When a Son of God Lives Like a Slave to Sin
By: The John Ankerberg Show
December 14, 2014
Message, Robby Gallaty, Senior Pastor
The title of the message today is “When a Son of God Lives Like a Slave to Sin.” When a son of God lives like a slave to sin.
The most famous chimpanzee ever is a female by the name of Washu. She was rescued in 1966 by some soldiers in West Africa. She was actually brought in by the doctors and for about a few years, four years, they raised her like a child. Then in 1970, they turned her over to the University of Oklahoma scientists who continued to raise her like a child and remarkably, she is the first chimpanzee ever to pass the American Sign Language test. She learned 140 signs. She is the only non-human to do that. And they realized that she was communicating with them, but after further discovery, they realized she wasn’t really communicating, she was just mimicking. So they would say something and she would say something back. And so they really wanted to work hard to see what she really wanted to say. We really wanted to hear from her. We wanted to hear what she has to say. And so the big day came and they had cameras there and people were watching and she is in her cage. And from the comforts of her secure and safe cage, she speaks the very first words on her own. And this is what she said, “Let me out.” She kept saying it over and over, let me out, let me out. And that shows us that animals, like humans, do not like to be imprisoned, Amen? We don’t like to be confined, especially to sin. And although the wages of sin is death, God has made a way for us to free ourselves to be free from the shackles of sin.Now, I want you to see today from our text that God doesn’t free us from sin in order to roam and do as we please. God frees us from sin that we may serve Him. And if you have your Bibles, and I hope you do, turn with me to Romans Chapter 6, Romans Chapter 6 and we will consider verse 15 and following. As you are turning there, I will share with you my goal for our time together and that is to show you that God has set you free from sin in order to be enslaved to Him, that you don’t leave one master and go on your own, you actually leave one master to serve another master.Romans Chapter 6 Verse 15 and when you are there, say “word.” The Word of the Lord. “What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Absolutely not! Don’t you know that if you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of that one you obey–either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness? But than God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were transferred to, and having been liberated from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness. I am using a human analogy because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you offered the parts of yourselves as slaves to moral impurity, and to greater and greater lawlessness, so now offer them as slaves to righteousness, which results in sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from allegiance to righteousness. So what fruit was produced then from the things you are now ashamed of? For the end of those things is death. But now, since you have been liberated from sin and have become enslaved to God, you have your fruit, which results in sanctification–and the end is eternal life! For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”Father, we pray that You will bless the reading and the teaching of Your Word, that we would be conformed to the image of Your Son, more so than the way we came in, that we would actually hear from You today, God. We pull a seat to your table. You be the Teacher. We are here as Your students, we pray in Jesus’ name. And everyone said, Amen.Paul begins this section with a question. It is actually the second question in the book of Romans that he posed earlier in the chapter. And the question he is asking is this: Now that we are under grace, can we just live like we want? God has set us free from sin. He has liberated us from our past. Can’t we just go on with a license to sin? And Paul says in the text, the strong word. He says, “Absolutely not!”Now you have to understand who he is talking to here. He is talking to Gentiles in Rome who now have become believers in Christ. And the ambiguous phrase that he is referring to is this phrase “under the law.” Do you see it in the text? He talks about people under the law, but under grace.Now, Paul is the only one to use this phrase in the entire New Testament. For those Bible scholars, you realize that he uses that word or uses that phrase three times…I mean in three different books, sorry. I Corinthians, Galatians and Romans. No one else uses that phrase. In fact, you will not find that phrase in all of Jewish writing. There is no literature that includes that phrase “under the law.” The Jews never viewed it that way. But remember, he is speaking to a Roman audience. And for a Roman audience to become Jewish, in essence, they had to do certain things.Do you know that Gentiles, before Christ, could be a part of the family of God? They could be a part of the nation of Israel. They were called “God-fearers.” Who is an example of a God fearer in the New Testament? Do you know? Pop