Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?
The believer who continues under the rule and authority of the sin nature after his positional deliverance at salvation is under that category beyond carnality called reversionism. Reversionism (temporal death) is a synonym for apostasy and is defined as the place of total failure for the believer. Reversionism is rejection of Bible doctrine. Reversionism means to be controlled by the sin nature with its trends toward sin, toward human good and toward evil. To be dominated by the sin nature after salvation means failure to attain maturity adjustment to the justice of God. It also means the failure to receive the blessings of spiritual advancement (increased capacity) by which we glorify God and by which the justice of God demonstrates in the life of a believer the importance of executing God’s plan in the Angelic Conflict.
To be dominated by the sin nature after salvation means that the justice of God must discipline and correct rather than bless. The justice of God is the source of both cursing and blessing. Condemnation of your sin from the justice of God does not remove the security of salvation. Nor does it cancel the righteousness of Christ and the eternal life of Christ from the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Condemnation from the justice of God to the reversionistic believer doesimply divine discipline in three categories: warning, intensive and dying. The believer who does not exercise his options for placing himself under orders to God is the believer who fails to adjust to the justice of God after salvation.
But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed.
In this context the emphasis is on the fact that after salvation God has delivered us over to a system of doctrine as the only means of spiritual advance to maturity and the only way to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. The fact that God has delivered us over to a system of doctrine emphasizes the principle that we should daily exercise our options for the perception of doctrine. Since learning and applying doctrine is the greatest thing we do in this life, we should demonstrate positive volition toward God’s plan by the daily study and application of Bible doctrine.
The exercise of our free will to learn and apply doctrine is the essence of the Christian Way of Life. Commitment to Christ means receiving Bible doctrine as taught by one’s right pastor-teacher. Note that this verse emphasizes our former status as unbelievers in terms of the sin nature rather than personal sin. Note also that obedience comes from doctrine resident in the soul rather than emotional stimulation by persuasive personality. The system of doctrine must be resident in the soul for obedience to Christ. This system of doctrine is the means by which we fulfil the command of verse 13 to put ourselves under the command of God and to place our members under His command. The system of doctrine was delivered to the believer. This delivery of doctrine is the only means of spiritual growth, the only means of glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ and the only grace system for living the Christian life. Nothing in Christianity can ever be divorced from Bible doctrine. Rejection of doctrine and ignorance of doctrine are the most serious offences against our Lord Jesus Christ.
And having been freed from sin, you became slaves to righteousness.
This rulership of the sin nature over human life begins at physical birth through two real imputations: 1) the imputation of human life to the divinely prepared home, the soul; 2) the imputation of Adam’s original sin to the genetically prepared home, the sin nature. The rulership of the sin nature over human life terminates positionally at salvation through the baptism of the Holy Spirit and subsequent retroactive positional truth. The rulership of the sin nature over human life terminates experientially at maturity adjustment to the justice of God through a system of applied doctrine resident in the soul. This system of doctrine in the soul reprograms the computer called the brain where the sin nature resides. The computer formerly saturated with human good and evil becomes saturated with the policy of God. In other words, as we mature spiritually we have a reprogramming of the brain with divine viewpoint for the function of grace.
Remember the principle that God’s justice can bless only perfect righteousness. Every blessing we have comes because we have God’s righteousness, not because of our own righteousness. We are never blessed because of what we do. You have received righteousness at salvation but only a system of doctrine will exploit the fact that you possess a “grace pipeline” directly from the justice of God to divine righteousness in you. The only way that you can exploit what you received at salvation is through perception and application of accurate Bible doctrine. There is no other way.
I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of the flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness resulting in sanctification.
The first sentence is the explanation as to why slavery is used as an illustration. It is the perfect illustration of security. “I speak in human terms” is an idiom meaning, “I use a human illustration.” Slavery is not being taught in this passage, slavery is being used as an illustration. Slavery was practiced in the time of the Roman Empire and the Bible must be interpreted in the time in which it was written. Note that while slavery was both a social problem and a political institution in the Roman Empire, Paul did not condemn it, he was simply pointing out the fact that it made a perfect illustration. The solution to slavery was not through political reform and therefore Paul did not beat the drums for the abolition of slavery.
The believer’s weakness of the flesh is the sin nature and while the power of the sin nature, as the ruler of human life, has been broken through the baptism of the Spirit and resultant retroactive positional truth, experientially the sin nature continues to be the weakness of the believer in time. Therefore, there are three categories of weakness in the believer: our trend toward sin, our trend toward human good and our trend toward evil.
Now means right now as believers, as those who are born again, as those who are ambassadors for Christ. On the giving end of grace is justice and justice cannot give to any type of imperfection. The imputed righteousness forms the grace pipeline through which all blessings flow from the justice of God to the believer who is perfect, positionally.
Experiential sanctification is described as the believer placing himself under orders as a slave to the righteousness of God through the intake of Bible doctrine. This is a statement of principle rather than the mechanics of experiential sanctification. The mechanics or the execution of placing one’s self under orders to God involves the filling of the Spirit which, in turn, involves Rebound adjustment to the justice of God when necessary, plus the daily function of learning and applying Bible doctrine eventuating in maturity adjustment to the justice of God. The principle deals with the imputation of divine righteousness at salvation resulting in the creation of a grace pipeline with divine justice on the giving end and divine righteousness on the receiving end.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
As unbelievers under the rulership of the sin nature, we were slaves to the sin nature and its trends toward sin, human good and evil. Since God’s righteousness must be on the receiving end for blessing and God’s righteousness is not credited to us until we believe in Jesus Christ, the unbeliever is excluded from the benefits related to the righteousness of God. This verse points out that a person cannot serve two masters. Unbelievers are under the control and influence of the sin nature and by default are excluded from the grace blessings of God afforded us by the possession of God’s righteousness.