The Berean Expositor
Volume 24 - Page 123 of 211
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"Servants to righteousness unto holiness" (6: 15-23).
pp. 141 - 144
We have considered the opening and closing members of the structure of
Rom. 6: 15-23, and now turn our attention to the apostle's argument contained in
verses 16-22. This argument is divided into three parts by the word "Freedom".
(1) Freedom from sin (16-18).--Argument as to the nature of service, expressed in
the word "obey".
(2) Freedom from righteousness (19, 20).--The double use of this idea of freedom
suggests two spheres of service which are here elaborated.
(3) Freedom from sin (21, 22).--This brings us back once more to the opening
argument, but concentrates the attention this time on the "end" and "fruit" rather than
upon the nature of such service.
We must allow these divisions to guide us in the exposition of the argument. And
first, we come to verse 16:--
"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are
to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness"
(Rom. 6: 16).
Under the heading of "Freedom from sin" we find an emphasis upon "service". Is
service incompatible with freedom? Galatians supplies an answer:--
"Brethren, ye are called unto LIBERTY: Only use not liberty for an occasion to the
flesh, but by love SERVE one another" (Gal. 5: 13).
The fact is that man is never without a master; he is never in that sense "free". Just as
in the case of the manumission of a slave, there was the exchange of one master for
another, so the believer, redeemed from the bondage of sin, is, nevertheless, reminded
that he is not his own, but has been "bought with a price". Israel in Egypt "served with
rigour", but their deliverance did not exempt them from service; it merely change their
"Let My people go, that they may serve Me" (Exod. 8: 1).
The apostle brushes aside all arguments that might be put forward to excuse sin in the
believer, and goes straight to the point--"His servants ye are to whom ye obey." Service
is decided by obedience. It matters not how much one may profess. "Whosoever
committeth sin is the servant of sin" (John 8: 34). Peter, in his second epistle, writes:--