by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 3 Study # 4 September 18, 2016 Humble, Texas
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:
20 For when ye wereservants 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.
A. When ye were slaves of The Sin.
1. Ye were "free" in respect to The Righteousness.
a. "Freedom" is the absence of compulsion to do something undesirable, but it is also simply being "exempt from the commands of someone else", whether desirable or not.
b. However, the issue may even reach to an absence of the ability to do something of the alternative system. The Sin and The Righteousness are alternative systems with nothing that overlaps. Being in one system denies one the functions that make up the other.
1) The problem of "believers" is that they are "in" the New System of The Righteousness, but they still have the lingering effects of The Sin within them and, thus, are yet capable of committing "sin".
2) The "freedom" for "believers" is relative to their practice of "faith". With "faith" they do The Righteousness and when that falters they do evil out of The Sin. Thus, "freedom" is, for sinners, an absolute in respect to "righteousness, but "freedom" for "believers" is relative to the issues of "faith".
2. Your fruit made you ashamed and pushed you into death.
a. The "fruit" of a system is inviolable according to Jesus' insistence that bad trees produce only bad fruit and good trees produce only good fruit so that only by "making the tree good" could one obtain good fruit (Matthew 7:18 and 12:33).
b. Being a "slave" within a given system determines the ethical nature of the fruit.
c. The "fruit" of bondage to The Sin makes those who come out of it "ashamed" of their former behavior and the "telos" of those things is "death".
1) The issue of "shame".
a) It has the idea of being associated with another thing/person which/who is despised by the culture at large as particularly ineffectual (Romans 1:16). This association is such that people who are slaves to "status lust" are unwilling to subject themselves to it/him.
b) It has a great deal to do with the attitude taken by those who consider themselves to be superior and deemed "correct": mocking derision is applied to those who are considered to be "losers".
c) For the Romans to "be ashamed" of their former "fruit" means that they have decided that that "fruit" is only good for the production of "death".
2) This "death" is not Ultimate Death; it is the quality of existence without the fellowship of God in it.
3) Alienation from God is alienation from the life of The God (Ephesians 4:18). Those who are slaves to The Sin are in an absolute state of such alienation; those who are "believers" who yet serve The Sin are in a relative state of such alienation. Disbelief squelches all of the benefits of "faith" because it is the nature of "faith" that only those who "believe" receive.
4) Since the goal of God and His Truth is "Life", anything that yields "death" in any sense is clearly "ineffectual" and an object of mocking derision.
B. But now... .
1. Having been made free from The Sin and having been made slaves to The God, you have fruit that does not bring shame nor does it lead to death.
a. As noted in our look at 6:18, the "freedom" is tied to the exercise of the processes of "faith". It is not a static state directing a dynamic reality; it is a dynamic state making its impact upon our dynamic experiences.
b. The actual reality is that the "static state" we possess "in Christ" was brought about by The Christ in His dealings with Justice and that moves us into a dynamic state that we can embrace by the fact that we now have the "Spirit of The Christ" dwelling in us to move us into fruit-bearing as we practice the processes of "faith" daily.
2. Your fruit is unto sanctification and is pushing you into the alternative "telos": Eternal Life.