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Romans 6:15-23 Inductive Bible Study Notes, Cross References, Outline, and Discussion Questions

。Romans 6:15-23 By Jason Dexter 


15. So what should we do? Should we sin because we are under grace instead of the law? Of course not!

16. Do you know that if you give your life to someone as a slave then you are a slave to the one you obey? You can be a slave of sin, leading to death. Or you can be a slave of obedience, leading to righteousness. Proverbs 1:16-19, John 3:19, Philippians 3:7-9

17. But we greatly thank God that even though you were previously slaves of sin, now you obey the teaching you have been given with a whole heart. Colossians 3:23-24, Ephesians 6:6-8, Exodus 35:4-6, 20-22, 36:4-6 (contrast with the story of Jonah and Dathan)

18. You have been set free from the power of sin and become slaves for good deeds.

19. I am speaking in human terms because naturally you are weak. In the same way that you used to give the parts of your body in slavery to wicked sins that continued to increase, so now give the parts of your body as slaves to righteousness that will lead to holiness. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, (armor of God, Eph 6), (commitment, faithful in little, faithful in much), Genesis 39:7-12 (Joseph fled)

20. When you were slaves to sin, righteousness had no meaning to you.

21. What good did all of those wicked deeds, that you are now ashamed to do, do for you? The result of those things is death! (example from emptiness of world)

22. But now you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God. The great benefit of this is that this will lead to holiness and result in eternal life. (living water)

23. For the fair result of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 


    1. The Question Reiterated (15)

    1. There is No Middle (16)

    2. One-hundred-eighty degree turn (17-20)

    3. Contrasting results of each lifestyle (21-23)


Key Words-

Slaves (to righteousness, to obedience, to sin)- This refers to what is our master. We can only serve one side. We can only serve God or Satan. It is impossible to serve both or to please both. The two sides are exactly opposite. If we are slaves of sin the desire of our heart is to do evil. In fact we love the evil. We cannot rest or live without it. We are completely under its sway, completely under its power. But when we trust in Christ He sets us free. He does it by His power. We don’t set ourselves free. Our heart has a complete reversal of direction. No longer do we desire and covet sin. Instead we despise sin. If we make a mistake and do sin we hate it, feel miserable and desire to repent. Our heart wants to serve God in all things. He is our Lord, our master. That means we should submit our life to Him in all areas. We have a new role, a new responsibility. Our life is not our own.

Benefit- This word is referring to the results of the two paths. Either way we choose will have a definite result. On the one side is emptiness, despair, depression, loneliness, and death. On the other side is the peace, love, joy, and contentment in Christ combined with eternal life! 


What is the main point of this passage?

What does it mean to be a slave? What does it mean to be a slave of sin? What about a slave of righteousness?

Can there be a neutral?

What does it mean present yourselves to "someone"? Who would an unbeliever be presenting themselves to? How about a believer?

Are we slaves of God? Isn't it very bad to be a slave?

What is the significance of the phrase "obedient from the heart"? Aren't our actions the most important? Why would someone be obedient if it isn't from the heart?

Explain the phrase "to that form of teaching to which you were committed"? What form of teaching? Are you committed to obeying from your heart biblical teaching?

What "human term" is Paul referring to?

Can someone be saved if they aren’t willing to make Christ the Lord and master of their lives?

Does the slave pick and choose what he wants to obey? How about when he wants to obey? (It’s all or nothing).

What are the results of these two ways of life?

What should we do when we face temptation according to the Bible?

What benefit do we get from sin? What benefit do we get from righteousness?

Teaching Points:

1. The question reiterated. This question is similar to the previous questions asking if we should sin more since more sin means more grace, but it is not exactly the same. This question is more like, "Since God will forgive me if I sin, does that mean it is OK to sin?" Anyone ask you this question? When I teach Assurance of Forgiveness and 1 John 1:9 people often ask me similar questions. Their logic is that this forgiveness is easy to get, a gift that doesn't cost anything.Therefore it makes it too easy to sin, knowing God will forgive you and won't punish you for it. I do think that this is a real problem, even for many real believers. Sometimes I fall into the trap to not take sin so seriously because it seems that just a quickie prayer can solve it. How can we ensure we don't take sin lightly?

First of all we need to realize that grace is not license to sin. God takes sin extremely seriously. 4:30. Psalms 78:40. What should our attitude be towards sin? Daniel 9:20-, 1 John 3:9, 1 John 5:18, Hebrews 12:1

2. We can be either slaves of sin or slaves of righteousness. It means we can have only one Master, either Christ or Satan/self. If we have Christ as our Master we will do righteous deeds, but if we have Satan/self as our master our lives will be governed by sin. Most people who reject Christ, think that they are their own Master, or perhaps the god of another religion. But they deceive themselves. Their are only two roads, the narrow way and broad way. Other religions were spawned by Satan to deceive people into rejecting the true God while even no religion, atheism, is just another way for a different kind of people to reject God. If you don't serve God, then you are either knowingly or unknowingly serving Satan. It means that if we make someone or something a god in our life, we are slaves of that person and will do whatever they ask. If self is the god, then we will do whatever we want regardless of how it affects others. If a girlfriend, mother, father, or wife is the most important authority in our life, then we will obey them no matter what they say. When we obey someone, it is as if they are an authority in our life.

