{Are You a Slave to Sin or a Slave of Righteousness?}

Do you ever question how you are living your life? Are you a slave to God or a slave to sin?Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness.

Paul begins Romans 6:16 with these words, “Do you not know?” He asks this question looking back at verse 15 addressing  those who might say, “hey we are not under the law but under grace, let’s continue in sin. Why not, grace will cover it, RIGHT?”  To help us understand and explain this un-truth Paul is going to use the word “slave” something that the believers in his day would have understood. Today, In order for us to understand what he is teaching we must read and study the Biblical texts and study the word that he used. So, let’s look at the word  Paul used in this text in order that we may have a good understanding of what he is teaching and also why he chose the word slave.

Slaves (1401) (doulos [word study] from deo = to bind) describes one who is in bondage or bound to another, in the state of being completely controlled by someone or something and a slave in the sense of being the property of the owner. The will of the individual is submitted to the will of the master.


If we understand the meaning of this word then we will understand Paul to be teaching in this verse:

  • You are a slave to sin If you are obeying sin. The result or the outcome is death.
  • You are a slave to obedience  If you are obeying Christ. The outcome or the result is righteousness.

Though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.  {Romans 6:17-18}

under Law

After looking at these two verses, we can come to the conclusion that verse 16 puts man either under Law or under grace. Romans 6:20 says that if you are a slave to sin you are free from righteousness. There is no in between. You cannot serve two masters. According to Romans 6:19 the mark of a sinner is one who presents himself to impurity and lawlessness. His pattern of life is continual obedience to sin which according to this same verse results in further lawlessness. There is a spiraling down. Romans chapter 1:18-32 is a perfect picture of  the sinner moving from lawlessness to further lawlessness.

Romans 6:21 says that the only benefit{fruit} that the unbeliever is receiving is spiritual death. Romans 6:23 teaches that, “The wages of sin is death.”

Under Grace

Looking further into these two verses we see Paul  pointing out that God made the believers hearts obedient to the gospel.  When we received mercy and were washed by regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit{ Titus 3:5} we were freed from sin and became slaves of righteousness.{Romans 6:18}

Paul tells the believer to present themselves as slaves to righteousness which results in sanctification. This is the opposite of the unbeliever.  The unbeliever is in a downward spiral but the believer is in an upward climb. We are being made more and more into the image of Christ.

The fruit of the believers obedience is eternal life. Romans 6:23 teaches that, “The free gift of God is eternal life.”

So now Present Yourself to God

God has freed the believer from the power of sin. It is no longer our master. We are no longer slaves to sin. We have been supplied with the power of the Holy Spirit to no longer submit to its commands. The life that we now  live, we are to live to God. We are to be obedient to His commands Instead of wanting to continue in sin the true believer will be ashamed of his former way of life. He will mourn over his sin and long to be delivered from it.

Are you ashamed of your former way of life? Are you walking in a manner worthy of your calling? Ephesians 4:1



 This post goes with Lesson 19 of my FREE Romans Bible study. It does not go into the details of the Lesson. It is intended to be a guide and an encouragement as you study  the word on your own. Please print your lessons today.

All men are in need of a Savior. The book of Romans teaches this truth along with the truth that God in Christ has sent His grace. Please follow Conforming To The Truth as we do an inductive Bible study in Romans. These lessons are free to you.

Click this link for your FREE Bible study in Romans: Romans Bible Study book 1

You can find me linked up with these lovely groups: Word Filled Wednesday| Worshipful Living







7 thoughts on “{Are You a Slave to Sin or a Slave of Righteousness?}

  1. carriewisehart says:

    My small group just talked about the verse in Ephesians that asks us to “live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” Oh, how I want to be more like Jesus! 🙂 Thank you so much for this post and for sharing your heart!


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