending on what we serve, sin or God, the result will be different.
○ There are many possible paths to take, but in the final analysis there are only two: obedience to
God, and obedience to sin.
○ in v21 Paul says the result of obedience to sin is increasing chaos and worse behavior, and finally
○ So freedom comes from not just choosing, but choosing the right direc_on for our lives.
● v22 So freedom comes from obedience to God’s law.
○ This will lead to becoming closer to what God intends us to be: sanc_fica_on
○ The outcome is a quality of life called ‘eternal’.
● But I think many people react to all this by saying: I just want to live my own life. I am not a slave, I am my
● This is not a new objec_on. There were people in Jesus’ day who thought that way, even people who
liked some of what Jesus taught. Let’s pick their conversa_on up in John 8:31-36
○ v31-32 Jesus says that obedience to him will lead us to experience the truth what Jesus told us,
and that will set us free.
○ v33 Now like us, those people who were aracted by Jesus respond by saying: We are not slaves
to anyone, we have never been slaves! So what do you mean, that we need to be set free!
■ They were saying, there is nothing wrong with us. We are fine as we are.
○ v34 But Jesus replied, No, if you sin you are a slave to sin.
■ And we know it is true; we are alienated from ourselves when we sin.
■ Sin destroys us.
■ But these people can’t see it, because they don’t belong to Jesus.
○ v35 And Jesus adds: slaves don’t belong in the family, but the sons are permanently part of the
■ This means, there will come a _me when those who are slaves to sin will be removed
from God’s kingdom, but those who are Jesus’ disciples are God’s children and belong to
the kingdom from now and forever.
○ v36 Who is free?
■ The free are those Jesus has set free, who follow Jesus and experience the truth of what
● So at the crossroads, which way will we choose? Which master will you serve?
○ v23 In summary, sin brings death, but God’s free gi is eternal life in union with Jesus.
○ If we have believed in Jesus, we are freed from the condemna_on of the Law. We are given the
possibility of choosing how we will spend our lives.
■ We get to choose which master we will serve: God or sin.
We get to choose to what we will dedicate our life.
○ And our choice has consequences. Our choice will affect our life:
■ Obedience will bring a deeper experience of what Jesus taught, more life, more freedom,
and an eternal quality of life
■ Choosing to let sin rule, will see its evil desires driving us, and the resul_ng shame and
destruc_ve effects on our lives
■ Or we can straddle the fence, living a double-minded life, unhappy, ineffec_ve and
● Why has Jesus brought us to the crossroads?
○ Why are we saved? What does Jesus want for us?
○ Here is part of his prayer to the Father for us: (John 17)
16 They (the disciples) are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the
truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.
19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
○ Jesus dedicated himself, wholeheartedly, to bring us into a living rela_onship with God, at great cost to himself.
○ Jesus by doing so gained the desire of his heart: his bride the church; those people who know him experien_ally and will be with him forever.
● So don’t give up, don’t lose sight of the hope God has placed within you.
○ It’s okay to fail, because we are forgiven and accepted because of Jesus.
■ We are not under Law, but under grace.
○ But let us not give up in our struggle with sin
■ In chapter 7, Paul is going to talk about this struggle that we experience.
■ It is a real struggle.
○ Finally, above all, let us not forget what Jesus wants for us, for which he died
■ To deliver us from sin and death, and to give us a new life in rela_onship with God
■ And if we use our freedom to obey God, we will experience the truth of Jesus’ teaching
and the true freedom it brings.
○ Let’s pray