Slavery and Salvation

The following are sermon notes from Romans Soli Deo Gloria. This is a study of the book of Romans. To read more about this series, including the introduction, download the study guide, resources and listen to audio content click here.

Slavery always leaves a bad taste in our mouth. No matter how we think of it, slaver is a negative term. Though more accepted in the culture as a norm when the book of Romans was written, to be a slave was still not a good thing. Slaves were third-class citizens that could not vote, could not be trusted and were mere possessions rather than humans. Unfortunately, in our day, slavery is still alive and well all over the world, and yes, even in America.

Imagine this, a new religion begins in a major metropolitan area with extreme cultural and religious influence. Now image this new religion telling you that to truly be considered an adherent to their religion you are a slave. How many people would you estimate would sign up? Not many I’d imagine! There aren’t too many people on the planet that want to become a slave.

The counter-cultural message of becoming a slave would be too much for any culture to accept, it’s just too crazy. Frankly, this is why you will rarely, if ever, see a cult begin on this premise. All false religion and cults are built upon the lie that if you become an adherent you will gain everything.

Now let’s compare this to what Paul says in the book of Romans.

Saintly Slaves

To be a Christian is to be a slave. I know, sign me up right? You’d be right, except when you consider this: you are already a slave. The question is not, “Would you like to be a slave?”, rather, it is, “Who or what are you a slave to?”. The gospel is not, “become a slave!”, the gospel is, “trade your master!” (Romans 6:16).

If you’re not a slave to Christ then you are  slave to something or someone else. Maybe you’re a slave to what others think if you, so you must dress, speak and act in a certain way in order to gain the approval of your master. Perhaps your a slave to your career so you smudge on ethics, ruin someone else so you can be promoted or even ruin your relationship with your spouse to get ahead. Could it be that your a slave to something as pathetic as money, so you hoard it, recklessly try to acquire it (e.g. gambling, stealing, etc.), or stupidly think you can purchase affection from others with ‘things’? I could go on. The truth is, you are a slave to something. You know what is the most sad thing about this truth, your master has you convinced that you are free, but you are not, furthermore, your master will destroy you someday and you’ll be surprised.

Here is the question you should ask of your master: What can you free me from and what does this freedom lead to?

All masters will pretend to be saviors like Jesus. However, the salvation they promise is an illusion.

Servitude by Marked Behavior

In Romans 6:19 Paul tells us that it can easily be determined who our master is by simply looking at what we do. Disclaimer: we do NOT teach that you can be saved by what you do, but if you are saved, we will be able to tell by what you do.

There is a popular clip going around online of a young man preaching the gospel through rhyme. While this production is very well done and I’m sure this person has great intentions in mind and most of what he says is very good, he got one thing very wrong. He says, “Religion says do, Jesus says done.” This is not true. Jesus says, “done” AND “do” (If you love me, you will keep my commandments – John 14:15).

You see if Jesus simply says done then you will begin to gravitate to taking advantage of the grace God has given you. Paul puts it this way:

“What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!” (Romans 6:15).

While we are not saved by what we do, we are saved to a life of good works! This obedience is done in loving worship of the God who saved us from Satan, sin, death and the wrath of God.

Paul speaks specifically about your body in relation to the master you serve by saying, “For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification” (Romans 6:19).

Who is your master? What master does your behavior point to? Who or what are you a slave to?

Jesus can rescue you from all other masters and what He can provide is far superior!

Revealed by the End

Jesus as master will lead to eternal life with Him in perfection.

Anything else as master will lead to death.

Which master will you serve?

For more information about this series click here.

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