The consequences for our spirit – Obedient unto the Spirit of Righteousness
ROMANS 6 – Part 5
So Paul says, we have presented ourselves in coming to faith; we have presented ourselves to Christ as His slave, indebted to Him for the ransom He paid for us with His blood. Since He bought us, we are now His slaves, so we must present ourselves to Him, obeying His desires. Since Christ is inside each of us, His Spirit living in us, then we must obey that perfect sinless spirit. If we are to be good slaves, we must obey that Master Who bought us. Just as we once were slaves to our sinful nature and obeyed it without question. That should be your goal in life… to obey your new master, your sinless spirit, as consistently as you once obeyed your previous master, your sinful spirit.
Before you came to faith, you were a perfectly obedient slave. You did everything your master wanted you do. The problem was, your master was evil and everything it wanted
was unrighteous. But you didn’t object, even in those moments you may have done something objectively considered a good thing, you did it for selfish reasons. There was something in your sinful nature that wanted it. Now you have a perfect, sinless spirit inside you, that knows everything that God wants and calls you into that walk of obedience and it only directs you into righteousness. And now Paul says your goal is to be equally obedient to that instinct that you once were to the other one. Paul says thanks to God that He has made you obedient from the heart to the teaching to which you were committed. To a form of teaching. This form or pattern of teaching that directs us now is very different than the Law men previously followed. The previous pattern of teaching men followed was one written on stone, speaking of the Law. But it only brought condemnation and had no power to break the master that ruled over men’s sinful hearts, which was sin itself. But the Greek word for form is tupos, which means die or stamp. This is what Paul is saying. Thanks be to God that He caused us, He compelled us to be obedient to something He stamped on our hearts. What do you think He stamped on your heart? This teaching we are now obedient to.
There was something stamped or impressed on our hearts that compelled our obedience and formed our commitment. It was the gospel of grace that now rules us from our hearts. And we have become 100% obedient to the new law written on our hearts, it is our new master. God stamped it there so now we have this pattern by which we live. We have the law of God living in us, the spirit of God that is. Telling us everything that needs to happen at any given moment. Where before you were a slave to sin, you have been freed. Now, you are a slave to righteousness. So you were entrapped by sin and a slave to it until God freed you by making you obedient to the call of the Gospel. Making us new in our spirit. Now the question is whether you will obey that spirit with equal conviction. Where before you only had one voice directing you, sin sin sin sin. Now you have the voice of the spirit directing you into righteousness. But hold on, you still have that old voice of your flesh. So now you got two voices, in a sense. One is “you”, one is your enemy. You have the voice of the spirit and the old voice of your flesh. Which one will you obey? In human terms, we sense all of this as a good day and bad day. A good moment, not such a good moment. Regrets, setbacks, backsliding, conquering, victories are all the words we throw around that reflects the tug of war that we all know. We feel as though we are doing well at times and then at other times we feel as though we are losing ground. In reality, it never changes, the spirit in us remains 100% sinless, while our body remains 100% sinful.
But it’s the intersection of these two that brings opportunity for a battle, and in that battle one side will be strengthened and one side will be weakened. There is no standing still in this battle. So in human terms, you feel the waxing and waning of your sanctification. Paul speaks of this feeling next –
Romans 6:19-23 (NKJV)
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 (sanctification).
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 (sanctification), and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The weakness of our flesh is our inability to perfectly discipline the lusts of our body. We are imperfect in containing our lusts, because we are spiritual weak. It’s like a muscle that hasn’t been exercised enough. Think about it, before you came to faith, you didn’t even have a muscle, much less try to use it. We all spent our entire existence presenting ourselves as slaves to our old sinful nature. We had a one-way thought about how to do everything. We were slaves to impurity and lawlessness. Now at this point, you can begin to walk a different path. But you are starting that path, that listening to the spirit, that disciplining of the body – you are starting at a very weak point. With a little muscle, you haven’t really used it a lot yet. Talking from the standpoint of someone new in the faith or even if they’ve been in the faith for a while and they haven’t tried this or they’ve never worked on sanctification they also are sitting at a weak point. That means they are involved in a struggle. It will require you to begin to act in new and different ways if you are going to win that struggle. It means going against a lifetime of training in unrighteousness. This is a simple application of the rule of slavery. You can’t be slave to two masters –
Matthew 6:24 (NKJV)
You Cannot Serve God and Riches
24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.You cannot serve God and mammon (riches/wealth).
