Monday, May 22, 2023

2023.05.22 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 6:20–23

Read Romans 6:20–23

Questions from the Scripture text: What had we been (Romans 6:20)? Of what? And when we were slaves of sin, what was our relation to righteousness? What does Romans 6:21 ask about? What does it call the works that we had done as slaves of sin? What is their end? But what is the believer’s condition now (Romans 6:22)? Of Whom have they become slaves instead? Now what kind of fruit do they have? With what end? How does sin result in what end (Romans 6:23)? But what other end may we have? By what mechanism? Whose free gift? In Whom does the free gift come? What is He to us?

Why must Christians pursue righteousness?  Romans 6:20–23 looks forward to the sermon in the midweek meeting. In these four verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that Christians must pursue righteousness because they have a new Master (Christ), who gives them new fruit (holiness), with a glorious new end (everlasting life).

New master. We used to be slaves of sin (Romans 6:20a). When we were slaves of sin, we didn’t have to do anything righteous, because “master sin” never told us to do what is righteous. Now, we have been set free from sin (Romans 6:22a). But we have a new master. We have become slaves of God (verse 22b). We are no longer free in regard to righteousness (Romans 6:20b), because Master God always commands righteousness. 

Sometimes, you may hear someone misuse the phrase “Christian liberty,” which means liberty from the mere opinions of men to serve God alone as Master. Sometimes, people use the phrase to mean that they are free to interpret the Bible however they wish, and even free to live however they wish without being confronted, rebuked, or disciplined. But such freedom is that freedom “in regard to righteousness” that is a “freedom” only of the slaves of sin. If you are a true Christian, your new Master constantly commands you to do righteously, because He has already made you to be righteous in your standing and new nature. Christian liberty is the liberty to do righteously because your Master commands it.

New fruit. Why would a Christian want to go back to his former master? That’s the gist of the question in Romans 6:21. What was the fruit of what that master had commanded? In the short term, the fruit of sin seemed desirable, but now that we have been delivered from bondage, we are ashamed of what we used to do. Its fruit was shame, humiliation, disgrace. But the new ways of our new Master have brought new fruit: holiness (Romans 6:22). Consecration to God. Transformation into a condition in which we actually find Him and His presence enjoyable.  

New end. The stench of the rotting fruit of sin transmitted where that sin was taking us: death. Death is the end of the things that master sin commanded (Romans 6:21b). But eternal life, not death, is the end of being under Master God or doing the righteousness that He commands (Romans 6:22b). And there is a difference between how each master produces the end of the slave. Sin paid out death as a wage. God gives eternal life as a free gift. How can this be? How can He give us such a gift for free? Because it has been merited and purchased by another: Christ Jesus. In union with Him, everlasting life is a free gift. Therefore, we love the life that we have in union with Him: a life of living righteously.

Who is your master? What does he want you to do? What fruit can you expect from doing these things? What end is this taking you to? How does this encourage you in doing righteousness?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You for purchasing us out from under our old slavery. And we thank You all the more for taking us to Yourself as a good Master, Who have given us to live in a way that produces holiness and ends in everlasting life. We thank You most of all for doing this by way of union with Christ Jesus, Your Son, our Lord. In His Name, we ask to walk as those Who are Your slaves for righteousness, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH466 “My Faith Looks Up to Thee”

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