Part 7 – Chainless Slaves of Christ
As Paul now moves into the second half of his monumental sixth chapter of Romans he begins verse fifteen in a similar fashion as verse one of chapter six – he asks a rhetorical question regarding grace and law that he knows his audience may be thinking of. “If we are under grace and not law, is the law unnecessary?”
Paul proceeds to answer his own question by reminding his readers – Christians – of a unique identifying mark that now distinguishes them as redeemed children of God, and that mark is one of spiritual slavery to Christ. That may initially sound hard, but it is a beautiful truth.
Apart from Christ we are slaves to the devil, the sinful nature, and the world, but when we come to faith in Christ we die to the old life and are born anew – we now have Christ’s life. But life with and in Christ means that we are now slaves – chainless slaves – of Jesus Christ. He has bought us with a price – His own invaluable blood. That is what redemption means – the Lord redeemed us, bought us, and we now belong to Him, we are the property of Jesus.
So, Paul’s point in these three verses in Romans 6 (verses 15-18) is to remind us that even though we are now slaves of Christ – His loving property – when we obey our powerless flesh (the way we think, feel and choose) we are allowing ourselves to be slaves to that which we are being obedient to -–in this case the flesh. The Spirit of Christ rules within us, but when we get lazy or tired and we listen (and give in to) the flesh, we temporarily become its slave. This doesn’t lead to eternal damnation or spiritual death, but it does cause our witness and effectiveness as a believer to be lessened. This is why we are to trust Christ completely – depend on Him in all things – and obey the law in and through Christ – and this act of obedience to righteousness will lead to our continued maturity in Christlikeness.