1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.
10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.
13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!
16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?
17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.
18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Even after we’ve encountered the power of grace to be free from sin’s claim as our slave master, the choice still remains who we will serve. There were many slaves at the end of the Civil War who, even after being legally freed from serving their masters, chose to continue working for them, obeying their commands as if they had never been freed. Even though over 360,000 Union lives had been sacrificed to earn their freedom, they remained in the only life they knew, serving a slave master who took care of them and gave them a sense of security. Freedom cannot be forced. It must be chosen, claimed, lived, and fought for. The true purpose of freedom and independence was enablement to fulfill a God-given potential, apart from the restrictions and boundaries of a dictator. Slavery was not just obedience to a man’s orders, but confinement to a way of life that inhibited their own potential. Those who were truly freed no longer obeyed not only their old master, but the whole way of life he represented. They walked into an identity of freedom that was their own fulfillment of God-given abilities and gifts. The freedom won so long ago is still one that must be experienced in the same way – legally secured, but in need of personal possession and service.
In Christ the amazing grace of God has set us free from the master of sin and its inevitable consequences of restricted potential and death. It’s not enough, though, to just be legally liberated. It is still possible to choose service to that old way that was our life. The most precious life was sacrificed for our righteousness and its fruit of holiness/eternal life. Though our choice of service will never displace what only He could do for us, it is still by faith that we will choose who we will serve and what will be the fruit of our lives’ service. That same grace that saved us and gave us legal separation from the ownership of sin, is available to empower service and obedience to the righteous nature that is now rightfully ours. Grace didn’t come to install equity – the same fruit, no matter the service. He came to empower service to the only way of life that can produce the life Jesus came to provide. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.”