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THE EPISTLE OF ROMANS - Part 10 of 15 – Romans 6:15-23

Updated on December 27, 2014

Click here for the hub containing a link to the audio teachings for this series.

Romans 6:14-15 “14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under law, but under grace? God forbid.” (ASV)


Verse 15

Here is the second of the four questions asked and answered in chapters 6-7. Each question builds upon the previous one and into the next one. The first question is, Shall we continue in *sin, that grace may abound? Shall we continue living in separation from God as was passed to us through Adam’s disobedience (Romans 5:12-21)? Shall we continue in the deception of living in self-centeredness? No! We’ve been delivered from that problem with all of its resulting consequences. We’ve been freed from sin’s claims (Romans 6:7b, HCSB) by our Lord Jesus Christ. Then we are given the second question in verse 15, Shall we sin, because we are not under law, but under grace? The Law of Moses was given to be Israel’s master. So shall we revert to the old master of sin as was before the Law of Moses was given? (This verse doesn’t say “The Law,” as in the Law of Moses, but law in general.) Verse 14 has just told us that being under law gives sin dominion over us. Again, sin was the problem from which Jesus Christ delivered us. The issue, now that we know that we are not under law, Which master are we going to serve, sin or grace? An analogy of these two masters 1. sin, and 2. grace, follows this second question to explain the answer.

  1. we are not under law God is not telling us that we HAVE TO do anything as the Law of Moses did.
  2. we are … under *grace Grace isn’t what we have to do, but instead what’s already DONE for us. Grace is our master. We are subjects of its government. As the Law of Moses was given to govern the nation of Israel, so the grace that is in Christ Jesus is given to govern us (John. 1:17). God had this in his foreknowledge. This is why Romans 3:25 and 5:20 were written, to tell us that God passed over the sins of old looking forward to THE PROPITIATION which would cover all sins of all time. Therefore, where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.


Romans 6:16-18 “16 Know ye not, that to whom ye present yourselves [as] servants unto obedience, his servants ye are whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that, whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching (doctrine) whereunto ye were delivered; 18 and being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness.” (ASV)


Verse 16

  • Know ye not We are supposed to know this.
  • present yourselves “surrender yourselves” WEY. “Choose to obey as a master” NOYES. “Habitually offer yourselves” WILLIAMS. Here we find a default setting. We will serve whichever master we are in the habit of serving. The doctrine of the grace of Christ is given to redevelop our habits of servitude as we appoint ourselves under grace.
  • servants The word used here is regarding one who chooses to be devoted to another’s will to the disregard of their own interests. Used 8x in this section which is a very significant point. See Romans 1:9 where Paul said he served God in the gospel of his Son.
  • Obedience/ obey used 4x in two verses which is significant.
  • sin unto death “unto” means leading to, or producing.

Verse 17

  • that form of teaching (doctrine) whereunto ye were delivered Doctrine sets a standard. We were given over into the custody of another master: that form of teaching (doctrine), the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Verse 18

  • being made free from sin What makes us free from sin? John 8:31-32. Who is “the truth?” John 14:6. We’ve been given a new master.


Romans 6:19-20 “19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye presented your members [as] servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity, even so now present your members [as] servants to righteousness unto sanctification. 20 For when ye were servants of sin, ye were free in regard of righteousness.” (ASV)


  • I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh The RSV gives this as, I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations.
  • for as ye presented your members [as] servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity This phrase tells us that our servitude was to that which was not of God and that it was getting worse and worse. It’s like a snowball rolling downhill. It gains in mass and speed. In the same manner…
  • now present your members [as] servants to righteousness unto sanctification Servants to righteousness in this context is to serve as being obedient to the grace from verses 15 and 16. This service will be unto sanctification in the same snowball effect. Sanctification is holiness. It is to be set apart for the service and worship of God. One might say, We already are sanctified according to 1 Corinthians 1:30. This is true. Now, as we accept that our master is this grace which has come through Christ and we will find our lives more and more set apart in service and worship of God. Service and worship of God doesn’t have to happen in a church building. We serve and worship God by submitting to the doctrine of the grace, what is true as a resultant of Christ’s redemptive work. This produces a further developed lifestyle of this grace. This is the walk of holiness.
  • For when ye were servants of sin, ye were free in regard of righteousness. When we were servants of sin we had no part in living for God.


