Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 3 Study # 2
September 4, 2016
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:
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. Paul's Gratitude.
- A. That Paul expresses "gratitude" to "The God" for the transformation of his reader's basic status is highly significant in light of his overall doctrine.
- 1. The words translated "God be thanked" are rooted in the term "thanked": it is the typical New Testament word for "grace". Paul used the word 21 times in Romans alone and in every case but the one before us it is translated in the Authorized Version as "grace".
- 2. This makes it abundantly clear that what the translators took to be "thanksgiving", Paul meant to be some kind of connection to "grace". Even the etymology of the word "give thanks" has its roots in a legitimate response to grace given.
- 3. Paul was the majority author of the New Testament and "grace" was the theological milieu of that day according to that block of revelational material beginning with John the Baptizer and culminating with John the Revelator. Thus, it seems beyond dispute that Paul saw the conversion/transformation of his readers to be, at its roots, a matter of divine "grace".
- 4. Given the above, it is no small matter that the entire content of Romans 6 is concerned with how his readers were to "respond" to "grace" in view of the problem of "sins" and "The Sin".
- 5. This is a critical issue, given all of the problems men have with the idea that "grace" is at the root of all the good that comes to mankind in its history; men prefer to think in terms of their own efforts and merit.
- a. At the root of man's penchant for wanting the "credit" for the good things that occur in his/her life is the motivation of "status lust" (seeking to fulfill the longing for status so as to take credit for it as in John's "pride of life" thesis) and the doctrine of "free will" (a delusional bit of nonsense that has its origins in the early rebellion of the first Apostate).
- b. Even in the delusional concept of habitual despair wherein a person "cannot forgive him/her self" for some heinous evil, this longing to be "free" to do "good" lurks. If, as men say, I have "free will", of course there is no forgiveness; but if I am, as the New Testament is not bashful about saying, a slave to sin, the mercy of forgiveness, rooted in the "grace" of the "forgiver" can be easily grasped and chronic depression can be lifted away in a matter of seconds.
- B. The matter Paul ascribes to the grace of God.
- 1. A fundamental transformation of "status".
- a. The former status: "slaves of The Sin".
- b. The new status: "slaves to The Righteousness".
- 2. A fundamental process.
- a. Out of "heart" came a yielding to "doctrine heard".
- 1) "Hearing unto yielding" (translated "ye have obeyed") generated the "status-shift".
- 2) The thing heard was "a 'stamped type' of doctrine".
- b. At the roots is the ascription of "grace to The God".
- 1) The " 'stamped type' of doctrine" was "delivered" by the gracious work of God in the minds and hearts of those "apostles" who came preaching Christ.
- 2) The response to that doctrine was "a hearing unto yielding" that Paul attributes to the grace of God. Who but God, alone, can alter the profound wickedness of the human heart (Jeremiah 17:9)? What did God promise in the new covenant but a transformed "heart" (Jeremiah 31:31-33)?
- 3) It is merely the on-going persistence of wicked hearts that ignore this and attribute "conversion" to "free will".
- II. The New Status.
- A. Those who once were "slaves the The Sin" have been fundamentally altered.
- B. They are now "made slaves" (Aorist Passive Indicative) to "The Righteousness".
- 1. This is conditioned upon "having been made free" from "The Sin".
- 2. These passives indicate the continuing thread of "grace to The God".
- III. The Implications for the Debate Between "Free Grace" and "Lordship Salvation".
- A. Clearly, clearly, Paul's doctrine carries the obvious, obvious declaration that "conversion by grace" is intended to result in "submission to Lordship by grace". In Romans 1:5 Paul declared that "grace" and "apostleship" were given "unto obedience by faith". God never intended that the offer of salvation was to be truncated into an offer of "heaven in the by and by"; but the question is one of the "how?" that is involved in the process.
- B. The "lordship" doctrine demands that men/women yield to Jesus as Lord before God will justify by faith. The "free grace" doctrine insists that justification is a freely given gift without regard for any obedience to come. The truth is that the human condition requires that one operate by promise and not by demand. But that does not mean that, over time, the implication of "grace" is not a fully developed "friendship" with God. It means, rather, that men have to be led bit by bit, from "grace" in justification to "grace" in sanctification. Imposing "lordship" over the entire process nips the perception of "grace" in the bud and turns the Gospel into just another form of "law" that demands human performance. But, dismissing the implications of "grace unto obedience" also nips "grace" in the bud and turns the Gospel into a simple promise of eternal life someday.