Life Out of Death

Bible Book: Romans  6 : 15-23
Subject: Life in Christ; Grace, Free; Christian Salvation

Romans 6:15-23

“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 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? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Sin is the most devastating, debilitating, degenerating power that ever entered the human stream.  Although sin promises satisfaction; it instead brings misery, frustration, and hopelessness.

Sin is rebellion against God.  Someone has called sin God’s would-be murderer, because if sin had its way it would destroy God Himself along with His righteousness.

However, the greatest gift God could ever give to mankind is freedom from sin, and it is that very gift that He offers through His Son, Jesus Christ.

The overarching theme of Romans 6 is SANCTIFICATION (God making us Holy; setting us aside for His own).  Paul reminds them of their past enslavement to sin and then reminds them of their new enslavement to righteousness through their trust in Jesus Christ.  His main point is that believers in Christ should live in total subjection to Christ and His righteousness and not fall back into their former sins, which no longer have claim over them.  Because they have died in Christ to sin and risen with Him to righteousness, they are no longer under the lordship of sin, but are now under the lordship of righteousness.  Because the Christian has a new relationship to God, he also has a new relationship to sin.

Because of this truth, we are able to not live sinfully and also able to live righteously.


“What then?  Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?”

Paul anticipates a false conclusion from his opponents.  Note, he repeats the statement of v14.

If the law no longer needs to be obeyed, and if God’s grace covers all sins, they would argue, then believers are perfectly free to do as they please.

To not be under the law, to them, was being free of all moral restraint.  They also believed obedience to God’s law was the only way of salvation.  To them, Paul exalted righteousness out of one side of his mouth, while in reality giving license to sin out of the other side.  To them, Paul was condoning lawlessness in the name of God’s grace.


The teaching of salvation by God’s grace, working only through man’s faith and apart from works, is the furthest thing from a license to sin.


“Certainly not!” –   may it never be so!

The very purpose of God’s grace is to free us from sin.  How then could grace possibly justify continuing in sin?

Grace not only justifies but also transforms the life that is saved.  A life that gives no evidence of moral or spiritual transformation gives no evidence of salvation.


A general truth that is so self-evident it needs no proof.

“Do you not know?” – rhetorical; you have to acknowledge as true if you give it the least thought.

“Present” – indicates a willing choice of obedience to a master and makes his point even more obvious.

NOTE:  Your master is not the one you name, but the one you OBEY.

Paul applies this statement to the lifestyle of believers, the matter of sanctified living about what he’s been teaching (1-14).

A Believer Has 2 Choices:

1. Either to sin, which is to disobey God.
2. Obedience- a person’s general pattern of living proves who his true master is.


Which characterizes my life?

SIN – Sin’s Slave

OBEDIENCE – God’s Slave


Sin’s Result – Both physical and spiritual death

God’s Result – Righteousness


1. Is my life mastered by sin?
2. Is my life under the lordship of Jesus Christ?

Matthew Henry, “If we would know to which of these two families we belong, we must inquire to which of these two masters we yield our obedience.”

No human being is his own master.  That a person can master his own life and destiny is a delusion.

False teachers in the 1st century proclaimed this falsehood in their teaching.

2 Peter 2:18-19: “For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error.  While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.”

The life of righteousness, on the other hand, is a work of GRACE. 

Colossians 1:21-22: “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight”

The old sinful way of life cannot continue to characterize a true Christian.  Obedience to God in righteous living is a certainty in the life of a truly saved person.  Because of temporary unfaithfulness, sinful disobedience may at times appear to dominate a Christian life.  But a true believer cannot continue indefinitely in disobedience, because it is diametrically opposed to his new and holy nature, which cannot indefinitely endure sinful living.


These passages give greater insight to v16.



Notice who gets the “thanks” (gratitude); not our works or wisdom, but Almighty God.

“though you were slaves to sin” – habitual disobedience to Him is in the past tense.

“were” – an ongoing reality; continued unbroken slavery to sin.

Romans 3:10-12

“As it is written:

There is none righteous, no, not one;

There is none who understands;

There is none who seeks after God.

They have all turned aside;

They have together become unprofitable;

There is none who does good, no, not one."

“You became obedient from the heart” – salvation is a person’s innermost being.  God always changes the heart.  Righteous living issues from an obedient heart.

Obedience to Jesus Christ and obedience to His truth are totally synonymous.

Obedience neither produces nor maintains salvation, but it is an inevitable characterization of those who are saved.

“to that form of teaching” – believer is delivered into God’s Word, His divine teaching.

The Christian who faithfully obeys God’s Word becomes conformed to the truth of the Word, a living model of the gospel.

And after salvation a person will have the innate, Spirit-led desire to know and to obey God’s truth.

1 Peter 2:2: “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,”


He wishes for everyone to COMPREHEND!

“Flesh” – used synonymously for humanness or mortality.  It is the human faculty influenced by sin and as long as believers remain in their mortal bodies, sin still has a beachhead, a place to launch its attacks.

This is why Paul teaches Romans 12:1.

Romans 12:1: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”

Although the inner person of a believer has been redeemed (transformed) into the likeness of Christ, the outer person represented by the flesh is still subject to the defilement of sin.

“members of your body” or “members” – flesh.

This passage is a challenge to make their living correspond to their new nature.  It is still possible to sin, they no longer are bound by sin.  They are free not to sin and they should exercise that divinely-provided ability in obedience to their new Lord and Master.

Note their PAST: 

“you presented your members (flesh) as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness..”  like a cancer cell that reproduces itself until the whole is destroyed.


“so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness” – it’s possible to resist sin and to live righteously.  The life of sin leads to further sin, so the life of righteousness, whose ultimate end is “holiness” (SANCTIFICATION).

Martin Lloyd Jones said,  “As you go on living this righteous life, and practicing it with all your might and energy, and all your will find that the process that went on before, in which you went on from had to worsen and become viler and viler, is entirely reversed.  You will become cleaner and cleaner, and purer and purer and holier and holier, and more and more conformed into the image of the Son of God.”

Note their PURPOSE:

God delivers men and women from enslavement to sin for the sole purpose of their becoming enslaved to Him and to His righteousness.

C. Change In View  20-22

V20 “free in regards to righteousness” – no connection to righteousness; no demands on you; no reformation of sinners.

V21 “FRUIT” – “BENEFITS”  of the life before Christ –

“ASHAMED” and “DEATH” – spiritual and eternal.

V22 “having been set free” – “FRUIT” (BENEFIT)




Spiritual death is earned; just and rightful compensation for a life that is characterized by sin which is every life apart from Christ.

A gift not earned, deserved but by grace given.  Jesus Christ is the life and way to eternal life.

Acts 4:12

“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”