Keeping in mind what we have studied so far in Romans 6, read Romans 6:19-23. Summarize on the lines below the gist of what Paul is saying. Most important, ask yourself how you can make real in your life the crucial truths that Paul is addressing. Ask yourself what issues are at stake here?
Paul’s words here show that he fully understands the fallen nature of humanity. He talks about the “infirmity of your flesh.” The Greek word for “infirmity” means also “weakness.” He knows what fallen human nature is capable of when left on its own. Thus, again, he appeals to the power of choice-the power we have to choose to surrender ourselves and our weak flesh to a new master, Jesus, who will enable us to live a righteous life.
Romans 6:23 often is quoted to show that the penalty for sin-that is, the transgression of the law-is death. Certainly sin’s penalty is death. But in addition to seeing death as sin’s penalty, we should see sin as Paul describes it in Romans 6-as a master dominating his servants, duping them by paying them off with the wages of death.
Notice, too, that in his development of the figure of the two masters, Paul calls attention to the fact that the service of one master means freedom from the service of the other. Again we see the clear choice: one or the other. There is no middle ground. At the same time, as we all know, being free from the dominion of sin doesn’t mean sinlessness, doesn’t mean we don’t struggle and at times even fall. It means instead that we are no longer dominated by sin, however much a reality it remains in our life and however much we must claim daily the promises of victory over it.
Thus, this passage becomes a powerful appeal to anyone who is serving sin. This tyrant offers nothing but death as payment for doing shameful things; therefore, a reasonable person should desire emancipation from this tyrant. In contrast, those who serve righteousness do things that are upright and praiseworthy, not with the idea of thus earning their salvation, but as a fruit of their new experience. If they are acting in an attempt to earn salvation, they are missing the whole point of the gospel, the whole point of what salvation is, and the whole point of why they need Jesus.
Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons