Monday, January 18, 2010

Living for Jesus (Romans 6:14-23)

We have been looking at attaining victory over sin in Romans 6:1-23. We have seen that we are to know – know that we are dead to sin and alive to God (Romans 6:1-10); we have seen that we are to believe or consider this to be true because it is (Romans 6:11); and we have been looking at we are to present or yield (Romans 6:12-23).

We have already considered how we are to present/yield (glad-hearted and free/willingly) in Romans 6:12-13. Now in our study we come to why we are to present/yield (Romans 6:14-23).

Why we are to present/yield (Romans 6:14-23)

We are to yield because of love (Romans 6:14-15). It is because of God’s love for us that we yield ourselves to Him. His love for us is expressed by His grace to us. God in His love has given us His grace which does not give us an excuse to sin but a reason to obey. Paul has proved that we are not saved by the Law and that we do not live under the Law. For many this would mean that we can sin all we want because they don’t understand the wonderful constraining and controlling power of love. Love is what gives the strength or ability to obey.

Sin and Law go together (1 Corinthians 15:56) just as obedience and love go together (John 14:15). Since we are not under Law, but under grace, sin is robbed of its strength. The person who claims to have Jesus as Lord but does not obey Him doesn’t love Him. Jesus said, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, and do not do what I say?” He also said, “If you love Me you will keep My commandments.”

Another way of saying the truth of Romans 6:14 would be to say that sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under the Lord. We are under the Lord because of love. We are to yield because of love.

We are to yield because of liberty (Romans 6:16-20). Whatever you yield to becomes your master. Sin is an unloving and unkind tyrant. It is deceptive promising pleasure and happiness but instead takes one into deeper and deeper misery and ultimately paying death and destruction. Sin will take you farther than you want to go; keep you longer than you want to stay; and cost you more than you want to pay!

Before you were saved, you were the slave to sin. Now that you belong to Christ you are freed from the old slavery and made the servant of Christ. Christ is a loving and kind Lord and as we obey Him we experience liberty from the bondage of sin. We grow in our sanctification (Romans 6:16). Our growth in sanctification, our making progress in victory over sin is based on obedience from the heart because of our love for the Lord. Our sanctification is always based on our thankfulness for our justification (Romans 6:17) – He who has been forgiven much loves much! God works His salvation in a person’s innermost being. God changes men’s natures when they trust Him. A person whose heart has not been changed has not been saved. Righteous living issues from an obedient heart because of being committed to Christ because of love for Christ.

Knowing the truth of the gospel (Romans 6:17) and loving Christ because of it issues in liberty from sin and loyalty to Christ (Romans 6:18). This truth can also be stated like this – “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). And just as enthusiastically as we served sin – presenting our members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness – we are to in like manner serve righteousness – so now present your members as slaves to righteousness resulting in sanctification (Romans 6:19).

The late Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote, “As you go on living this righteous life, and practicing it with all your might and energy, and all your time…you will find that the process that went on before, in which you went from bad to worse and became viler and viler, is entirely reversed. You will become cleaner and cleaner, and purer and purer, and holier and holier, and more and more conformed to the image of the Son of God” (Romans: An Exposition of Chapter Six [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1972], pp. 268-69). Obedience to Christ because of love issues in liberty from sin and sanctification.

Obedience to self and sin issued in slavery to sin and condemnation without any reference whatsoever to any form of sanctification (Romans 6:20). To be free in regard to righteousness is to have no connection at all to righteousness or any ability to bring it about. Only loving loyalty to Jesus as Lord can make righteousness our master and bring about liberty from sin.

We are to yield because of love and liberty.

We are to yield because of life (Romans 6:21-23). If you serve a master you can expect to receive wages. There is fruit that comes from the master you serve. Sin pays the wages of death! God also pays wages – holiness and everlasting life.

Jesus said that He came to give life and to give it more abundantly. This is the exact opposite of what sin gives (Romans 6:21). After being saved we became ashamed of the sinful things that we used to do that only had the outcome of death and destruction. The fruit of sin that was in our lives only produced more bondage and more destruction.

However, because we yielded to God because of love and were set at liberty from sin, we derive our benefit or fruit resulting in sanctification (victory over sin) and the outcome, eternal life (Romans 6:22).

So one’s master determines what one receives – either death or eternal life. Those who remain in their sin and remain under sin’s dominion will receive death. Those who are removed from their sin and placed under the Lord’s dominion will receive eternal life (Romans 6:23). The fruit of loving sin is death – the fruit of loving the Lord is eternal life. We will obey what we love! Yield because of love, liberty, and life!

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