“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” – Rom. 6:16
You’ll find many definitions for the word “freedom” in the dictionary. That’s because it means different things in different situations. It can refer to being able to do, say, or think without restraint, or not living under the dominion of an oppressive government, or not being physically imprisoned or restrained in any way, just to name a few. Perhaps the most fundamental use of the word is having the power of self-determination attributed to the will. And this, I would argue, is the most deceptive of all, when you realize that coercion can be both overt and covert.
Verse sixteen of Romans says we have an option of one of two masters in life: “sin unto death,” or obedience unto righteousness,” and freedom from one automatically makes you a servant to the other. There is no other alternative. By the way, to insist that you have the “freedom to do your own thing” is a dead give-away that you’re under the jurisdiction of sin.
You see, there is a kind of freedom associated with both these masters. As Paul says in verse twenty, “For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.” All the time people revel in our freedom from God’s restraints as found in His Word, they’re saying, “Yes, sir” to the devil and his minions. On the other hand, Paul is talking to believers in this chapter, who, because of their identification with Christ’s death and resurrection, are no longer under the dominion of sin, and are both free and able to obey the commandments of God.
As I said, this book was written to Roman believers. It’s possible to be judicially free, but practically enslaved. We have pledged our allegiance to Jesus Christ, acknowledged Him as Lord of our lives, yet Paul still admonishes us to “yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God (v. 13). Paul makes it abundantly clear that we have to let sin “reign” in our bodies (v. 12). When Satan tempts us, claiming primary ownership, remind him the person to whom he’s referring is dead to him, but alive to God, the rightful owner! Do it every time he raises his slimy head, and watch him slither away in defeat.
In closing, I’d like to quote from Warren Wiersbe’s book, Real Peace: Freedom and Conscience in the Christian Life.
“A famous British preacher, Dr. P. T. Forsyth, used to say that our purpose in life is not to find our freedom but to find our master. When you find the right master, then you will have the right kind of freedom.”
Have you chosen the right Master? Then yield to Him daily and bask in the glorious freedom of a life lived wholly for Him.