Wednesday: Sin or Obedience?

Read Romans 6:16. What point is Paul making? Why is his argument very black and white here? It is either one or the other, with no middle ground. What lesson should we draw from this very clear contrast?

Man Breaks Bondage

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Paul comes back to the point again that the new life of faith does not grant liberty to sin. The life of faith makes possible victory over sin; in fact, only through faith can we have the victory that is promised us.

Having personified sin as a king ruling over his subjects, Paul now returns to the figure of sin as a master demanding obedience of his servants. Paul points out that a person has a choice of masters. He can serve sin, which leads to death, or he can serve righteousness, which leads to eternal life. Paul doesn’t leave us any middle ground or room for compromise. It’s one or the other because in the end we face either eternal life or eternal death.

Read Romans 6:17. How does Paul expand here on what he said in Romans 6:16?

Notice how, interestingly enough, obedience is linked to correct doctrine. The Greek word for “doctrine” here means “teaching.” The Roman Christians had been taught the principles of the Christian faith, which they now obeyed. Thus, for Paul, correct doctrine, correct teaching, when obeyed “from the heart,” assisted in the Romans becoming “servants of righteousness” (Rom. 6:18). We sometimes hear that doctrine does not matter, just as long as we show love. That’s a very simplistic expression of something that’s not so simple. As stated in an earlier lesson, Paul was very concerned about the false doctrine to which the Galatian church had succumbed. Thus, we need to be careful about statements that somehow denigrate the importance of correct teaching.

Servants of sin, servants of righteousness: the contrast is very stark. If after baptism we sin, does this mean that we are not truly saved? Read 1 John 1:8-2:1. How does this passage help us to understand what it means to be a follower of Christ and yet still be subject to falling?

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons