1:1 From Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.
1:2 This gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, 1:3 concerning his Son who was a descendant of David with reference to the flesh,
1:4 who was appointed the Son-of-God-in-power according to the Holy Spirit by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1:5 Through him we have received grace and our apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles on behalf of his name. 1:6 You also are among them, called to belong to Jesus Christ. 1:7 To all those loved by God in Rome, called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
Paul’s Desire to Visit Rome
1:8 First of all, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world. 1:9 For God, whom I serve in my spirit by preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness that I continually remember you 1:10 and I always ask in my prayers, if perhaps now at last I may succeed in visiting you according to the will of God.
1:11 For I long to see you, so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you, 1:12 that is, that we may be mutually comforted by one another’s faith, both yours and mine.
1:13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I often intended to come to you (and was prevented until now), so that I may have some fruit even among you, just as I already have among the rest of the Gentiles. 1:14 I am a debtor both to the Greeks and to the barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 1:15 Thus I am eager also to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome.
Lord, Your ministry through Paul used his intellect to explain many complex concepts to believers of any background. May I humbly study Your truth, delivered through him, so that I may fully grasp Your discipleship for me.
In Paul’s Salutation he identified himself as a “bondservant” of Christ [Note: Meaning that he had given up everything in this world, surrendered his free will, and surrendered everything to the Lordship of Christ through the Holy Spirit.]
He reminded them that Christ was prophesied in the past and that He had fulfilled those prophesies “... Son-of-God-in-power according to the Holy Spirit by the resurrection from the dead”.
Paul noted also that his ministry (and that of the other apostles) was to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles so that they would be saved by “... the obedience of faith”.
Paul addressed his letter, Romans, to believers; those who “belong to Jesus Christ”, “those loved by God in Rome”, and are “called to be saints”, who had been gifted with more than salvation but to live “ultrafidian” [beyond faith] lives.
Paul celebrated the faithfulness of the Roman Church (believers) for their reputation as Christians and notes that the Holy Spirit had him praying for them. He also expressed his long desire to visit Rome and to preach Christ there. [Note: Romans is not chronologically sequential to ACTS as the final text of ACTS places Paul in Rome.]
Paul reminded them that Jesus the Christ had fulfilled all of the prophesies about the Messiah.
How do you understand Paul's phrase that the “saints” had been gifted with more than salvation but to live "ultrafidian" [beyond faith] lives?
Paul described himself as a truly-saved believer— he had given up everything in this world, surrendered his free will, and surrendered everything to the Lordship of Christ through the Holy Spirit.
When have you given up something of the world because it interfered with your daily walk with Christ?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a way that you might live a more “ultrafidian”, beyond-faith, life.
Today I will pray for the strength and wisdom to set aside those things which prevent me from moving past salvation and safety to sacrifice and service.
The Power of the Gospel
1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
1:17 For the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel from faith to faith, just as it is written, “The righteous by faith will live.”
The Condemnation of the Unrighteous
1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness, 1:19 because what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
1:20 For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse.
1:21 For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened. 1:22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 1:23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.
1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies among themselves. 1:25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
1:26 For this reason God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones, 1:27 and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed in their passions for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
1:28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what should not be done. 1:29 They are filled with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, malice. They are rife with envy, murder, strife, deceit, hostility. They are gossips, 1:30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, contrivers of all sorts of evil, disobedient to parents, 1:31 senseless, covenant-breakers, heartless, ruthless.
1:32 Although they fully know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but also approve of those who practice them.
Lord, You clearly tell us what You have done for us, the Gospel, and why those who reject You are in trouble. May I be intentional in growing toward You and away from unrighteousness.
Paul then described the power of the Gospel
The Lord God overcame the sin of the Fall in the Garden of Eden. He provided a way that we may be saved, He says that everyone who believes will be saved, He first offered salvation to the Jews, and then He offered it to everyone else (the “Gentiles”).
Does Paul’s description of “the power of the Gospel” describe your salvation experience?
Salvation is the result of a process, a series of God-ordained events; the righteousness of God is revealed, as one hears the Gospel, and it flows from the faith-response of the one being saved (one’s initial child-like trusting faith).
When have you observed the process of salvation unfolding in someones life?
Ask the Holy Spirit to you which of the elements of God’s “condemnation of the unrighteous” may be part of your life.
Today I will join with my prayer-partner to pray that I may quickly remove that which the Holy Spirit has revealed from my life. Permanently.
