Romans 6:22- “But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.” NKJV
I found something really interesting last night as I was reading through commentaries on the 6th chapter of Romans, that I have not seen before, but I completely agree with. I’m excited about sharing it with you, though some of you may have already realized it. Let’s dive right in!
In verses 1 and 15 it appears that Paul is asking the same question:
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?Romans 6:1 NKJV
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!Romans 6:15 NKJV
However, upon closer inspection, he is asking two different questions. In verse 1, when Paul refers to sin, he uses the Greek word, “harmatia”, which literally means, “a missing of the mark”. It carries with it a sense of wandering from the law of God or violating God’s law. However, in verse 15, Paul uses the Greek word, “hamartanō”, which conveys the thought of wandering from the path of uprightness and honor. In other words, the verb tense of the word sin in verse 1 is the practice of habitual sin, while in verse 15, the tense suggests occasional sin.
I want to share how David Guzik, in his commentary on the BlueLetterBible.com site, explains this:
Shall we continue in sin: The verb tense of the phrase continue in sin (the present active tense) makes it clear that Paul describes the practice of habitual sin. In this first part of Romans 6, Paul writes about someone who remains in a lifestyle of sin, thinking that it is acceptable so that grace may abound.blueletterbible.org/DavidGuzik
You know that person who feels like grace covers all of their sins, and because of that, they can just ask for forgiveness? That’s a person who habitually sins with no real understanding of grace! And for verse 15 he writes:
Shall we sin: Again, the verb tense of the ancient Greek word sin is important (the aorist active tense). It indicates dabbling in sin, not the continual habitual sin described in the question of Romans 6:1.Blueletterbible.org/DavidGuzik
Understanding the differences in these forms of the verbs for sin, is key in understanding what Paul is talking about for us. Paul reveals that there is a difference in being a habitual liar, and telling a lie; of being a thief, and in stealing something, of being a drunk, and in getting drunk, but neither is an excuse to think that grace gives us a license to sin!
As we continue with this chapter, Paul asks another one of his questions:
Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?Romans 6:16 NKJV
Paul is obviously dealing with the lifestyle of the person who has come to the Lord, or who professes such a relationship. He makes a clear observation: who we present ourselves to and obey, that’s our slave master, whether it’s to sin or to righteousness. Or as we say it, whether it’s to the devil or to God. But whoever we submit to, that’s our master! If we follow the master of sin, it will lead us to death!
Paul gives praise to God for those who have been delivered from the enemy and obeyed the teachings of Jesus from the heart. He says that those individuals have been set free from sin, and became slaves of righteousness. And now Paul is encouraging those believers to live as if they know and understand that they are free from sin and should live to righteousness!
I really enjoyed this commentary on Romans 6. Let me share another part that I thought was very insightful. Guzik shared what Adam Clark wrote about what “that form of doctrine” means:
Adam Clarke on that form of doctrine: “Here Christianity is represented under the notion of a mould, or die, into which they were cast, and from which they took the impression of its excellence. The figure upon this die is the image of God, righteousness and true holiness, which was stamped on their souls in believing the Gospel and receiving the Holy Ghost. The words… refer to the melting of metal, which, when it is liquefied, is cast into the mould, that it may receive the impression that is sunk or cut in the mould; and therefore the words may be literally translated, into which mould of doctrine ye have been cast. They were melted down under the preaching of the word, and then were capable of receiving the stamp of its purity.”blueletterbible.org
As I have been studying Romans, I have been using three main commentaries, and I can say that Guzik’s is becoming a favorite of mine.
Isn’t this something? When we are born again, we are stamped with an image of God that we are to be molded into through the teachings of His word! Wow!
Just this morning, as I was in church, the same idea was conveyed in Colossians, where Paul talked about Jesus being the expressed image of God. God had not allowed anyone, before Jesus’s coming, to see Him. But when Jesus came, He was the invisible God, made visible! And when we receive Him as Savior, the idea is for us is to be made into His image! This is some good stuff!
Paul said that since we are no longer slaves of sin, but of righteousness, we should be living for holiness, not trying to see how much sin we can do and still be saved!
He again asks a question:
What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.Romans 6:21 NKJV
What, Paul asks, did you get delivered from that now causes you much shame? If you got saved as a child, you may not have a lot of things, but if you got saved later in life, the list may be longer than you care to admit. And those things, he said, are not only shameful, but they lead to death! So now, why would we want to dabble in those things again when we have been freed from them?
We don’t! Paul encourages the believers in Rome, and us today, not to yield ourselves to sin, but to righteousness that our fruit will be to holiness, and therefore to everlasting life. We have to learn to resist falling back into familiar patterns of life, which are gateways to the sins we have been delivered from. We may even have to distance ourselves from some people in our lives who were partners in our sins. Whatever we need to do to participate with the Holy Spirit, that we may have fruit to holiness, that is what we have to do!
Paul reminds us again,
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 6:23 NKJV
When we have been freed from habitual sin, and we start dabbling in it again, we become entangled with that yoke of bondage that Jesus freed us from. And the wages of sin, is still death. However, Paul leaves us with a note of hope: but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ! Thank God He gives us eternal life! Wonderful Jesus!