by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 4 Study # 4 November 14, 2006 Lincolnton, N.C.
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
1901 ASV Translation:
18 and being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness.
19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye presented your members as servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity, even so now present your members as servants to righteousness unto sanctification.
20 For when ye were servants of sin, ye were free in regard of righteousness.
21 What fruit then had ye at that time in the things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
I. The Promise of Freedom From Sin.
A. Is not a promise of freedom from the creation-order-consequences of actions taken: what one tolerates becomes one's master. This is true in the present as well as in the future kingdom.
B. Is a promise of freedom from the Judicial consequences of sin.
C. Is not a promise of an inability to sin.
D. Is a promise of freedom from any "necessity" to sin -- i.e., an inescapable compulsion.
1. This, however, is a thorny issue because it is Paul's thesis that one will become enslaved to that to which one submits, yet he holds out the hope that the slavery does not have to be permanent.
2. On the other hand, what is "bondage" if it is "escapable"?
E. Is not a promise of "easy" living in the sense that former "habits of sin" will simply disappear and there will be no "struggle" to surmount the problem(s).
F. Is a promise of sufficient divine provision for success. There is a very large Old Testament illustration of "life by faith" in Israel's history. It consists of "redemption" as at the Exodus and "sanctification" as in the struggle against the giants in the land. There is no "victory" without "struggle", but the "struggle" must be seen as a divinely empowered effort and not a humanly produced basis for boasting. The issue that commands a very large part of the landscape here is a fundamental commitment to the currentdivineagenda.
1. Just as unbelievers begin to hedge and pull back from the "decision" to repent and turn to God, believers hedge and pull back from the "decision" to commit to God's agenda as they understand it. The reason is the same on both counts: the unwillingness to turn loose of their own control over their lives. In other words, the sinful insistence that God permit them to be the dominant personality in their own experiences.
2. The currentdivineagenda has to do with being conformed to the image of Christ at all levels in all areas of interest. This means a clear-eyed commitment to being "godly" in every way and to being sufficiently humble to confess each failure as it occurs. When we maintain/regain a "clear conscience" before God, the Spirit of God is free to produce the life of Christ in us. This "procedure" is not "difficult", but it does require "persistence" and "consistency". I cannot afford to slide through my days without responding to God's Truth as it applies to me, when it applies to me.