The Condemnation of the Moralist
2:1 Therefore you are without excuse, whoever you are, when you judge someone else. For on whatever grounds you judge another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge practice the same things. 2:2 Now we know that God’s judgment is in accordance with truth against those who practice such things. 2:3 And do you think, whoever you are, when you judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape God’s judgment? 2:4 Or do you have contempt for the wealth of his kindness, forbearance, and patience, and yet do not know that God’s kindness leads you to repentance? 2:5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath for yourselves in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed! 2:6 He will reward each one according to his works: 2:7 eternal life to those who by perseverance in good works seek glory and honor and immortality, 2:8 but wrath and anger to those who live in selfish ambition and do not obey the truth but follow unrighteousness. 2:9 There will be affliction and distress on everyone who does evil, on the Jew first and also the Greek, 2:10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, for the Jew first and also the Greek. 2:11 For there is no partiality with God. 2:12 For all who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 2:13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous before God, but those who do the law will be declared righteous. 2:14 For whenever the Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature the things required by the law, these who do not have the law are a law to themselves. 2:15 They show that the work of the law is written in their hearts, as their conscience bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or else defend them, 2:16 on the day when God will judge the secrets of human hearts, according to my gospel through Christ Jesus.
The Condemnation of the Jew
2:17 But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast of your relationship to God 2:18 and know his will and approve the superior things because you receive instruction from the law, 2:19 and if you are convinced that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 2:20 an educator of the senseless, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the essential features of knowledge and of the truth—2:21 therefore you who teach someone else, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 2:22 You who tell others not to commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 2:23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by transgressing the law! 2:24 For just as it is written, “the name of God is being blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
2:25 For circumcision has its value if you practice the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 2:26 Therefore if the uncircumcised man obeys the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 2:27 And will not the physically uncircumcised man who keeps the law judge you who, despite the written code and circumcision, transgress the law? 2:28 For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision something that is outward in the flesh, 2:29 but someone is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart by the Spirit and not by the written code. This person’s praise is not from people but from God.
Lord, You have blessed us with Your divine kindness, forbearance, and patience. May I share Your gifts with others, being kind, refrain from reacting to difficult people, and patient.
Paul described God's condemnation of the moralist, observing that all have fallen short of God’s righteousness so that all who judge and condemn others are judged and condemned by the same standard of righteousness. Only God is a sinless judge.
Paul provided a partial list of the unrighteous practices which condemn the moralist:
He observed that God’s kindness leads one to repentance [turning away from sin] and stubbornness and an unrepentant heart “stores up wrath” ... “in the day of wrath”.
In the day of wrath “God will reveal and reward each one according to his works”:
Paul reminded the Jews that nothing they do for righteousness under the law will compensate for hypocritical violations of the law.
Paul used the term “circumcision of the heart” to describe Jew and Gentile alike who have surrendered to the Holy Spirit and who have been permanently changed, marked for Christ.
The consequences of contempt for the wealth of God’s kindness, the wealth of God’s forbearance, or the wealth of God’s patience.
What is the difference between "judging", pretending to be God and to know the spirit—and imagining that one does so without sin of their own, and “discernment”, which is the recognition of sin in others without holding oneself as better than others?
Consider the imagery and practical application implied by Paul’s phrase “circumcision of the heart”.
When have you found someone unusually difficult to bear, wanted to react badly, but were restrained by the Holy Spirit within?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to me the difference between “judging” and “discerning” in my attitude toward others and one specific case where I practice more of a “judging” than a “discerning” attitude.
Today I will I will repent [turn away from] my non-Biblical “judging”, I will request and receive the Lord God's forgiveness, and then I will replace it as-is-appropriate with discernment.
3:1 Therefore what advantage does the Jew have, or what is the value of circumcision? 3:2 Actually, there are many advantages. First of all, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. 3:3 What then? If some did not believe, does their unbelief nullify the faithfulness of God? 3:4 Absolutely not! Let God be proven true, and every human being shown up as a liar, just as it is written: “so that you will be justified in your words and will prevail when you are judged.”
3:5 But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is he? (I am speaking in human terms.) 3:6 Absolutely not! For otherwise how could God judge the world? 3:7 For if by my lie the truth of God enhances his glory, why am I still actually being judged as a sinner? 3:8 And why not say, “Let us do evil so that good may come of it”?—as some who slander us allege that we say. (Their condemnation is deserved!)
