leading to life

"What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness." (Romans 6:15-18 ESV)

I have been so enriched reading through Paul's Epistle to the Romans, using Francis Schaeffer's commentary, verse by verse. His words were recorded as he met with university students for lunch at Lausanne, Switzerland, in the 1960s, and later published by Crossway as The Finished Work of Christ (1998). 

Here are some excerpts from his discussion on Romans 6:15-18... 

Each of us has great significance, as Christians and also as human beings. Each choice we make has an effect upon all of history. The effects of our choices are real, they are not just part of a dream of God, as the Hindu would say. Each choice we make as a Christian and as a human being has a reality in history, and it affects all those about us. 

When you and I yield ourselves as slaves to the devil, we are death-producing machines. We can be perfectly orthodox. We can be in "separated" church that tries to keep itself pure from the world. We can say the creeds and confessions and catechisms forward and backward. We can be all these things and yet be death-producing machines. We become death-producing machines when we "yield ourselves to obey" Satan rather than the Lord.

When you yield yourself to God you are His slave, but this is beautiful and good because God is not a tyrant. We were created for the purpose of loving the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and mind (Matt. 22:37). He is not a tyrant; He is a loving God. To yield ourselves as a slave in this sense, as the creature yielding ourselves to the God who is there--this is beautiful. This kind of slavery produces life.

We produce either death or life as people around us either accept or reject God because of what we say to them and how we live before them. To realize that our words and actions are that significant should make us tremble. We can be either a death-producing machine or a life-producing machine for those who are still lost. And, as we have seen, we can produce either death or life in the ongoing battle between God and the devil, depending on which side we support on any given day. "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?"

--Francis Schaeffer, The Finished Work of Christ (Crossway, 1998), p. 163. 


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