to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice *
November 11, 2019 – Monday
Romans 6:15-18 NIV
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. (Boldface added)
Once again we see a question very much like the one asked in verse one of this chapter where the reply was May it never be! which was pretty emphatic. This time we have By no means! or in some versions God forbid! They all come from Strong’s G3756 me defined as: any but (that), God forbid, never – among others. Clearly a very strong negative.
Then in the following verses many may not care for the use of the word slave or slaves, but a number of versions use the word servant instead. Nonetheless, it is the Strong’s G1401 Greek word doulos which is defined as: a slave (literal or figurative, involuntary or voluntary; frequently, therefore in a qualified sense of subjection or subserviency):—bond(-man), servant. Vine’s Expository Dictionary provides more for the same word beginning
Bondman, Bondmaid: from deo, “to bind,” “a slave,” originally the lowest term in the scale of servitude, came also to mean “one who gives himself up to the will of another,” e.g., 1Cr 7:23; Rom 6:17, 20, and became the most common and general word for “servant,” as in Mat 8:9, without any idea of bondage. In calling himself, however, a “bondslave of Jesus Christ,” e.g., Rom 1:1, the Apostle Paul intimates (boldface in the original)
(1) that he had been formerly a “bondslave” of Satan, and
(2) that, having been bought by Christ, he was now a willing slave, bound to his new Master.
Keep these definitions in mind as you read verses 16 through 18. One commentary states the only free choice you have is who will be your master – sin or God. Whatever sin someone is involved in they become slaves to it and that is what the Apostle Paul wants us to understand. People involved in sin and continually choosing to be involved in sin will tell you they can quit anytime they want, but they don’t. Unless they are like the smokers I used to know (and I was one of them) who would say, “I can quit anytime I want. I have done it dozens of times.”
The result of making a choice to live a life of sin is clearly described in the verses near the end of the chapter
20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!
But making a choice to live serving God the consequences are incredibly different as these verses illustrate
19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness.
22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Choose life, eternal life, choose to serve God, choose the free gift of Grace offered through Christ Jesus on the cross as He paid the price for our sins. It is our individual choice. Choose wisely.
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)
* Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)