Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 3 Study # 1
August 28, 2016
15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
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?
17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things [is] death.
22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
23 For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
1901 ASV Translation:
15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under law, but under grace? God forbid.
16 Know ye not, that to whom ye present yourselves [as] servants unto obedience, his servants ye are whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
17 But thanks be to God, that, whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered;
18 and being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness.
19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye presented your members [as] servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity, even so now present your members [as] servants to righteousness unto sanctification.
20 For when ye were servants of sin, ye were free in regard of righteousness.
21 What fruit then had ye at that time in the things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
22 But now being made free from sin and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end eternal life.
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- I. Grace Does Not "Lift" The Reality of "Service Unto Results".
- A. Paul's question of whether "we should sin" [Aorist Subjunctive] simply because we are "under" grace and not law is both raised and answered.
- 1. The occasion of the question is his doctrine of deliverance from "law" into "grace". It implies that the readers do not understand what or how "grace" has been provided.
- a. Apparently the readers think that "grace" means "behavior doesn't matter" and that "nothing significantly bad will occur in the present or the future".
- 1. The very heart of "Grace" is the concept of Divine Action taking the place of human action: behavior does matter and it is critical that "behavior" be sponsored, directed, and empowered by God.
- 2. Paul's doctrine of "grace" is that the behavior of human bodies is significantly improved when those bodies are "yielded as tools of righteousness to The God".
- b. The text is not about "grace" lifting "all" that is significantly "bad"; it only "lifts" the issue of "Justice" out of the experience. Paul's claim in 6:14 is that "Sin" cannot function as "lord" because "lords" apply "law" to people in their circumstances and "Justice" is the basis for that application. Being out from under "law" means no application of "Justice". Apparently, the readers do not understand the limits of this "lifting".
- 2. The answer is an emphatic denial.
- B. Paul's explanation of his emphatic denial is that "Justice" is not the only issue of "Life". The real issue of "Life" is the issue of the "to whom?" one will submit as a servant. One of those to whom we might submit leads to "death"; the other leads to "righteousness" and its natural corollary.
- 1. The "to whoms" are not equivalent: "sin" is the first mentioned and the other is "obedience" (hupakoe). Neither are the results equivalent: "death" is the result of submission to "sin" and "righteousness" is the result of submission to "obedience". We would expect the "to whoms" to be "Sin" or "The God" (as in 6:13) and the results would then be "death" and "life" (as in 6:23).
- a. Clearly Paul had a reason for this disjointed sentence; it is ours to figure out what it is.
- b. Just as clearly, Paul made "Sin" the author of "death" and "obedience" the author of "righteousness".
- c. Thus, we have to conclude that he is deliberately contrasting "Sin" with "obedience" and "death" with "righteousness". And, since the contrasted elements are not equivalent, he must be contrasting "Sin" and "death" with God's methods of the alternative.
- 1) "Obedience", as a word, is actually a statement of methodology. The word means "to hear and yield" and the consequence is "obedience". But, the word is a methodology word, not a consequence word. This puts a premium upon the "Word" because that is the root of all "hearing" and upon the "Spirit" because He is at the root of all true "yielding" (understanding).
- 2) Likewise, "righteousness" is, in this context, also a methodology word. The doing of righteousness leads to "Life" (which Paul only implies by the use of "death" and does not directly mention). Righteousness is the method and Life is the consequence.
- 3) Thus, "Sin" leads to "death" and "hearing unto submission" leads to "righteousness" which, in turn, leads to "Life".
- 2. There are two foundational issues: freedom from the Justice of God; and freedom from the realities of a cause/effect universe.
- a. Freedom from the Justice of God is held forth as a real and absolute reality (6:14).
- b. Freedom from "effects" in a cause/effect universe is never held forth as a real option. In fact, Galatians 6:7 is as clear a declaration as is possible that this will never be an option.
- 3. The sphere to which Paul addresses his words: experience in time and eternity.
- a. Paul's exemption of believers from the Justice of God is both a time and eternity reality, but it is weighted in the direction of eventual eternity [actual "Justice" has never been seen in "time" and will only be actually seen when the Judgment Throne is set up at the end of earth's final age].
- b. And his imposition of the mechanics of "Sin" leading to "death" and "Obedience" leading to "righteousness" is also a time and eternity reality, but it is weighted in the direction of the present time because "experience" is the real issue and it is a "now" or "present" reality.
- 1) Time is heavily dominated by the cause/effect reality in terms of present experience, while eternity is heavily dominated by the after-effects of "judgment".
- 2) Time seldom sees any real "Justice" in judgments imposed, but eternity will bring the effects of "judgment" into totally dominating reality. Hell is for those "judged" to be unqualified for participation in the Eternal Kingdom, and the Judgment Seat of Christ settles every believer's level of participation in that Kingdom.
- 4. At issue is not whether a person will be a "slave", for all men are slaves to someone or some thing. At issue is where the "slavery" takes its subject. There is a "slavery" that leads to the bondage of "Death" and there is a "slavery" that leads to the freedom of "Life".
- 5. Underlying this entire argument is a most fundamental issue: self-interest. Only a person who is concerned about his "self" would debate this entire issue. If one does not care about his/her own "self", why resist being a "slave to God"; and if one does not care about his/her own "self", why not just do as one pleases and take the consequences?
- 6. At issue is the experience of "Life" and God is heavily invested in making that experience one of ultimate, ecstatic, joy. He wants us to also be equally invested.
- II. The Most Fundamental Aspect of "Servanthood".
- A. Paul called upon his readers to "present themselves", not to "Sin", but to "The God".
- 1. In the actual "order" of the processes, "presenting" follows "hearing unto yielding". One does not "present" until one has "heard" and "yielded".
- 2 But, in his argument, "presenting" with "hearing/yielding" is a necessary and preliminary factor, but not the focus: Paul's focus is upon the "presentation" of both the entire "self" as well as the individual members of the body.
- B. When a person "presents", he/she becomes a slave to the one to whom the presentation was made.
- 1. In a culture where "slavery" is heatedly resisted, even with violence, it is difficult to get people to accept the fact that human beings were created to be "slaves". Only a "god" can escape being a "slave", but even "The God" does not escape since He is the One Who set "slavery" up to be the only practical way to create a kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy. Only when creatures accept and practice the reality of their identity as "existing for the sake of others" can they "Live". People who have been long conditioned to think in terms of "I get to do my own thing regardless of how it affects others" as the definition of "freedom" are very difficult to persuade in respect to "slavery" leading to "freedom" as the ability to serve others exclusively.
- 2. The underlying issue is: "hearing unto submission".
- C. The outcomes are declared: Death or Righteousness (unto Life).