Mechanics of Forgiveness | Part III

Slaves to Sin

In Romans, it says that prior to submitting to Christ, we are “slaves to sin…”

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. (Rom 6:15-18 [see also Jn 8:34])

Being a slave to sin doesn’t mean that you have no moral restraint – that you automatically submit to your most base impulses.

What it does mean is that you are governed by a paradigm that is fundamentally flawed. Whatever you do springs from a mindset that sees itself as its own absolute:

“There is no one righteous, not even one; 11there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” 14“Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” 15“Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16ruin and misery mark their ways, 17 and the way of peace they do not know.” 18“There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Rom 3:10-18)

Again, it’s not the sin itself that makes it the heinous thing that it is, as much as it’s Who you’re sinning against. Given the Substance and the Absolute Authority of Christ, to ignore Him represents a level of arrogance that is nothing short of nonsensical. Yet, that is our natural state prior accepting God’s free gift of Salvation (Eph 2:8-9).

After you’re saved, Scripture says you’re now “slaves of Christ (1 Cor 7:22; Gal 2:4; Eph 6:6).”

We associate the word “slave” with something inhumane. But in the ancient world, there was a relationship that sometimes existed between a slave and his master that reprented a special bond:

In ancient times, slaves were purchased or born into a slave family and served the master until they died or until the master decided to free them. Some slaves had developed such a close and loving relationship with the master’s family that they wanted to continue serving, even when they could go free. That’s the idea Paul and others were conveying when they referred to themselves as servants of Christ. The Lord has bought us with a high price (1 Corinthians 6:20), and those who come to know Him desire to abandon all rights to Him and choose to serve Him faithfully.1 

It’s not about whether you’re “nice” or “generous.” It comes down to your regard for the One Who created you and redeemed you and the extent to which you value His Love (1 Jn 3:1), respect His Authority (1 Chron 29:10-12; Ps 103:19; Is 40:21-23; Daniel 4:34, 37; 1 Jn 1:2-4) and rather than looking for ways to justify yourself, instead you’re looking for ways to honor Him.

Click here to read “The Mechanics of Forgiveness | Part IV.”

1. “What Does it Mean to be a Servant of Christ?” “Got Questions”,, accessed July 26, 2023

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