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Romans 6:16: Do You Not Know That If You Present Yourselves To Anyone As Obedient Slaves, You Are Slaves Of The One Whom You Obey?

Romans 6:16
[16] Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? (ESV)

We do not like the word "slavery." With good reason. A few years ago I visited the slavery museum in Charleston, South Carolina. I looked at the images of black men treated as if they were less valued than animals. As my family made our way through the exhibits we realized that there was not a dry eye in the building. Slavery was cruel. Brutal. Deadly.

How is it that Paul chooses to use the image of slavery? The mere thought of this word being used offends our senses. Let's take a closer look. Paul is using slavery in terms of the believers relationship to sin. Slavery is a reality for us. We are either slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness, but either way we will be enslaved.

It is fascinating how unbelievers will say that they reject Christianity because they do not want to lose their freedom. They present themselves to their slave master, sin, and do it's bidding. They find themselves shackled to alcohol, drugs, sexual immorality, greed, lust, envy, malice, rage, hatred, bigotry, and every vile practice. Freedom? No, complete enslavement to sin.

What is the alternative? We can willingly choose to have a different master. If we reject the slavery of sin we can walk to the direction of an obedient heart. The burdens are light. The reward is righteousness. In this scenario our Savior, who is also our master, calls us friends and heirs. Slaves to sin inherit nothing but death. Slaves to Christ inherit eternal life.

We are slaves. Choose wisely. Will you be enslaved to sin? Or will you choose a life of obedience? One master is harsh and will bring you to death. The other is loving and will call you an heir, bringing you to eternal life.


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