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.
Slaves to Righteousness
The idea of anyone offering themselves up as a slave is abhorrent to our twenty-first century, Western sensibilities. Through cultural history and media portrayals, our views of slavery are never voluntary. Slavery in the South of the USA involved people rounded up in Africa, treated as less than cattle as they were shipped in squalid conditions, and then sold to the highest bidder. Biblical slavery is not like that. In biblical slavery the person might have run out of money and then chosen to give themselves to the person to whom they owed the debt. It was not ideal, but they knew what they were getting into.
In the illustration above, Paul tells you that you have to be a slave but you choose to whom you will commit. You were a slave to sin by default. However, by being enslaved to Christ you get to choose to live from the heart in a way that pleases God. We are slaves to righteousness.
I give up my rights which lead me to sin whenever I exercise them. I choose you and wish to walk the path of righteousness.
- Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?
- What are the options of whose slave you can become?
- How would you describe slavery in the ancient world?
- Why do people today fail to take sin seriously?
- How do people today respond to the idea of being a slave?