Romans (15): The Benefit of Sin
Romans 6: An Exposition (15) - The Benefit of Sin
All Saints * Dr. Gregg Strawbridge * September 21, 2008
What then? Should we sin because we are not under Torah but under grace? Of course not! 6:16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or obedience resulting in righteousness? 6:17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves to sin, you whole-heartedly obeyed that pattern of teaching you were entrusted to, 6:18 and having been set free from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness. 6:19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your self-identity. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. 6:20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free with regard to righteousness. 6:21 So what benefit did you then reap from those things that you are now ashamed of? For the end of those things is death. 6:22 But now, freed from sin and enslaved to God, you have your benefit leading to sanctification, and the end is eternal life. 6:23 For the paycheck of sin is death, but the grace gift of God is eternal life in our Anointed King, Jesus the Lord. (Romans 6:14-23)
Not ________________ of ___________________ - Thus far in the chapter, Paul has explained a new exodus for the new covenant people of God through the waters of baptism. The question of identity arises again in 6:15, “ Should we sin because we are not under Torah but under grace?” or “Have we become sinners [aor. subj.]”? Because we are not “in Torah” what are the consequences? Are we part of the lot of “sinners” outside of Torah-identity? No. We are in the new solidarity of Christ, not Adam. We are “in Messiah Jesus.” We are no longer under the old allegiance. Like those who walked through the Red Sea on dry land, we are a new people whose Declaration of Independence is based upon the redemption in the cross-work of Jesus. If we reckon ourselves in Christ, then we can realize sin no longer has lordship. We are freed from the Torah-justice of sin, the official debt that sin requires (Col. 2:14).
Not ________________ of ___________-_________________- He explains with the imagery of slavery. It is not a mere illustration. The illustration also touches upon reality. “You gotta serve somebody” (Bob Dylan). Paul explains that “you are slaves of the one you obey.” Paul makes a contrast: “either of sin resulting in death, or obedience resulting in righteousness.” However these two are not equal in their effect or fruit. The more glorious truth is that serving God does not bring the impish deterioration of ourselves, but our glorification. We are freed to become ourselves in “slavery” to God.
Not ________________ of ___________________ - He concludes with a helpful dose of “life then vs life now.” Before you were living in Christ and obeying Him, did you really benefit from a life of sin? The greatest attainment outside of Christ is at best a fading glory. Paul writes, “So what benefit did you then reap from those things that you are now ashamed of?” But on the other hand living in Christ and being obedient to Him leads to “sanctification” or to holiness, being set apart as one of God’s righteous people. This grants access to God and sharing in the “life of the age to come.” The last verse is quotable and powerful. What do you get paid for sin? “For the paycheck of sin is death, but the grace gift of God is eternal life in our Anointed King, Jesus the Lord.”
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more