Romans 6:21-23 “21 What fruit then had ye at that time in the things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22 But now being made free from sin and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (ASV)


  • This section speaks of the fruit of serving each master. Fruit is that which is produced, what results. All fruit comes from seed. The kind of fruit is always determined by the kind of seed.
  • servants to God This is referring back to being under grace from verse 15.
  • ye have your fruit unto sanctification Your result is that you are made to be more and more in service and worship to God.
  • and the end eternal life The final most end is that eternal life will be produced in your life. Eternal life is that kind of life which is eternal. You might say, I already have eternal life. Yes, but are you seeing the effects, the results of it in your life? In other words, we are already joined to God, but are we seeing the effects of living as one who is?
  • What is the fruit of sin, living as dis-joined from God? What is the fruit of living in submission to the grace that is in Christ Jesus?
  • For the wages of sin is death Because what sin earns is death, no life with God.
  • but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord The gift of God’s grace is this kind of life that is age-enduring. And it is only available in Christ Jesus our Lord. An associated thought on this is in Romans 5:21, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

From our question in verse 15 here is the categorization from chapter six of these two masters - sin and grace.

  1. Under sin: servants … of sin unto death (16), servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity (19), ye were free in regard of righteousness (20), the things whereof ye are now ashamed, the end of those things is death (21), the wages of sin is death (23).
  2. Under grace: servants … of obedience unto righteousness (16), obedient … to that form of teaching (doctrine) (17), servants of righteousness (18), servants to righteousness unto sanctification (19), made free from sin and become servants to God (22), fruit unto sanctification and the end eternal life (22), the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (23)

Compare this section of Romans with chapter 1:16-17. How does the gospel become the power of God unto our deliverance and wholeness? By it becoming our master or governor.

The Bible often refers to God's people as sheep. One of the points made through this simile is that sheep need to be led. Through Adam’s disobedience sin became our master. We have been conditioned to sin’s authority over us from birth. Being baptized into Christ Jesus gave us a new master – the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Submitting to this new doctrine liberates us from sin and its legal claims against us. In God’s judicial courtroom we have been acquitted by the substitutionary death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now we live in submission to our acquittal and all of the resulting benefits. Not one of sin’s claims can be charged against us on account of our acquittal through our Lord Jesus Christ. In obedience to this form of doctrine we see a completely different kind of fruit in our lives than when sin was our master. We see more and more of God’s kind of love being produced in us toward God and others. We see an increase of joy, peace, patience, forgiveness, compassion, mercy, graciousness, tenacity for the truth of the gospel, humility and meekness toward God, a greater anticipation for the glory to come, etc.. All of this kind of fruit is in the realm of eternal life. It is the power of the gospel which causes our lives to be so fruitful and brings about our sanctification in manifestation. Therefore, we can’t take the credit. Where is boasting then is echoed from the grace message. As we learn to serve our new master, the grace that is through Christ Jesus, then all the credit goes to God through the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ

We are either going to serve sin or righteousness. Which one we serve determines the fruit which will be produced.

THE SECRET TO THE HOLY LIFE (According to Romans Chapter 6)

The secret to the holy life

Is to get our attention off of the desires of our flesh and of our mind

And onto our unification with Christ.

Our service to God is by submission to the gospel of grace to which we were committed. By this we genuinely serve God.

The secret to the holy life

Is not in our walk of worthiness before God

But because He made us worthy through the Lord Jesus Christ.

So our walk is not to be worthy, but because we already are!

The secret to the holy life

Is not in our accomplishments, or in the work that we do,

But in Christ’s accomplishments, and in the work that he did.

Now our walk, and the work we do, is out from his work which he has done. This is the walk of increasing holiness, and the realm of eternal life.

The secret to the holy life

Is to accept that we are dead unto sin and have been raised to new life

To live for God our Father through our Lord Jesus Christ.



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