quiz. That’s right. Cornelius. You know Cornelius. Acts Chapter 10. Peter sees a vision and he goes to Cornelius. It says Cornelius is a God-fearer. Now to be a person of Israel, as a Gentile, part of the tribe of Israel, it required two big things. The first thing was, you had to be circumcised. And it is not circumcision as a baby, but circumcision mainly as an adult. And the second thing is, you had to take on the whole yoke of the law. You had to follow all the 613 commandments of the Old Testament. Now why would you do that? Because it shows that you have severed your past from that Gentile/pagan world and you are now following the Lord. It gives new meaning to raising a hand and signing a card saying I want to be a part of the household of faith. Because if you were doing that as a man and as a Gentile back then, you went under the knife or under the rock for circumcision.So what Paul says is, even though you do that, even though you follow the whole Torah, you still cannot free yourselves from the effects of sin. You need something or someone else to set you free from sin. And that is what Paul is about to talk about. Paul is about to show us through a pretty crafty argument how we are free from sin in order to be enslaved to Christ.The first thing he says that I want you to see is this: Every person, everybody is enslaved to some thing or someone. Did you know that? Some of us are enslaved to a lot of things, but we all are enslaved to some thing or someone. Write it down, if you are taking notes.“What then? Should we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? Absolutely not! Don’t you know that if you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of that one you obey–either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness?”When a person is sold into slavery, they have a Master. If a slave is sold from one Master to another, they just change Masters. They don’t go free. They have to follow the desires, they have to follow the commands, they have to follow the rules of the Master. Paul says every human being, everyone, has one of two Masters. Now this is profound. We are either slaves to sin or we are slaves to obedience. Notice he doesn’t say slaves to God. You would think he would say slaves to God and slaves to sin. What Paul is getting at is this: Those of us who are under grace, obedience is not the means for salvation, it is the measure of your salvation. And that is a big difference.What he is saying is, you don’t have to do a bunch of good works in order to earn your salvation. The very fact that you are doing good works for God is the proof of your salvation. That is a big difference. And so Paul says, you will see in a person’s life who they serve by how they live. The law doesn’t perfect our salvation, it proves our salvation, if we obey it, right?Leon Morris, the commentator, said this. “Paul’s point here though is not much that a slave had to obey his Master, but rather that the Master you obey shows whose slave you are.” You are trying to do these things to obey someone. The very thing you obey is proof of who is your Master. And what he is saying is, you can see that in a person’s life. If you indulge in sin, you will be a slave to sin and it leads to death. If you follow God in obedience, you are a slave to God and produces righteousness.Now Paul gives us no wiggle room here. You know, there is no way to straddle the fence here. Paul says there is not three categories. There is not a third way. There are two ways. Every person in here is either following God or they are a slave to sin. There is no in-between. You can’t say, some days I am a slave to sin, but there are other days I am a servant or a slave to God. He doesn’t give us that category. He doesn’t give us that option. Now he is taking a page from Jesus’ book, right? Jesus, talking about money, said, “No one can serve two Masters. You will either love one or (audience participation) hate the other. You can’t serve both God and money. He is talking about money, but you can actually use that in a lot of cases.Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, said there are two roads. There is a broad road that everybody is on and there is a narrow road. Jesus said, there are two trees. There is a tree that bears good fruit and there is a tree that bears bad fruit. And good fruit is not coming from a bad tree and bad fruit doesn’t come from a good tree. There are two categories. Jesus says there are two houses. There is the house built on sand which will sink, but there is a house built on the rock which will last. There are only two categories here. So the question is, which one are you in? There is no wiggle room by Paul. He says it is either one or the other.Remember the movie, “Remember the Titans.” How many people remember that movie? Pretty good movie. Denzel Washington plays the football coach, Herman Boone, who is actually sent to this all white, prestigious high school called T.C. Williams in Alexandria, Virginia. And he is leading the charge for force integration into this high school. The star football player is the arrogant, white, self-righteous, all-American, Gary Bertier. You remember Gary Bertier. He is the guy on the bus as they are heading to