Friday, May 27, 2011

How We Must Live

Romans 6:22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.

22 νυνὶ δὲ ἐλευθερωθέντες ἀπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας δουλωθέντες δὲ τῷ θεῷ ἔχετε τὸν καρπὸν ὑμῶν εἰς ἁγιασμόν, τὸ δὲ τέλος ζωὴν αἰώνιον.

This is the chapter that begins with the rhetorical question as to whether we should go on sinning so that grace may abound. Paul responds with the emphatic  μὴ γένοιτο, which is translated "by no means" in the ESV. I think a stronger translation is something like, "may it never happen!" or "let it never be so!" though of course neither of those flow as nicely in English. 

The point is that Paul uses this chapter to explain what it means to be a child of God. The key phrase here is νυνὶ δὲ ἐλευθερωθέντες ἀπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας δουλωθέντες δὲ τῷ θεῷ. The words ἐλευθερωθέντες and δουλωθέντες are both aorist passive participles. They get a verbal sense to them with the pronoun νυνὶ. What he is saying is just what the text says in the ESV. He is saying that two things happened when we were saved. First, we were set free from sin. Second, we became slaves of God.

The reason I want to emphasize this is because Americans in particular tend to minimize the idea of slavery in the New Testament. We might go on and on about what slavery meant in that culture as we try to explain Colossians 3:22 or Ephesians 6:5. No matter how we slice it, a slave was bound to his master. Therefore, he had to do his master's will.

If we are truly saved then we are slaves of God. Now of course slaves disobey from time to time. We will deal with that tomorrow. The point is that we need to be in the mindset of total devotion to the Lord. To think less is to minimize what happened on the cross.

Where are you? Are you a slave of God or of sin? It's going to be one or the other.

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