Rom 6:19-23 “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. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. ”
In speaking of spiritual things, we sometimes have to use temporal comparisons when speaking of the eternal majesty of God. This is because our human nature is weak. We do not like to see ourselves as weak creatures. It goes against the grain to admit that we are not powerful, and we often rebel (against God, against parents, or against society) in an effort to prove that we are sufficient in ourselves.
As a result of our feebleness (infirmity) and rebellion, we give ourselves up to impure thoughts and actions. We give our minds to the consideration of ungodly pursuits. We walk in places we should not go. Our hands seek to do harm. Isaiah 59:7 says “Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.”
In Jesus Christ, we are set free from this path of destruction. Whereas we have yielded (past tense) our members servants to uncleanness and iniquity that led to greater iniquity, we are now able to yield (devote) our members (thoughts, walk, labor) to righteousness. The phrase “now able” carries with it the idea of our present state and our continued state going forward. Walking justly in Christ, we are now able to also serve with a purity (holiness) that we could never have outside of Him.
Remember that Paul said at the beginning of this writing that he was speaking after the manner of men. When we were the servants of sin, we were free from righteousness. This is not to be interpreted that righteousness was not required, but rather that we were exempt. The meaning of the word exempt here does not mean that we got a pass, but rather that we were “cut off” from righteousness.
Again, this was our past condition. We know it is a past condition if we are now ashamed of those things. We can look back and say that the only thing our past actions ever produced in us was death. While that was not necessarily a physical death, we were dead to the peace, joy, and contentment of living a godly (righteous and holy) manner.
Praise God, our past condition has been changed by His grace! Now, being made free (delivered) from sin, we become servants to God. Our life produces that which is honoring and glorifying to God. The end of this was is not death but everlasting life.
Paul now gives us some inescapable truth. The wages of sin IS death: there is no avoiding this. But….the gift of God IS eternal life: death cannot destroy this gift. How do we know that death cannot destroy the gift of God? Because the gift of God come to us through Jesus Christ our Lord, and He has already defeated death!
May we have grace to serve Him who sets us free now and forever!