Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
Let's review what we are studying in this passage (Romans 6:16-23): God is dividing the whole world of sinners into two classes.
1) A servant (slave) to sin: one who does not believe in Christ ALONE for ALL of salvation;
and2) A servant (slave) of righteousness: one who believes in Christ ALONE for ALL of salvation.
Today we will be looking at a servant of righteousness - a born again sinner, a saved person, a Christian.
"Being then" - when was a servant of righteousness "Made free from sin" - when?
Our text tells us: "Then".
When one of God's elect believes the gospel, they "then".....are "Made free from sin".
When one believes the gospel they find themselves in a state of salvation: our previous verse explains the new birth - being born again (Romans 6:17): "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you".
"Made free from sin": Does this mean we are no longer sinners when we believe?
NO. Anyone who has been born again and lives with themselves knows that they are still sinners!
So what does "Made free from sin" mean?
It means that the born again sinner realizes they are no longer CHARGED with their sins. They see that the sins of the Christian are no longer CHARGED to him or her for they were CHARGED to Christ!
The Psalmist David experienced this:
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
So our text: "Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." means that when one believes the gospel, "then" they come to realize in their mind that their sins are forgiven, and they become "servants of righteousness" - they have now become slaves to forever looking to Christ ALONE for ALL their RIGHTEOUSNESS!
Does one's believing the gospel save them?
Is the sinner who believes - is that the difference between them going to heaven or hell?
NO. CHRIST is the difference between one going to hell or heaven.
If one believes on Jesus Christ ALONE for ALL their salvation, if one is a Christian, if one is born again, if one has obeyed from the heart the gospel - this is not the ground or condition of their salvation - CHRIST is the ONLY ground or condition of salvation!
Salvation (which means deliverance; deliverance from our sins and the penalty due them) is four fold - has four parts (4 aspects to it): let's look at them.
1) Salvation from before the foundation of the world in the mind and purpose of God
If one finds himself or herself in a state of salvation - in beliving the gospel of salvation in and by Christ ALONE - it is because in the mind and purpose of God before the world was created He choose a people in Christ and saw them saved in Him: "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:" (Ephesians 1:4).
Before the foundation of the world God saw His people IN CHRIST - in a state of salvation - He saw them "free from sin"; they were not charged with their sin!
God saw His people saved IN CHRIST before creation: "Who (God) hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began," (2 Timothy 1:9).
2) Salvation grounded or conditioned on the atonement of Jesus Christ
Objectively, salvation is conditioned entirely on the Jesus Christ and Him crucified - His perfectly sinless life and His offering this up as a perfect sacrifice to God in His atoning death for His people only. Objectively means that Christ is the object of our faith - Him as a person. Jesus Christ was given an elect group of sinners by the Father, and He came and made and atonement for them, and all that the Father gave Him He died for and saved them, and all the elect will come to believe on Christ for all their salvation! Jesus Christ Himself speaks of this work given Him of the Father:
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
In the atonement of Jesus Christ - salvation was SECURED for His people:
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
Jesus Christ's one and only atonement was not offered up to the whole world for the sinner to then decide wether they want to be saved or not; the one and only atonement of Jesus Christ saved His people:
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
3) Salvation experienced subjectively
When a sinner believes on Christ ALONE for ALL their salvation, "then" (as our text says) "then" they experience salvation subjectively. This means that when one is born again, and believe the gospel they "then" are "made free from sin"; they "then" come to know (experience subjectively) in their heart that they are saved from their sins; NOT because of any "decision" they made, or ANYTHING they did, but because they have come to experience subjectively (meaning in their own person - conscience - mind) this salvation planned, accomplished, and made known by God. This is the new birth - this is what the Bible calls being born again, this is what it means for one to be a Christian. They come to realize in their person (mind) that Christ made an atonement for them, and that is ALL their salvation!
4) Salvation from our bodies dying from sin
At the resurrection at the last day (John 6:39-44, John 6:54) God's people will be saved (delivered) from these bodies which one now has:
Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
This is the salvation described in the Bible!
When an elect sinner is born again, they obey the gospel of salvation conditioned on Christ ALONE and believe on Jesus Christ for ALL their salvation. According to our text, they "then" are "made free from sin" - realize their sins HAVE been forgiven and become "the servants of righteousness" - they become slaves to the fact that Christ is THE ONLY RIGHTEOUSNESS that God accepts!
Christ's promise to His people who have not yet experienced this salvation: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, (realizing you are a servant of sin) and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)
By Craig Miklosik