training camp, they are on the bus and Bertier is actually giving Boone some flack. I am not going to listen to this guy. What is this guy going to tell me how to do anything. Well, Boone comes unglued. Do you remember this? And he gets in his face and he starts yelling, “Who’s your Daddy? Who’s you Daddy?” And Bertier is kind of back in his seat. And he says it over and over, “Who’s your Daddy?” And then finally, in a whisper, Bertier says, “You are.” And what he was showing him was that for the remainder of his senior year of football, he was going to be enslaved to him as the coach to do whatever he wishes and whatever he commands.Do you know the Christian…you need to ask yourself, who is your Daddy? In fact, I think everybody should ask themselves, Who is your Daddy? Right?Tim and I used to travel with a fellow pastor friend of ours in Louisiana. He is a wild and crazy guy. He has a past similar to mine. He tells people…his name is Marty Guidry. He tells people, “They used to call me Party Marty, but now they call me Marty with the Jesus Party.” That is just the type he is. So, Tim and I would go in town with Marty and people would stop us and they would say, “Hey, Brother.” And Marty would step back and say, “Tell me who your Daddy is and I will tell you if you are my brother.” What he was getting at is, if your Dad is God, then you are my Brother. But if you Father is not God, then you are not my brother.That is the idea that Paul is getting at here. You see, every person in here, think of your life honestly. You are either a slave to sin or you are enslaved to God, or you are enslaved to obedience which leads to righteousness which is a relationship with God. There is no in between. There is no third way for Paul.Not only is everyone a slave to some thing or someone, Paul gives us an amazing truth which is encouraging to us and that is, escape from sin is belief in a Savior. Our escape from sin that enslaved us is belief in a Savior. Verse 17, “But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were transferred to, and having been liberated from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness.” By obeying the teaching that was taught to you…this is an idea of putting your faith in, putting your trust in. That is what Paul is getting at here. There was a time in your life when the gospel came to you. You heard the Word of God and you believed. That is something you did. But at the same time, simultaneously, God was working in your life so that you had the ability to respond. And so the natural question is this: Did I choose God or did God choose me? That is an easy one, right? Did I choose God or did God choose me? Guess what the answer is? Yes, to both.I was meeting for lunch with one of our church members here and he was talking about his discipleship group. They are reading a book which I use in my discipleship group by Wayne Gruden, Systematic Theology book. And they got to that chapter about the sovereignty of God and the free will of man. And he is wrestling and he says, Man, my group has been more electric than it has ever been before. I said, well, that is normally when the fireworks go off in my group, too. But he said, which one is it? Is it, we chose God or is it that God chose us? And I said, for the Jewish mind, you know, Jesus was a Jew. The Bible is written to Jews. Jewish context, Jewish culture, Jewish customs. Some people try to say Jesus is a blond headed, blue-eyed guy from California. No, He was a Jew. That is who He was. And so you have to understand, in order to understand the Bible, you have to look at it through a Jewish Hebraic lens, right? And so I said, for the Jewish man, they always look at the Bible, theology on two hands. On the one hand and on the other hand. Western Americans, we have to have it on one hand. God chose me and I chose God cannot exist in our mind. But for the Jew, they say, Amen to that, right? And the Bible has these two threads that run parallel all through it, right? God chose you. You chose God. Let me show you another one. Colossians Chapter 1 is a perfect example of this. It is the balance between human responsibility and the sovereignty of God. Colossians Chapter 1 Verse 9. If you are there, say “word.” “For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work.” Who is doing the walking here? They are. The same way you walked in this place. There are no puppet strings above your head that led you here, right? You walked in here freely, just like when you leave, you will walk out of here freely and you are either going to walk toward the Lord or you are going to walk toward yourself and sin. It is up to you. However, Paul says there is something else happening here. “May you be strengthened with all power according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light. He has rescued you from the domain of darkness and transfers us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.”And so this is what he is saying. You walked in a manner worthy of the gospel, but the only reason you are able to walk is because God enabled you to walk in the first place. So which one is it? Is it human responsibility or is it God’s sovereignty? The answer is, yes. The key word there is…the key phrase is, having