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When Is It Good to Be a Slave?

Biblical Authority Devotional: Christian Living, Part 10

by Steve Ham on December 7, 2010

Steve Ham, AiG–U.S., explains the concepts of slaves to sin and slaves to righteousness from Romans.

Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? (Romans 6:16)

Today’s big question: when is it good to be a slave?

The Bible tells us that we are all slaves spiritually, but not all of us have the same master. We are either in bondage to sin or to Christ—it is impossible to serve two masters (Luke 16:13). Romans 6 focuses on being dead to our old life of bondage to sin and free to an eternal life under the lordship of Jesus Christ. While slavery to sin condemns us to eternal punishment, slavery to Christ frees us to an eternity of glorious worship. 

In Romans 6:14 we read, “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” We are no longer under the oppression of the law of sin and death. No more are we condemned for every sin of commission or omission because of the law. Jesus, the only sinless man, fulfilled the law and took all the terrible consequences of our sin on Himself.

We cannot save ourselves. We have inherited our sinful nature from our very first parents, Adam and Eve, and despite how good we think we are, the law has condemned us. But because of God’s amazing grace and Christ’s sacrifice, we have a new Master—completely unlike the old master of sin. Jesus, our new Master, told us, “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). The Christian now lives by grace, free from the condemnation of the law.

If our new Master gives us such great freedom and rest, why is sin still a problem for us?  The Apostle Paul asked a rhetorical question about this in verse 15: “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!”  If God has shown us such mercy by freeing us from bondage to the law and sin, how can we possibly abuse His goodness?

No one receives salvation disingenuously. Since we are saved by grace through faith in Christ, we will desire to follow and obey Him. Being in Christ brings great responsibility because we serve the One who has fully paid the eternal punishment of our sin. True salvation is followed by a life of gratitude and praise. To seek after the sin of this world is to deny Christ. 

Being “good” can never save anyone because the law shows we are not good and worthy of condemnation. But salvation is not based on our own goodness. We receive righteousness from the only One who was entirely good. Which master do you want? There is only one who is good.

Today’s big idea: slavery is only good if your master is good.

What to pray: Love Christ and repent of sin.


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