Romans 6:18
Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) Ye became the servants.—Comp. “Whose service is perfect freedom,” adopted from St. Augustine.

6:16-20 Every man is the servant of the master to whose commands he yields himself; whether it be the sinful dispositions of his heart, in actions which lead to death, or the new and spiritual obedience implanted by regeneration. The apostle rejoiced now they obeyed from the heart the gospel, into which they were delivered as into a mould. As the same metal becomes a new vessel, when melted and recast in another mould, so the believer has become a new creature. And there is great difference in the liberty of mind and spirit, so opposite to the state of slavery, which the true Christian has in the service of his rightful Lord, whom he is enabled to consider as his Father, and himself as his son and heir, by the adoption of grace. The dominion of sin consists in being willingly slaves thereto, not in being harassed by it as a hated power, struggling for victory. Those who now are the servants of God, once were the slaves of sin."Being then made free from sin." That is, as a master. You are not under its dominion; you are no longer its slaves. They were made free, as a servant is who is set at liberty, and who is, therefore, no longer under obligation to obey.

Ye became the servants ... - You became voluntarily under the dominion of righteousness; you yielded yourselves to it; and are therefore bound to be holy; compare the note at John 8:32.

18. Being then—"And being"; it is the continuation and conclusion of the preceding sentence; not a new one.

made free from Sin, ye became the servants of—"servants to"

Righteousness—The case is one of emancipation from entire servitude to one Master to entire servitude to another, whose property we are (see on [2206]Ro 1:1). There is no middle state of personal independence; for which we were never made, and to which we have no claim. When we would not that God should reign over us, we were in righteous judgment "sold under Sin"; now being through grace "made free from Sin," it is only to become "servants to Righteousness," which is our true freedom.

Made free from sin; i.e. the servitude of sin; having received a manumission from that hard and evil master, you have given tap yourselves to a better and more ingenuous service. Being then made free from sin,.... Not from a sinful nature; nor from a corrupt heart; nor from vain thoughts; nor from sinful words; nor from sinful actions altogether; but from the damning power of sin: sin brought all men under a sentence of condemnation; Christ has bore the execution of this sentence in himself for his people; hence, as considered in him, they are free from it; and such as are born again have passed from death to life, and shall never enter into condemnation: likewise, such persons are free from the guilt of sin; men are in a legal sense arraigned for sin, accused of it, and being convicted, are pronounced guilty before God; and awakened souls have a sense of it in themselves; but the blood of Christ sprinkled on their consciences frees them from it; though fresh sins committed bring fresh guilt, which requires the continual application of the blood of Jesus for pardon and cleansing: but what is chiefly designed here is freedom from the servitude of sin, as appears from the context. Now God's elect are not released voluntarily by their former masters; nor is their freedom obtained by their own power and will; but it is of God, Father, Son, and Spirit; and the Gospel is generally the means of it, and happy are those persons who are blessed with it! They are rid of a bad master; are freed from the worst of bondage; will be no more servants, as before; are delivered from the power, and out of the kingdom of darkness; are heirs of heaven, and shall enjoy the glorious liberty of the children of God: and for the time present are

become the servants of righteousness; servants to God, whose Gospel they obey; servants to Christ, whose righteousness they submit to; and servants to the law of righteousness, as held forth by Christ; they give up themselves to a course and life of righteousness, in which there are true honour, peace, and pleasure.

Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Romans 6:18. “But, freed from sin, ye have become servants of righteousness.” This is not to be regarded as the conclusion from the two premisses, Romans 6:16-17 (Rückert, Reiche), because οὖν is not used, and because substantially the same thought was already contained in Romans 6:17. Paul rather expresses once more the happy change in his readers just described; and does so in a thoughtfully chosen antithetical form, no longer however dependent on ὁτι, but independent and thus more emphatic (hence a colon is, with Lachmann, to be inserted before ἐλευθ.). But he leaves the reader to draw for himself the conclusion, namely: this μὴ γένοιτο is therefore fully justified.

The δέ is the autem of continuation; the transition, however, is not from activity (ὑπηκούσατε) to passiveness (Hofmann, comp Th. Schott), for the latter is already given in παρεδόθητε, but from the state of the case expressed in Romans 6:17 to a striking specification, in a more precise form, of the revolution in the relation of service, which was accomplished in them.

ἀπὸ τ. ἁμαρτ.] that is, from the relation of slavery to it.

ἐδουλ. τῇ δικαιοσ.] ye have been placed in the slave-relation to righteousness; a representation of the complete dependence on the moral necessity of being righteous, implied in conversion. On the dative comp 1 Corinthians 9:19; Titus 2:3; 2 Peter 2:19. This slavery, where the δικαιοσύνη is the mistress, is consequently the true moral freedom (ἐλευθεροπρεπὲς δὲ ἡ ἀρετή, Plat. Alc. I. p. 135 C.). Comp the similar paradox in 1 Corinthians 7:22.Romans 6:18. There is no absolute independence for man; our nature requires us to serve some master.18. Being then, &c.] This verse is a brief summary, in more direct terms, of the previous two verses. The emphasis is the reality, and immediateness, of the new servitude.—“Then:”—better, But. A slight contrast of thought is indicated, between the willingness of the obedience (Romans 6:17), and the consequent obligation.

righteousness] See last note on Romans 6:16. The same reference of the word will hold good both here and there. The practical meaning thus is that pardon, as conveyed in the Divine justification, is now the (as it were) Master, the possessor of the obedience of the will; in other words, the ruling principle and motive.Romans 6:18. Ἐλευθερωθέντες, being made free) It will be of use to have this connected view of the plan of the apostle, up to the point which it has now reached:—

From this view, it is evident why Paul, in proving justification by faith alone, against those who are in doubt or error, makes frequent mention of the gift of the Holy Spirit, and of the other things, which follow as the consequences of justification. As righteousness flows from faith; adoption [sonship] accompanies righteousness; the gift of the Holy Spirit, with the cry, Abba, Father, and with newness of life, follows upon adoption; but faith and righteousness are not in themselves clearly perceived by sense; whereas the gift of the Holy Ghost produces very conspicuous and prominent [standing out palpable] effects; comp. [God] bare them witness [giving them the Holy Ghost] Acts 15:8. Farther, the surpassing excellence of these fruits, most effectually proves the worthlessness of men’s works.
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