WONDERFUL WORDS OF LIFE RADIO SERMON
UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP
ROMANS 6:15 20
The world is actually one vast slave camp. Every citizen of earth is a spiritual slave. He is the slave of one of
two masters. He is either the exclusive property of sin, or he is the exclusive property of God. The question is
to which of these masters do you belong? The test as to ownership, if you are in doubt, is obedience. You
belong to the master to which you render obedience. This is the theme of the Apostle in our passage.
This discussion of slavery was provoked by another question from the critic. The critic wanted to know: "Shall
we sin, because we are not under law but under grace?" The first reaction to the removal of law seems to be
that this will encourage sin. If people can be saved without keeping the law, will this not encourage them to
keep on committing acts of sin? Since this charge is still raised by the critic of free grace, we need to hear the
response of the Apostle. He abhors such an idea. "God forbid!" Such a thought is absolutely inconsistent with
the nature of grace and the position of the Christian. Being saved by grace means that the allegiance of a
man has been released from sin and placed on Jesus Christ alone. The Christian is a man who knows his
Master to be Jesus Christ, and who knows himself to be the slave of Jesus Christ, Whose slave are you? How
you answer that question can help you know whether or not you are a true Christian.
CHRISTIANS WERE THE SLAVES OF SIN
Every justified man has a history of sin. He was once the slave of sin. The Apostle reminds us of a great
universal principle to confirm the truth of this. "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to
obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey?'' We need to understand this word "servants". The English word
servant in our day suggests a kind of voluntary service being rendered. Such a person takes on the position
of servant for a few hours per day, then goes his way free to do whatever he pleases. At the end of the week,
he will expect to get wages for his service rendered. The word used by the Apostle is a much stronger word. It
means a bond slave. Such a person was the exclusive property of the master. He had no rights, no will, no
property, and no expectations. He was the slave of to the least whim of his master. The universal ethical
principle is that you are the slave of whatever master you choose to obey. You come to belong to that master.
Before we became Christians, all of us were rendering obedience to sin.
"But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin." This does not mean that the Apostle is thankful for
this servitude to sin, but rather that we have been released from this slavery. This is what becoming a
Christian involves. It involved a radical change in masters.
Do you want to question such a statement about yourself? Would you argue that you have never been the
slave of sin? Such a protest on your part would only reflect your shallow understanding of sin. One dear man,
a friend of mine, calls me every once in a while. He is a man who has struggled in his life. Only in recent years
has he become earnest about knowing God. But one of the things he will usually say to me is, "Brother
Lowrie, I have not been a bad sinner. All I ever did was chase women a few times and take the name of the
Lord in vain." He defines sin in rather narrow terms. He understands sin to be things like robbing a bank,
committing murder, rape, and kidnapping. Is this your understanding? Sin does not always express itself
violently. Many times it will come across in a mild mannered way.
Do you know the chief evidence that man is the slave of sin? It is the place that he gives to God and to Jesus
Christ in his life. Is his life one of devotion to the Lord God? Does he daily seek to do the will of God? Is there
true reverence for the Lord God in his heart? Does he trust and worship Jesus Christ alone? Obviously the
answer is no. Then he is the slave of sin. No matter how honest and moral he may be. No matter how mild
and thoughtful he may be. No matter how nice to his family he may be. He is the bond slave of sin.
However that is not the situation with most of us. The truth is that we were ever handing over the members of
our bodies to be used by sin in carrying out its evil purposes against God. We were the exclusive property of
CHRISTIANS ARE THE SLAVES OF GOD
Christians are people who have undergone a change of ownership. In the window of his life, God hangs out
the sign, "under new ownership; and management." "Being made free from sin, ye became the servants of
righteousness." This freedom from the mastery of sin came at the moment of conversion. When a person
places his faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, God justifies him. Involved in this is God setting him free
from sin. However, this freedom is that he might become the slave of Jesus Christ. "Ye became the servants
of righteousness." Actually a more exact rendering would be, "Ye were enslaved
to righteousness." This made you the exclusive property of righteousness. This righteous¬ness is the
practical kind of righteousness, the doing of the right things toward God and your fellowman.
The change of ownership is the cause of thanksgiving to God. "But God be thanked, that ye were the
servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered unto you." "The
form of doctrine" unto which they were delivered was the Gospel. They responded to the Gospel from the
heart. This means that it was a voli¬tional and emotional decision to obey the Gospel. The Gospel is obeyed
by placing one's faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. This brought about the divine activity where¬by the
bonds of sin were broken and the bonds of righteousness were established.
What should be the response of the Christian to this new ownership? “For as ye have yielded your members
servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity even so now yield your members servants to
righteousness unto holiness." The key words are "as" and "even so". How did you respond to sin when it was
your owner and master? Your response was one of habitually presenting your members to be used by sin in
uncleanness and ini¬quity. This should provide us with the pattern for our response to God and
righteousness. "Even so", thus, in like manner, once for all present yourselves, the members of your body to
be the slaves of righteousness unto the end of sanctification. You should will¬fully and conclusively present
each member of your body to be the slave of righteousness. The end of such presentation will be
Now let us put this truth in its proper context. The question is does being under grace encourage a person to
commit sin? The answer is no. The reason is that being under grace means that one has been bound to the
Lord Jesus Christ as a love slave. While in the past we were bound to sin as a slave, we were owned by sin,
now we are bound to the Lord Jesus. The proper response of the Christian to this situation then is not one of
committing sin, but rather one of doing righteousness.
Let me summarize the important truths that are found in this passage. First, every, person is the slave of
either sin or righteousness. You are either the slave of God or the slave of the devil. There is no neutrality on
this. You cannot belong to any other master, nor can you belong to both.
Second, the sign of ownership is obedience. You belong to whichever one you obey. It is what you do and not
what you say. You may claim to be the slave of God, but if you do sin, your deeds give the lie to your words.
Does drawing it into such a black and white situation cause you to be uncomfortable? You need to be aware
that this is exactly the way the New Testament presents it.
Third, you can be delivered from the slavery of sin into the slavery of righteous¬ness by obeying the Gospel.
Obedience or faith in the Gospel is the only way a person can ever escape the slavery of of sin. No amount of
determination or good intentions will ever release a man from the servitude of sin. Only the power of God
released in a life when the Gospel is believed can ever perform this tremendous change.
Fourth, since we have been made the slaves of God, we should render to him the same measure of
obedience that we formerly gave to sin. Will this not solve the problem for most of us? If we will just seek to be
as good at righteousness as we were at sin, we will become holy in our walk! Do you remember how ready
you used to be to spend long hours at sin. Why should you not devote just as much time to righteousness?
Did you for¬merly spend long hours reading dirty books, yet now since you have become the slave of Jesus
you cannot spend long hours studying His Word? Did you once curse boldly, yet now you are timid about
speaking the name of Christ? We should give Him the members of our bodies in the same measure that we
once gave them to sin.
Fifth, sanctification, or the holy life is the result of such obedience to right-eousness. Do not expect some
spiritual experience that will suddenly bring you into holiness. Holiness is the result of careful righteous
conduct daily in service to Jesus Christ.