It’s all or none. So in a sense you got potentially two masters now inside you. The spirit of God which truly is the One you serve. But this body of sin that wants you to obey it and if you let it, you will make it your master. But it will be a counterfeit master.
Probably you’ve heard this analogy. I think it came originally from Billy Graham, at less that is who I believe is credited with it, the idea of two dogs fighting. Starts with a story about a man who was a dog fighter and he brings his dogs to a dog fight and he would have a couple of dogs with him each time he came to the fight. And he would bet on his own dogs like everyone else bet on the dogs. And he would bet on one of his two dogs. Whichever one he bet on was the one that always won the fight. And the guys who saw this happening asked him one time how do you which of your two dogs is always going to win? And he said, oh that’s easy, it’s whichever one I feed. And that became a great analogy for this battle inside us. Which side of this battle is going to win is whichever one you’re feeding. You either feed your spirit through the disciplines that grow us spiritually which are obvious in most respects, right? In the word of God, in prayer, in company of Godly saints, in fellowship, in the opportunity to be counseled and exhorted and corrected and all the things that are supposed to happen in the body and the intent is to become more Christ like. If you are feeding on that side you are enviably weakening the other side. Because it’s one or the other. On the other hand, if you are indulging in the lusts of your flesh or giving little attention to the things of the spirit. Guess which one is getting stronger? It’s a very simple formula. Paul says, having been freed from a slavery where there was no second choice, he says now you have an opportunity and he says think about it when you were only on the other side serving only your body because you had no spirit of God in you. What did you derived from that, he said. You derived things that ultimately led to death. His point being, do you still want that? Why would you want that. Even if it was a temporarily really exciting good thing, you know where it is going. Why would you want that? It brought you misery upon misery. So why repeat that?
He says, on the other hand while your old master demands behavior that leads to death. Your new master, who is more powerful, is going to lead you to sanctification, eternal life. That is to become more Christ like. Ultimately to your eternal life in glory. So, which one is the better master to serve, then?
Paul ends with one of the most powerful verses in all the Bible, verse 24. A great verse for evangelism. If you have heard of the Romans 6:23 method, it’s a very easy way to explain the Gospel to somebody. Breaking it down. In this one verse you see the eternal exchange that takes place being described here. That is Christ paid for the sin that we deserved to be condemned for. The wages of our sin was death and that death was paid for by Christ and in its place we received the free gift of eternal life. That’s the summing principle for the entire chapter. When we obey the master of sin, you are disobeying the master who saved you. You are returning to a life you’ve been saved from. But you have been freed from the necessity of doing that. Now the only question is will you consider yourself dead to sin? Will you consider this battle, will you feed the right side of you? Most people have come to the point in their life where they say I am tired of my own sin. I don’t know how to escape it. Well the answer is always the same no matter what your situation is. You don’t fight sin by stopping your sinning. You fight sin by strengthening your spirit. Now at some point it comes down to a moment where you say no. You eventually have to say no to something that you are not saying no to as of now. But how do you get to the point where you are strong enough to do that? Willing to do that, wanting to do that? That requires the spirit in you to have the upper hand. What the church should be doing in general is equipping the saints through all kinds of disciplines to include a fasting, which is a great way to disciplining the flesh and strengthening the spirit. So that, in corporate terms, the body is becoming more Christ like. It’s gaining strength of the spirit necessary to deal with the individual sin needs of our life. Everybody’s got their own little pattern of sin. Why aren’t you done with it? Why do you still have that pattern in your life. well it’s because your spirit is not strengthen enough yet to sanctify that out. And maybe because you may be a little to content with it. All of that comes to bear in a community that cares enough about sin to want to deal with it in the right ways. So we don’t condemn sin out of a person. We sanctify them up in strength to deal with it. And that’s Christ’s ability to work in us. You have a perfect spirit willing to take you away from sin if you just listen to it instead of to your body.
Click below on other sections to learn more about the consequences of our salvation by Faith – Romans Chapter 6 series:
- Romans 6/Part 1 – Consequences for our Spirit – Righteousness
- Romans 6/Part 2 – Consequences for our Spirit – A New Spirit
- Romans 6/Part 3 – Consequences for our Spirit – Considered Sinless
- Romans 6/Part 4 – Consequences for our Spirit – Serving God
“The author’s biblical interpretations and conclusions presented in this document rely on original teaching used by permission of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). The author’s views may not represent the views of VBVMI, it’s Directors or staff. Original VBVMI teaching may be found at http://www.vbvmi.org.”
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