3. Is it good to be a slave? Being a slave of God is good. Normally when we think of being a slave, we will have a very negative opinion of it. Anybody here want to be a slave? Why don't we want to be slave? Normally because slaves' conditions are very bad. Their masters are generally greedy and wicked. They are mistreated. They have no freedom. They are owned by others. They aren't allowed to make decisions or plans for themselves. What is our position like as slaves of God? First of all, He is a perfect Master. He cares for His slaves and loves them, and even treats them as children. Besides this, He lavishes His slaves with every imaginable blessing, and appoints them as heirs of His kingdom. While He does lay down principles for us to follow, these are for our protection and our good. By following them we will have more joy. Finally, He gives also gives us a certain amount of Christian freedom as long as we live within the principles He lays down for us. How can we explain that the Bible calls us friends and children of God, yet also calls us slaves?  Because the relationship we have with God is rather complex and multi-faceted, the Bible uses several ways to describe it, including friend, children, and slave. Each one describes a different aspect of our relationship with God.

4. Obedient from the heart. While earthly slaves or employees need to obey, they don't need to obey from the heart. Their masters are satisfied if they do their work. They don't care so much about their motivation or their attitudes as long as these things don't affect their work. In Gymboree many of the instructors openly cheer (when the boss is no there) that a class is canceled (meaning the boss is losing money) so that they can take a rest. But God holds us to an even higher standard. He looks at our heart, our motivations, our attitudes, not only our actions. Do you have any verse about this? God told Samuel that man looks at the outside, but God looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7. Why is it so important that we obey from our hearts? We are to worship God not only in truth, but also in Spirit.  Also, if you don't have the right motivations, then you are doing it with your own strength and probably can not keep up doing it for the long haul. Eventually you will fall away, even from the appearance of serving God. Doing the right things for the wrong reasons is also sin. Why? What reasons might people have for obeying God besides the right ones? Because our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked. While we might go to church, or give money to God, we might do so to earn recognition or respect rather than because of a personal relationship with God. In this case, our actions are selfish, not pure and spiritual.

If we are truly obeying God from our hearts, several attitudes will reflect this. Firstly, we will be joyful. We will have a happy spirit. We won't be complaining. Secondly, we will have humility. We won't be arguing inside or out about God's principles being correct. Thirdly, we will do the thing completely and no matter who is watching. That means we will have a spirit of excellence, doing our very best.


5. Committed to that form of teaching. That form of teaching must refer to correct biblical instruction from God's Word. Notice we aren't committed to a particular church, or a particular mega-preacher, or home-church leader. We don't obey the Bible because someone we like and respect (parents, boy friend, husband, etc.) do and want us to. We don't do it to please someone. We don't do it because everyone else in our church is doing it that way. We must not have any worldly motivation. We are to be committed to God's Word, God's message wherever we can find it and through whoever we hear it from. We are committed to God's Word for its sake because it comes from God. 1 Peter 2:2 Substitute any other reason, and the motivation is wrong. Colossians 3:23, 1 Thess 4:1, Galatians 1:10, 1 Thess 2:4.

6. Speaking in human terms. This whole Master/slave thing is an allegory, a parable. It is a human way to describe one aspect of our relationship to God and our responsibilities towards Him. As a human term, it doesn't completely describe and their are perhaps holes (this is not to go against the inspiration of Scripture, but rather reinforces that Scripture is inspired, but yet needs to be interpreted how the original authors intended. If you break down Jesus' parables you can also read things into them He didn't intend if you want to.) that could be found in it. Yet for the sake to let the Romans, and us, understand this principle of obedience Paul uses this term. It is much like me or any teacher using an example. These examples are not perfect, but are intended to convey normally one aspect of what we are trying to teach.

7. The result of the two courses. 1. More lawlessness and then death. 2. Sanctification and eternal life. Is it possible for believers to be saved, but never end up being sanctified?

 We are reminded of the results of these two ways of life to help us choose when we face temptation. The results should factor in to our decisions. In other words, our choices have consequences. Choose rightly and we will be happy now and later. Choose wrong and we will be miserable in this life and after judgment.

We normally look at verse 23 in a vacuum as we share the gospel. Can you gain any new insights into this verse now that it is in the context of man entire passage? We really do have two courses of life we can choose from, two possible masters. One results in death, the other in eternal life. Also, this eternal life is not in a vacuum. Although it is a free gift, we still need to make Christ the Lord, to be slaves of righteous, and to change the way we live. Sanctification comes first


Series on Romans Chapter by Chapter

Romans 1:1-17 Romans 1:18-32 Romans 2:1-16 Romans 2:17-29 Romans 3:1-20 Romans 3:21-31
Romans 4:1-12 Romans 6:1-14 Romans 6:15-23 Romans 7:1-12 Romans 7:13-25 Romans 8:1-17
Romans 8:18-39 Romans 9:1-13 Romans 10 Romans 11 Romans 12 Romans 13
Romans 14:13-15:6 Romans 15 Romans 16      

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