The Condemnation of the World
3:9 What then? Are we better off? Certainly not, for we have already charged that Jews and Greeks alike are all under sin, 3:10 just as it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one,
3:11 there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God.
3:12 All have turned away, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, not even one.”
3:13 “Their throats are open graves, they deceive with their tongues, the poison of asps is under their lips.”
3:14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
3:15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood,
3:16 ruin and misery are in their paths,
3:17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
3:18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 3:20 For no one is declared righteous before him by the works of the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.
3:21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God (which is attested by the law and the prophets) has been disclosed—3:22 namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 3:24 But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
3:25 God publicly displayed him at his death as the mercy seat accessible through faith. This was to demonstrate his righteousness, because God in his forbearance had passed over the sins previously committed. 3:26 This was also to demonstrate his righteousness in the present time, so that he would be just and the justifier of the one who lives because of Jesus’ faithfulness.
3:27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded! By what principle? Of works? No, but by the principle of faith!
3:28 For we consider that a person is declared righteous by faith apart from the works of the law.
3:29 Or is God the God of the Jews only? Is he not the God of the Gentiles too? Yes, of the Gentiles too!
3:30 Since God is one, he will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.
3:31 Do we then nullify the law through faith? Absolutely not! Instead we uphold the law.
Lord, You made a way just as You promised in the Garden of Eden, and You also opened the door of opportunity Jew and Gentile, male and female, old and young. May I be forever grateful for what You have done.
Paul continued to challenge the Jews to understand that the failure of some Jews does not say anything about the righteousness of God Who entrusted them with “the oracles of God”; He is perfectly righteous and rebellion only defines the rebel.
Paul explained the condemnation of the fallen world, saying that the perfect law of God proves the imperfection of all before a perfect God. Through the faith of the believer God fulfills the law which requires absolute dependence upon God and nothing else.
All are convicted by the law.
All may be justified by the sacrifice of Christ.
Christ fulfilled the requirement of the law for a perfect and pure sacrifice.
Observe the Grand Canyon-like chasm between fallen and God, man defined by imperfection and willful rebellion, God defined by His perfection.
Isn’t it amazing that the Lord God's love conquered all, even death, and that He chooses to pursue us for an eternal relationship with Him?
How interesting to this perfect God Who provides a way through Christ for imperfect and rebellious man to accept His gift and to be restored to the original Edenic plan for eternal relationship.
When have you stopped and reflected and prayed about the amazing gift of love from God?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you an opportunity to take some time to truly celebrate the amazing gift of the Lord God.
Today I will join a fellow believer in a heartfelt celebration of thankfulness for God's loving provision of a path to redemption.
The Illustration of Justification
4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh, has discovered regarding this matter? 4:2 For if Abraham was declared righteous by the works of the law, he has something to boast about—but not before God. 4:3 For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 4:4 Now to the one who works, his pay is not credited due to grace but due to obligation. 4:5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in the one who declares the ungodly righteous, his faith is credited as righteousness.
4:6 So even David himself speaks regarding the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
4:7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;
4:8 blessed is the one against whom the Lord will never count sin.”
4:9 Is this blessedness then for the circumcision or also for the uncircumcision? For we say, “faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness.” 4:10 How then was it credited to him? Was he circumcised at the time, or not? No, he was not circumcised but uncircumcised! 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised, so that he would become the father of all those who believe but have never been circumcised, that they too could have righteousness credited to them. 4:12 And he is also the father of the circumcised, who are not only circumcised, but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham possessed when he was still uncircumcised.
4:13 For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would inherit the world was not fulfilled through the law, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 4:14 For if they become heirs by the law, faith is empty and the promise is nullified. 4:15 For the law brings wrath, because where there is no law there is no transgression either. 4:16 For this reason it is by faith so that it may be by grace, with the result that the promise may be certain to all the descendants—not only to those who are under the law, but also to those who have the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all 4:17 (as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”). He is our father in the presence of God whom he believed—the God who makes the dead alive and summons the things that do not yet exist as though they already do. 4:18 Against hope Abraham believed in hope with the result that he became the father of many nations according to the pronouncement, “so will your descendants be.” 4:19 Without being weak in faith, he considered his own body as dead (because he was about one hundred years old) and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 4:20 He did not waver in unbelief about the promise of God but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God. 4:21 He was fully convinced that what God promised he was also able to do. 4:22 So indeed it was credited to Abraham as righteousness.