been liberated. Go back to Romans 6. Paul says, having been liberated. That is aorist passive word, which is big explanation for a word that means something that happened in the past and it is something that happened to you that you didn’t do. So what he is saying is, God liberated you in the past and it was something that you had no input in. You couldn’t free yourself from your own sin. You have to understand the analogy. Paul is saying that a slave could never free himself or herself, ever. You couldn’t go to the owner and say, hey, listen, can we barter for my freedom? Hey, can we negotiate so that I can be free? Never would have happened. Hey, can we make a deal. If I do this and this and this, would you let me go? No. And this is the cool thing. When a person was sold from one person to the other, the only reason they were sold was a sovereign elected choice of the person from the outside coming in to free the man on the inside, right? The only way for a slave to be freed is if one person from the outside puts up money to set them free, and at that point, they are not free to go, they are free to serve a different Master.Friends, come in real close. When Jesus Christ set you free, He freed you from the shackles of sin and then firmly fixed upon your feet the chains of righteousness. He set you free to live for Him. Why? Because He paid a high price for your freedom and mine. A high price. What was the price that He paid? Hey, God, I’ve got this. They did…I did nothing wrong. They did everything wrong, but I will go in their place and I will die on the cross, the cross that was meant for them. And the cool thing is, they don’t have to do anything to earn it! In fact, as we will see later, the more we try to do to earn it, the more we disqualify yourself from salvation. Aren’t you glad Jesus Christ did the heavy lifting for us? No pun intended with the cross. But He did the heavy lifting, right? It was Him who went to the cross on our behalf.One of the greatest tragedies in the Christian life, I think you would agree with me, is when you see born-again believers who have been set free from sin living as though they are still shackled. It is a tragedy, but it happens a lot. It may happen in your life.It reminds me of what happened in the Indian bazaar many years ago. A bazaar is like a big flea market. The Indian bazaar had a man who bought some space and he had a huge cage that he sold quail. And inside the cage, he tied rope, little strings to the feet of the quail. The rope extended or the string extended to a ring that went around a stake in the ground. What happened is, day and night, these quail would walk around this stake because their feet were fixed to the string and the string to the ring. And one day a man came and he noticed all these quail in the cage. He was an Indian Brahman, who is like a spiritual leader in Hinduism. He came and he had a love for all mankind. He had a love for animals and he wanted to buy the quail. And he asked the man, How much for the quail? And he said, How many do you want? And he said, I want to take them all. And he set a high price and the man paid the price for the quail. And he said, what do you want me to do with them? Do you want the cage? And he said, No. I want to set them free. He said, Set them free? And he said, Yes, I want to set them free.So he instructed the dealer to cut the string from the feet of the quail and would you believe, once he cut all of them free, guess what the quail did? They walked over as if still in the cage and they continued to walk around in a circle as if they were tied to the ring. And so the Brahman walks over and they try to show the quail away and they fly up in the air in unison and they land together a little ways away and guess what they do? They start walking around again.And that is tragedy for birds. It is even sadder when we see Christians do that. Born-again believers who have been set free from the affects of sin and the power of sin going back to the sin that God has set them free from. Friends, listen to me, when Jesus set you free, He opened the door of the prison you were in and wanted you to walk out. Why would you go back to it? Why are you still going back to sin? Yes, we are enslaved to something. Everyone is enslaved to something. And the question is, are we enslaved to sin or are we enslaved to Christ?But what do we do now that we have been set free? How do we live, Robby? I am glad you asked. Paul knew you would ask. In fact, that is why Paul says at this point, offer your bodies to God for righteousness sake. So yes, we are enslaved to something. Christ has set us free from sin, but now that we are free, what do we do? We offer our bodies to God for righteousness sake. Look at Verse 19.