A Slave of Righteousness

All sin has some attraction or people wouldn’t be tempted to sin.  Eve is a great example.  She saw the desirability of eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil after the serpent pointed out the benefits. Genesis 3:4-6 “Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.” Eve was tempted by what she saw as the benefits of eating of the forbidden fruit. Moses had a different attitude towards sin.  We read in Hebrews 11:24-25 “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.”  Moses chose not to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.  I think that it is important to note that it is called “the passing pleasures of sin.”  Sin is pleasurable or desirable in some way or people wouldn’t sin.  It seems easy to ignore the facts that the pleasures of sin are just temporary and that the consequences are bad.  James described the sin process in James 1:14-15 “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.  Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” We have inappropriate desires and we become enticed. When we give in to those desires, we sin, and when sin is finished, it brings forth death.

Because of the desirability of sin, there is also an addictive nature of sin.  We can easily see the addictive nature of drunkenness where a person can’t stop drinking.  Or we can see the addiction of a compulsive gambler who cannot stop gambling.  I believe that all sin has the potential to be addictive.  Sin may be such a habit for a person that he can’t stop doing what he has always done. Or a person may sin and afterwards see the consequences of the sin and tell himself that he won’t do it again.  But later he may think about the desirability of the sin, he may be enticed, and he may sin again.  This applies to sins such as sexual immorality, lying, stealing, greediness, hatred, evil talk, gossiping, covetousness and on and on the list goes.  A sinner commits a sin over and over again and thus he is addicted to sin. 

In drug addiction, a person may start off with one drug and then move on to other drugs.  In the same way, one sin often leads to another sin.  For example, covetousness may lead to sexual immorality which may lead to lying.  A man may covet his neighbor’s wife; he looks at her lustfully and commits adultery; then when he is asked about what he has done, he lies about it to try to cover up his sin.  For many people, there seems to be an ever increasing addiction to sin as time goes by.  The apostle Paul in Romans 6:19 used the expression “lawlessness leading to more lawlessness”.

The Bible describes this addictive nature of sin as slavery to sin.  Romans 6:16-19 “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?  But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.  And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.  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.” Before, we were slaves of sin but now we are encouraged to present our members as slaves of righteousness.

We are either addicted to sin and a slave to sin, or we are addicted to righteousness and a slave to righteousness.  Which is it going to be for you?  Many want to do righteous actions but they don’t want to give up their sin.  Somehow, they think that they can have both.  But Jesus stated in Matthew 6:24 “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.”  You cannot serve two masters.  One or the other will be your master.  You cannot be a slave to sin and also a slave to righteousness.  If you want to be a slave of righteousness, you have to give up your slavery to sin.  When you obeyed the gospel, you were set free from sin.  Don’t go back to slavery to sin.

There are consequences for whichever path you choose.  Romans 6:20-23 “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.  What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.  But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  The consequence of slavery to sin is death but the gift of God for being a slave to Him is eternal life.

My encouragement to you is what the apostle wrote in Romans 6:12-14 “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.  And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.  For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”  Because of the wonderful grace of God, I encourage you to present yourself to God and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

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