Digging in Deeper: Romans 6:17-18

“But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching to which you were handed over, and having been set free from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter

Freedom beats at the heart of every person. This has always been the case. Freedom hasn’t always been as widely available in the world as it is today, but the freest people have always been the envy of the rest. In the ancient world, some longed for it but assumed they weren’t made for it. Today, there are occasionally national revolutions to obtain it, even as rulers try and deny it every way they can because they understand that the freer people are, the less power the ruling class has. But our longing is freedom. So, why would anyone want to follow a religion that calls its devotees to be slaves? 

Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: Romans 6:20, 22

“For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. . . .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.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

This is one of the more confusing arguments Paul makes over the course of his letter to the church in Rome.  First, he says Christians were slaves of sin before being saved, then, he says that Christians, once they have been saved and set free from sin, are slaves of God.  So we are saved from slavery only to enter into another kind of slavery?  What gives?  Why not just stay where we were at first? Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: Ephesians 6:5-9

“Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free.  Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

Passages like this one often get the Bible criticized for being pro-slavery, or at least not sufficiently condemnatory of it.  Why wouldn’t Paul just come out here and declare it to be the evil it obviously is?  There are two reasons, I think.  One helps us understand the culture into which Paul was writing better, the other points to how God has nearly always moved people forward toward the ethic of His kingdom. Read the rest…