“I am using a human analogy because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you offered the parts of yourselves as slaves to moral impurity, (watch this) and to greater and greater lawlessness, so now offer them as slaves to righteousness, which results in sanctification.”Paul is trying to explain the difficult topic of sanctification and salvation to finite human minds. Do you know what it is like for us as humans to understand the doctrines of God? It is like trying to explain the NASA space program to an ant. Only infinitely greater. I mean, think about it. How can the creation understand the Creator? Just infinitely mind-blowing, if you can imagine. So Paul says, I have to use a human example or a human analogy because of the weakness of your flesh. Now, I think what Paul is doing here is he is not being sarcastic, although it looks like it. And I don’t even think he is speaking tongue-in-cheek. I think what Paul is doing here is, he is saying, I am apologizing to you. Paul was writing to a Roman audience where many people are still enslaved in slavery. And Paul is saying, I apologize for using a slavery argument, but that is the best one I could come up with to talk about our relationship with God. And so he is saying, excuse the analogy. It is the best one I can come up with.And what Paul is saying here is something interesting. What he says is, remember the days in your past when you offered yourself to sin which led to greater and greater lawlessness.I remember days in my life. How many people can say amen to that. When you get involved in sin…and he says this is like offering your body because it is a willing choice. You go back to that sin. Offering means to put your full self into it, to run headlong into something. It means to be fully invested in sin.And what he says is, once you get involved in sin, you can never stop sinning, right? It is like when you get caught up in gossiping. Normally the way you gossip is you start like this: You say, hey listen, I haven’t told anybody about this, but I am just going to tell you, okay? That is how it starts, right? And then you go to the next person and you say, Listen, I haven’t told many people about this, but I am just going to tell you. Listen, I have only told a few people about this, but I am just going to tell you. And then it is gossip upon gossip. And you can’t get enough because the shock and awe from them, from the tall tale that you are telling is like crack cocaine, right? You want more. So you just keep telling people about it.It is about lying. You can lie and tell one lie and then you have to tell a second lie to cover up the first lie. And by the time you get to the third generation of lies, what happens is, you don’t remember what the truth is anymore or what is a lie. It is like pornography. It starts with a visual image on a computer or a picture. It leads possibly to a monthly subscription to a porno or x-rated site. Then it may end up with a talk in a chat room or a phone call, which ultimately can lead to a rendezvous point with a woman or a man of the opposite sex other than your husband or wife, which will lead to a sexually immoral act.It always takes you further than you want to go. Why? Because it leads to greater and greater lawlessness. It is like what happens when you covet. Then you start to envy. Then you start to steal. Then you lie to cover up. I think Lays Potato Chips were on to something and they didn’t even know it. You know the slogan for Lays Potato Chips. Bet you can’t eat just one! Right? You know what sin would say? Bet you can’t commit just one!This takes me back to my time in the drug world. In November it was 12 years ago when God radically set me free from $180 a day heroin and cocaine addiction. What means is, every day I woke up, I needed that to live. And I was thinking about the mindset I had back in the drug days. And it is so foreign to me, I can’t even remember what it was like to be like that. But I will just describe it to you. When I woke up in the height of my drug and alcohol addiction, I had a single minded focus every day I woke up. I had one thing on my mind. It was superior to food. It was superior to being successful. It was superior to meeting someone of the opposite sex. It was superior to making money. It was superior to everything. It was superior to my own health. It was, how am I going to find drugs to keep me going through the day. Because what happens is, I had a 24-36 hour window before flu like withdrawal symptoms set in. And I just want to tell you, for those of you who haven’t experienced this. For those who have, you know what I am talking about. It is hell on earth when you experience drugs from opiate withdrawals or some kind of pain pill or any kind of drug addiction. You can imagine. It is hell on earth. I used to tell people, the human body is not supposed to feel this much pain. It is hell on earth. And it was a roller coaster for me. Because what would happen is, I would call the dealer in the projects of New Orleans to get drugs. And what would happen is, the supply would run out. And so he would have to wait for a shipment to come in. And so he would always say, I don’t have it. Call back later. And that was the moment the stop watch started backwards. And if I didn’t get it, I was agitated, aggravated. I would get in this coma like position and then I would try to ride it out. And I realized that I was single-mindedly focused on that. I was a slave to sin.Now you may not have a drug addiction in the past, but you may have “a” addiction in the past, to sexual immorality or greed or success or fame or fortune or anything in the world that drives you, right? I remember when I went to my counselor. She