Slaves to Righteousness
Discussion Guide for Romans 6:12-21
Standing For A King
Jennifer and I recently had the experience of attending a performance of Handel’s Messiah at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. There is a tradition in Messiah that the audience stands up for the Hallelujah Chorus. The popular origin of this tradition is that King George stood up for this chorus either out or reverence for the King of Kings or because his legs needed to stretch two hours into the concerto. Royal custom dictates that anytime the kings stands everyone else has to stand as well.
Upon reading about the history of the custom of standing, I told Jennifer that I was terribly conflicted about standing. I will gladly stand for the King of Kings, but my birthright as a citizen of the United States is that I will never again be required to stand for a King of England.
The Wrongs of Slavery
The idea of slavery is distasteful to every American. We revolted because we felt as if the king was treating the colonists as his involuntary servants. Furthermore, the history of slavery in America includes some of the worst abuses of mankind that have been recorded. Because we understand where we come from, freedom is ingrained in the national ethos of the United States.
One way that the American ethos can affect our struggle for holiness before God is by giving us a false sense of self-sufficiency to defeat sin on our own terms. How many times have you heard someone with an addiction tell you “I will give up ______ when I decide I am ready to give it up.”
Slaves to Christ
In order to take a Biblical view of our identity in Christ, we need to first step outside of our preconceived biases as twenty-first century Americans.
John MacArthur has done some very good scholarship on what the Bible means when it refers to followers of Jesus as slaves to righteousness. I have included a video from MacArthur that will give you an in-depth word study of the Greek word doulos.
Romans 6 begins to speak about the ways that Christians can conquer sin. The path to victory comes by surrendering to God to be master over us.
Romans teaches that Jesus Christ is a good master and that our relationship with him is based on grace. We have standing with God because he has gifted us with blessing upon blessing upon blessing. It would be the height of foolishness to receive the good gifts of God, only to turn around and reject the benefits of those gifts in our everyday lives.
We all serve someone. None of us are free agents. The only question is whether we are serving a good master or an evil master. Positionally, we are set free from the slavery of sin. We have no compelling reason that we HAVE to remain under its control.
Questions for Discussion
- Are there warning signs that you are obeying the passions of your mortal body? (v. 12)
- Describe the difference between presenting yourself to sin and presenting yourself to God. (v. 13)
- What does it mean for something to hold dominion over your life?
- Why does sin continue to hold dominion over the lives of Christians?
- What is the difference between the fruit of slavery to sin vs. being slaves to righteousness (vv. 21-22)
- How does your life now give you a glimpse of eternal life? (vv. 22-23)
Related Message: Be a Slave of Christ
Prayer for Missions
We have a few folks from Venture who will be joining a mission team in East Africa from March 21-30. In praying for that team, remember the refugees, who are primarily women from Muslim backgrounds. They will be receiving training in how to teach the Gospel and plant churches among other refugees.