The Book of Romans Bible Study Chapter 6 Part 3

We go on to Romans 6:12-23

Although we might not think of ourselves by this term, all of us are slaves. Either we are  

slaves to unrighteousness (which means that our master is the devil), or we are slaves to righteousness (and our Master is Messiah). 

v12: Therefore: In light of what Paul has said in the previous verses: namely, being dead to sin and alive to G-d – i.e. in this new condition. 

  • Reign: Rule. Be the king. Until we receive the gospel message we are in bondage to sin. With our own power, intellect, or knowledge we cannot change our situation – we are slaves to unrighteousness. As believers, children of G-d, we cannot let sin have lordship in our lives, we cannot live in obedience to sin and its desires.  

v13: Present: Submit. Yield. 

  • Your members: Your parts. Paul is talking about our body parts, our organs, our very beings etc. 
  • Instruments: The literal word for this in Greek is weapons. Paul’s choice of words teaches us that we are in a spiritual battle. 
  • Unrighteousness to sin: There is a connection between unrighteousness and sin. And, ultimately, they both lead to eternal death – the eternal consequence of sin. 
  • But: In contrast to what has just been said
  • Literally: You have presented yourselves to G-d: Paul is writing the book of Romans to believers in Rome. They have accepted the gospel, and, in this, way ‘presented themselves to G-d’. They are now different to non-believers. They are no longer slaves to sin. They no longer have any connection to the devil and have no need to obey satan any longer.
  • Dead: This was their former condition. Previously they had been spiritually dead (and their behaviour had testified of death, as it was rooted in sin). 
  • Sin…G-d: Paul uses parallelism between G-d and sin, righteousness and unrighteousness. Either we are going to serve sin, or we are going to serve G-d. 

v14: Dominion: Rulership. Lordship. Sin should not reign over us; it should not be our master. 

  • Under: This is a word that speaks of authority. We are no longer under the authority or the eternal condemnation/punishment of the law. 
  • Under grace: The instrument that G-d uses to bring about change in our lives is His grace. Our human natures do not like being told what to do and so it is so easy to rebel when the law is laid down. However, grace doesn’t force us. Although it upholds the law, it doesn’t lay down the law. But grace persuades us. Grace changes our perspective. Grace allows us to choose to obey the spirit of the law (the righteousness of the law, the purpose of the law) out of love rather than out of force. Through the grace of G-d, we become recipients of His love. Knowing G-d’s love is going to cause us to want to demonstrate our new natures, our new conditions. We want to demonstrate our love for Him, and it is out of love that we keep His laws and not out of compulsion. 

v15: Not under law: As believers we are not under the authority, judgment or punishment of the law, but that does not mean that we should then have a desire to violate the law. 

  • Under grace: Grace doesn’t lead to disobedience; it leads to obedience. When Yeshua (the Word) became flesh, He embodied the law. He never transgressed, sinned, or violated the law – He had a character of righteousness. His Spirit in us, the Holy Spirit, leads us to behave in the same way that Yeshua did. 

v16: Whom you present yourselves (to): Whatever, or whomever, you submit or yield to.

  • Slaves to obey: Whatever we present ourselves to, we become a slave to that ‘thing’, and we begin to obey it. 
  • Sin… death: If we are slaves to sin then this will lead us to eternal death. 
  • Obedience… to righteousness: Obedience to the things of G-d leads to righteousness.

v17: You were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed: There is a change, a transformation. 

  • Obeyed from the heart: We have obeyed the gospel – G-d’s plan for salvation. This change has led to a new heart condition. The only solution for sin is redemption. 
  • Obeyedthat form (pattern) of doctrine: When we believe, we become a living example (or pattern) of the new condition we are in because of salvation – we become an example of what Yeshua taught. Redemption leads to righteousness. 
  • Doctrine: Teaching i.e. what the Word of G-d reveals.

v18: Having been set free (liberated): Written in the passive. This is not something we can do for ourselves. It has been done for us by Messiah on the cross. 

  • Free from sin: We have been set free from the power and consequences of sin – from an eternal perspective. The umbilical cord to sin, so to speak, has been severed and we are no longer connected to it. 

v19: Human terms: Paul is speaking here like a man. From a human perspective.  

  • The weakness of your flesh: Many believers (especially those who are new believers) are weak spiritually. They are still very much connected to the things of this world because of their lack of knowledge of spiritual things. They are like babes spiritually. 
  • Presented your members (parts): Yielded your bodies and every part of yourselves. Paul has used this example a few times now. Repetition shows emphasis. 
  • Lawlessness: Against the Torah (against the law).
  • So now: There is a change
  • Holiness: Sanctification. This is the goal or the objective of a believer. We desire to live holy and pleasing lives before G-d. Holiness is tied to the purposes of G-d.

v20: Free in regard to righteousness: While we were slaves to sin, we had no connection with righteousness. We were separated or liberated from righteousness. 

v21: What fruit did you have: Sinful behaviour did not produce good fruit. In fact, it produced shame. 

  • The end of those things is death: Again, Paul reiterates that sin leads to death. 

v22: Have your fruit for holiness: There is evidence in our lives of holiness. The fruit we are now producing no longer leads to shame. 

  • The end: The end goal of this new condition that we are in.

v23: Gift: This gift is free.

  • Eternal life: Kingdom life
  • In Messiah Yeshua: It is only found in a covenantal relationship with Him.
  • L-rd: He is the One we serve. He is our Master and the One who now has authority over us. His will becomes our will. His thoughts our thoughts. His way our way. When this becomes our reality, we are going to know true joy and peace. 

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