said, “Robby, for so many years,” she said, “you are like a laser beam.” She said, “You get into something headlong and you are all in it.” She said, “The problem with you is, the laser beam has been focused in the wrong direction for so long. If you could just get it focused in the right direction, you could change the world.” And friends, I want you to think about your life. What if you went after God with the same passion and the same energy you went after things in the world? What do you think God would do with your life? I mean, I am not talking about coming on Sunday, checking a box because it is the Christian thing to do. I am not talking about showing up once a year for Christmas and Easter because hey, that is what Christians do. I am not talking about opening the Bible once a week at church because what is what everybody does. I am talking about headlong, all in, all in committed to Christ. What could God do with your life?I believe if you go that hard after God, even if He told you, you wouldn’t even believe it. Hey, listen, I am going to do this in a decade in your life. I am going to tell you…you are going to say, God, there is no way that You could do that in my life. And God would say, yes, just wait! What would God do if you went all in after Him?I love what Paul says in this text. He is saying, this is not a once and for all decision. Sanctification is a daily decision to follow Christ. What means is, every day you wake up and your feet hit the floor, there is a funeral and a coronation that has to happen in your life. Write this down. Every day there has to be a funeral service and a coronation in your life. The funeral service is, you are dying, right? Jesus said, if anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross daily, and die and then come follow Me. But then there is also a coronation because what happens is, we are acknowledging that Jesus Christ is Lord of our life and not (who?) not us. It is a daily dying and a daily acknowledging that Jesus is Lord.You want to know how you offer yourselves to God? This is how we offer ourselves to righteousness. We seek a life of holiness. We seek a life of purity. You see, the Bible is clear. It says that God will not use an unclean vessel, period. He will not. He cannot use it. His nature does not allow Him to use an unclean vessel. He can’t come in contact with sin. So you want to do great things for God? Present yourself holy and righteous before Him as a clean vessel. That is what Paul told Timothy. II Timothy Chapter 2 Verse 20. Final letter to his son, Timothy, in the faith. He says, look around the church, in a great house, in a big church, there are vessels of gold and silver and wood and clay. Some for honorable use, some for dishonorable use. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself or herself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel of honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the Master of the house, ready for every good work. You want to be used by God? Be a clean vessel.Friends, I don’t know about you, but I want to hear from God. I don’t want to play games with God. I want to hear from God. I want to read the Word and I want the pages to come alive in my life. I want to feel the nudge of the Holy Spirit. When I am going in the wrong direction, I want to feel and I want to be aware that the Spirit of God is nudging me back. I don’t want to stand here on Sunday morning and deliver to you a message on words from a paper of a manuscript so that they fall on deaf ears. I want to stand behind this sacred desk and all the power of heaven comes through me and speaks to you. That is what I want to do. And in order to do that, just like your life, I need to be clean. You see, I am not fearful of sin because I am scared of what God may do to me. I don’t want to sin because I am scared of what God may not do with me. I want to be used by God. Do you want to be used by God? I want to be used by God.I remember hearing in Glorietta, New Mexico. I was talking to a man who was friends with Billy Graham and some of the preachers years ago when they were younger. And he said, “When Billy Graham was younger, they were walking on a street one day and they were talking about who is the next big great preacher. Who is the next big leader in our country. And everybody was mentioning, I think Mike is going to be the guy. I think Tommy is going to be the guy. And someone says, no, I think Billy is going to be the guy. Billy was with them, Billy Graham. And he said, Billy Graham can’t preaching himself out of a wet paper bag. He is not a good preacher.” The man said, “Oh, he may not be the best preacher, but you ought to hear him pray.” And do you know, Billy Graham prayed this same prayer over and over again. I prayed it for years. I still pray it from time to time. I mean, here is all he simply said to the Lord. He said, God, I want to be used by You. That is all he used to pray. God. I used to have this on my wall when I would kneel to pray by the bed, I had it on the wall, God, I want to be used by you.