4:23 But the statement it was credited to him was not written only for Abraham’s sake, 4:24 but also for our sake, to whom it will be credited, those who believe in the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 4:25 He was given over because of our transgressions and was raised for the sake of our justification.
Lord, You inspired David to observe that it would be a blessing for one who behaved in a “lawless” manner and who sinned to be the beneficiary of Your grace, rather than the law. May I remember that it is Your mercy that has allowed me to not suffer eternal punishment for lawlessness and sin and to therefore seek righteousness and avoid lawlessness and sin.
Abraham was saved by faith, if he were saved by works God would have an obligation to him for having completed some sort of righteousness-earning task, but it was purely grace in return for his belief in God.
David noted that the Lord blesses by removing the eternal conviction-of-death-from-sin and Paul reminded the reader that this has nothing to do with religious ritual like circumcision since David was referring to Abraham and he was saved-by-faith before he was circumcised.
Paul also reminded that Abraham was promised that he would be the “father of many nations” while he and Sarah were still childless and he was elderly—indicating that everything involved with salvation would be unrelated to works, ritual, or any single nationality.
He concluded that saving-faith was for “... those who believe in the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was given over because of our transgressions and was raised for the sake of our justification.”
What a tragedy that man's distortions of God's word had led to such a heresy as to believe in any form of works-righteousness.
Isn’t freedom from works amazing? It does not come from membership in a man-made religious organization or nationality or race or gender. It liberates a person to simply love God and to receive His blessing and gifts and mission for life, undistorted by imperfect humans.
Freedom comes from understanding that salvation is through faith-alone and not works.
When have you experienced or observed confusion as to saved-by-faith-not-works versus saved-by-faith-plus-works?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any moments in your life where you doubt your salvation and that I turn to any form of works-righteousness to try to justify myself before God.
Today I will ask a fellow believer to pray in agreement to purge the lie of doubt and/or works-righteousness from my life so that I may trust and worship God-alone.
The Expectation of Justification
5:1 Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 5:2 through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory.
5:3 Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 5:4 and endurance, character, and character, hope.
5:5 And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
5:6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
5:7 (For rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person perhaps someone might possibly dare to die.)
5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
5:9 Much more then, because we have now been declared righteous by his blood, we will be saved through him from God’s wrath.
5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by his life?
5:11 Not only this, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation.
The Amplification of Justification
5:12 So then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all people because all sinned—5:13 for before the law was given, sin was in the world, but there is no accounting for sin when there is no law. 5:14 Yet death reigned from Adam until Moses even over those who did not sin in the same way that Adam (who is a type of the coming one) transgressed.
5:15 But the gracious gift is not like the transgression. For if the many died through the transgression of the one man, how much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one man Jesus Christ multiply to the many!
5:16 And the gift is not like the one who sinned. For judgment, resulting from the one transgression, led to condemnation, but the gracious gift from the many failures led to justification.
5:17 For if, by the transgression of the one man, death reigned through the one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ!
5:18 Consequently, just as condemnation for all people came through one transgression, so too through the one righteous act came righteousness leading to life for all people.
5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of one man many will be made righteous.
5:20 Now the law came in so that the transgression may increase, but where sin increased, grace multiplied all the more, 5:21 so that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord, You provided the Law so that humankind could see why there was a breach in our relationship with You and what it was costing us, so that we then could recognize why it was such an amazing miracle when You sacrificed to make salvation- powered-righteousness available to us. May I recognize that Your grace is already sufficient for every transgression, that every new transgression only testifies to the magnitude of Your Grace, and that righteousness rather than transgression is the best statement of gratitude.
Paul explained that our expectation of justification is because through faith Jesus became our advocate so that at the Final Judgment the Enemy accuses and Jesus speaks up for us—declaring our justification for perfection because He “did our time”.
Paul also explained the power and purpose of the knowledge of our salvation:
Paul also addressed the amplification of justification, how how the sin of Adam spread to all of his descendants, and the grace from the sacrifice of Jesus multiplies back to believers beyond mere life but into eternity.
There is a long list of reasons that God should never allow you into His perfect and forever sin-free Heaven. Contemplate how great is the love that set you free of that.
How does understanding the power and purpose of the knowledge of our salvation give us something of value to which to we may cling when the challenges of life in a fallen world bring suffering?