-Billy Graham.And Paul says, if you want to be used by God, you have to be a clean vessel of honorable use. Louis Paulo said this, “If you like sin, you are going to love holiness.” If you like sin, you will love holiness. Why? Because there is no bad aftertaste. You don’t have remorse in the morning. There is no guilty conscience. There is no shame involved in it. And in fact, the benefits are out of this world. So start investing in holiness.”So, why would Paul go to great lengths to tell us this. Here is why. Because he is about to give us a benefit bomb of truth at the end. And he is going to show us right now, this is why you live this way because there is something waiting for you. Here is the final truth of this text. Here is the end result of a life committed to Christ. I love this.Look at what he says. “So what fruit was produced then form the things you are now ashamed of?” I need to stop here and just explain what he is saying here. He is saying, what fruit came from a life of sin? Do you ever notice, before Christ when you were in the world, you used to glamorize your past and you used to celebrate sin? Anybody been there before? And you get with your old friends and you just talk about the good ole days. And now, as a believer, I am despised of those days. I am ashamed of my past.Do you realize right now, I can call…I have been 12 years saved now. I can call…right now from the stage, I can call one of my friends…I only have one that will answer my calls and he hasn’t answered my calls in about two years because he knows what I am calling about now. I am calling to tell him about Jesus and he doesn’t want to hear about Jesus, so he doesn’t answer the calls. But if he would pick up the phone and I would say, hey, let me ask you a question. What has been going on? Do you know 12 years ago, God radically changed my life. But since he did not come out of that lifestyle, he is preserved as a time capsule back at that day. 2002, he is there. 2014, I am here. 2002, he is there. Do you know what he talks about when I call him? I can call him right now. Do you want to know what he talks about? Those days we partied at the club. That is all he wants to talk about. You remember that time we did this? Do you remember the time we wrecked the car. Remember when we got so drunk we couldn’t see. That is what he wants to talk about. And for him, he is 38 years old, my age, still living at home with his Mom, drawing disability at $750 a month for the rest of his life. And he believes he has achieved the pinnacle of success. And I am like, Bro, let me tell you what God has done in my life. I got radically saved. I paid back my parents $40,000 I stole from them. I met an amazing woman named Kandi. I had the privilege of marrying her less than a year later. I went to seminary. I have got three degrees from seminary, advanced degrees. I have written three books. I have pastured two churches. I have traveled around the world preaching the gospel and God has blessed me in an amazing city with two kids. And I am not saying that to boast about me, but to boast in the Lord. And I am telling you, folks, there is a time in your life when you used to boast in the past, but Paul says, what benefit is that? What joy came from lying? What joy comes from adultery? Resentful kids who get mad at Mom and Dad, a hurt spouse, guilt and shame for years. It is fun for a season, but holiness benefits you forever. What fun was being a drunk at parties? You don’t get excited about that today. If you do, you won’t one day. What fun was that drug addiction? What fun was that gossip? Listen, he is saying there is a time in life when you used to be excited about the past, but what did that give you? Look at Verse 21, “For the end of those things is death.” You may be in that right now, friends. Listen to me, ride that train hard because it comes to a screeching halt one day. There is a dead end at the end of that street.“But now, since you have been liberated from sin, you have become enslaved to God, you have your fruit, which results in sanctification–and the end is eternal life!” Here is what he is saying. He is making a dichotomy in the text. He is showing two different choices here. He is saying, if you work for your salvation or if you work in sin, the price that you are going to get back, the wages you are going to get back for that is death. Separation from God. That is what you do on your own strength. However, if you stop your working and striving and you receive what God has given you based on what He has done, not what you do, you will be saved, which leads to eternal life. And he says, “but now.” I don’t know about you, but I love those “but now” moments in the Bible. Anybody else? That is what happened when you got saved. You were heading to hell, but now…you were in immorality, but now. I love what the old black preacher said. “We ain’t what we want to be. We ain’t what we are gonna be. But thank God, we ain’t what we was.” Amen? Aren’t you glad the final chapter of your life was not written the day you got saved? Aren’t you grateful that your future is not determined by your past? I know I am grateful for that. But now.And then he gets into the most quoted verse in all of Romans. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This is probably one of the most quoted verses in all of the evangelistic presentations ever to be displayed and presented on the planet, right? If you are on the Romans Road, you are going here. And rightfully so, because it is an evangelistic message.But the question we want to ask ourselves is, why would Paul place that section in this context? And here is why. Paul just gets off the heels of explaining that we are either slaves to sin and slaves to God and then Paul makes this profound statement when he says this. What Paul is saying here is this, this is why grace leads believers not to sin. Not because we can earn our salvation, it is because we did nothing to earn our salvation and so we should work for God. We don’t work FOR salvation, we work FROM salvation. That is a big difference.The key words there are wage and gift. Now I don’t know if you knew this. I didn’t. Both of those words are military terms. Let me explain them to you. You can write them down. The first one is wage. It is a military term, another way to say pay. I want you to get in your mind a cruel dictator who has an enormous army who works for him, that he sends them out on the front lines to risk their life in order to preserve the comforts of his lifestyle as he takes abode in a palace somewhere way off in the distance. And so he is trying to preserve his pleasure at the expense of these men who are commodities to him in order to help him live like he wants. And the price that they pay to protect his freedom is death. This is the mentality here.Do you know that the weekly paycheck is always the same? It is a ruined life. It is a ruined testimony. It is a destroyed relationship. It is separation from a holy God. Every week you sin, that is the paycheck you cash in. You want to spend it. Here is the check.But the final paycheck for a life of sin is separation from God in a Christless place called hell. And listen to me, that is one check you don’t want to cash. Believe me. But, there it is again, that sanctified but. “But the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”That word “gift” is another military term. What would happen every now and then, the Emperor would have kindness out of the goodness of his heart. He would give his soldiers something they didn’t earn. Maybe on a special birthday of one of his leaders or an anniversary of the country, he would give them a gift. He would give them an unearned gift. That word “gift” is the Greek word “charisma” where we get the word “charismatic.” You did nothing to earn it. And he would give that to them as a gift to display kindness toward his soldiers.Paul is saying, that is what God did for you. If you try to earn your own salvation, it will lead to death. But if you end your striving, end your driving, end your strength and you relinquish to the Lord all that you have and all that you are, then you can receive this gift from God. Every time you try to use your own work to gain salvation, it ends in death. And he says, if you stay in a life of sin, it is ultimately going to separate you from God.Charles Spurgeon, the great prince of preachers, tells the story of an evil ruler who took a bunch of the citizens from the community and had them stand before him and share with him their occupation of what they did. And he went through different occupations until he found the one he wanted. One man stepped forward and he said, “I am a blacksmith.” He said, you are the one I am going to choose. He sent the rest of them home. He gave the blacksmith an assignment. He said, I want you to go home and I want you to handcraft for me a long chain. Bring it back and present it to me. The blacksmith went home and as you can imagine, he worked hard and long before that open fire. He came back after three months of hard labor. He presented the chain to the ruler. Instead of receiving praise, he criticized him for the chain. He said it is not long enough. Go back and double its length. The man goes home again. He works hard. A couple of months later, the same scenario, different day. He brings him back the chain. The ruler says, not long enough again. Go back and make it longer. Well, this went on and on a couple of times. He came back. Not enough. Came back. Not enough. And then finally, at the end of it, the evil ruler brought him forth. He took the chain and he said, I will accept it. It is right now. He ordered his soldiers in that moment to wrap the chain that was made by the man around his ankles and his arms, throw him into a fiery furnace and it was used to bind him as he burned to death. That is what sin will do to you. Every time you sin, you put another link on the chain that will one day be the very thing that will bind you in death. Was it worth it? I don’t think so. But, there is hope because there is a free gift in Christ Jesus our Lord.If you are in here today and you are not a Christian, listen to me, today is the day for salvation for you. Today is the day. Through repentance and faith, you can escape the fiery furnace of hell and you can have the free gift of life, not only this life but eternal life to come. If you are in a life of sin, I just beg you to get out of it. Sin always takes you further than you want to go, makes you stay longer than you want to stay and always make you pay more than you want to pay. Always! So it really makes no sense to sin, right?