There is an important contrast between the Enemy and Jesus. The Enemy is Prince of this world (because of the Fall of Adam and Eve) and it will last for only a little while. His kingdom is also imperfect and temporary. The kingdom of Jesus is perfect and will be eternal, because He made it possible though His own grace and power.
When have you felt overwhelmed by the world for a time and it was only your assurance of salvation that gave you the strength to remain hopeful and to make it through?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to me any lie that may rest in a confused place in my heart that anything I have ever done, or that has been done to me, can ever overwhelm the God of all Creation—when He says I am free and I am promised Heaven.
Today I will share Paul's stages for understanding the power and purpose of the knowledge of our salvation with someone who is struggling with suffering and together we will pray for hope.
The Believer’s Freedom from Sin’s Domination
6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to remain in sin so that grace may increase?
6:2 Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
6:3 Or do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
6:4 Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life.
6:5 For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be united in the likeness of his resurrection.
6:6 We know that our old man was crucified with him so that the body of sin would no longer dominate us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 6:7 (For someone who has died has been freed from sin.)
6:8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
6:9 We know that since Christ has been raised from the dead, he is never going to die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
6:10 For the death he died, he died to sin once for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God.
6:11 So you too consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
6:12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its desires, 6:13 and do not present your members to sin as instruments to be used for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead and your members to God as instruments to be used for righteousness.
6:14 For sin will have no mastery over you, because you are not under law but under grace.
The Believer’s Enslavement to God’s Righteousness
6:15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Absolutely not!
6:16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or obedience resulting in righteousness?
6:17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves to sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were entrusted to, 6:18 and having been freed from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness.
6:19 (I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh.) For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
6:20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free with regard to righteousness.
6:21 So what benefit did you then reap from those things that you are now ashamed of? For the end of those things is death.
6:22 But now, freed from sin and enslaved to God, you have your benefit leading to sanctification, and the end is eternal life.
6:23 For the payoff of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Lord, You made the way for our salvation, setting us free from the slavery of sin, liberating us into a freely-chosen slavery to righteousness. May I not allow my still-fallen flesh to pollute my eternally-saved spirit of righteousness.
Paul reflected back on Romans 5 long enough to remind us that the grace of Jesus covers sins of all kinds.
He trusted us to remember the teaching of Solomon that there is “nothing new under the sun”, therefore, once-saved no sin we commit now is “new” to the entirety o sin for which Jesus the Christ died and therefore it cannot add anything to the grace-over-sin completed work of Christ Jesus.
The unsaved person not only cannot without-Christ overcome the power of sin which controls their lives, they also cannot without-Christ overcome the power of sin to control their eternity, they must accept His gift in order to be free.
Paul explained that the believer has freedom from sin’s domination, but he or she must recognize and then act upon that freedom—pressing away the things of this temporary world which try to drag us down—choosing instead to stay on the path toward ever-increasing righteousness.
The believer’s enslavement to God’s righteousness replaces their prior-to-salvation slavery to sin.
The believer has not only the power, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, to resist sin—they have an implicit obligation to partner with the Holy Spirit to resist sin.
Paul's challenge was “... do not present your members to sin as instruments to be used for unrighteousness … now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.”
What are some ways that you were enslaved by sin prior to salvation?
There are many ways that the power of your salvation has set you free from the power of sin.
When have you observed the external evidence of freedom-from-sin in the life of a new believer?
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you at least one area of your life where you need to surrender more to His Lordship so that you may pursue righteousness rather than allow your still-fallen flesh to drag you into sin.
Today I will thank Jesus for setting me free. I will ask a fellow believer to pray in agreement with me as I partner with God in breaking free in the flesh the same way that He set me free in my eternal spiritual self.
All Bible text is from the NET unless otherwise indicated—http://bible.org
Note 1: These Studies often rely upon the guidance of the NET Translators from their associated notes. Careful attention has been given to cite that source where it has been quoted directly or closely paraphrased. Feedback is encouraged where credit has not been sufficiently assigned.
Note 2: When NET text is quoted in commentary and discussion all pronouns referring to God are capitalized, though they are lower-case in the original NET text.
Commentary text is from David M. Colburn, D.Min. unless otherwise noted.
Copyright © 2011 by David M. Colburn. This is a BibleSeven Study— “Romans”—prepared by David M. Colburn and edited for bible.org in October of 2011. This text may be used for non-profit educational purposes only, with credit; all other usage requires prior written consent of the author.