Sermon: Slavery, Wages, and Grace

Slavery, Wages, and Grace
Romans 6:20-23
March 25, 2018

It started as a brief experiment on November 8, 2016. It was only going to last a few days. But those few days have now turned into a nearly 1-1/2 year event that Erik Hagerman calls his personal “blockade.” Upset over the results of the presidential election that day, he committed to a news blockade. He would learn of nothing that happened to America after that day. James Comey. Russia. Robert Mueller. Las Vegas. The travel ban. “Alternative facts.” Parkland. Roy Moore. The Olympics and North Korea. He knows nothing about any of them. (He does watch Cleveland Cavalier basketball games, but only on mute so that he won’t receive any undesired information.)

It takes work to stay politically ignorant, as the New York Times story about him reveals:

Mr. Hagerman [who lives on a pig farm in Ohio] begins every day with a 30-minute drive to Athens, the closest city of note, to get a cup of coffee — a triple-shot latte with whole milk. He goes early, before most customers have settled into the oversize chairs to scroll through their phones. To make sure he doesnʼt overhear idle chatter, he often listens to white noise through his headphones. (He used to listen to music, “but stray conversation can creep in between songs.”)…

Last winter, Mr. Hagerman spent several weeks visiting his twin brother, a tech C.E.O., in San Francisco. Strict arrangements had to be made — the Sunday newspaper kept out of sight, the TV switched off, his teenage niece and nephew under special instructions.

“The bigger challenge was when we would have friends come over and visit,” said his brother, Kris. “We had to have Erik not be there, or we would give them a heads up that Erik has this news blockade going and we gave them the guidelines.

“They were always a little bemused by it. And to some extent a little envious,” he said. “The prospect of just chucking all that for a period of time felt somewhat appealing.” [From the New York Times, 3/22/18.]

If you are going to be ignorant, you really do have to work at it. Unfortunately, people sometimes appear to take a similar approach to the spiritual life. Unbelievers repress the truth of their sin and condition in an effort to avoid God (Rom. 1:18), and believers sometimes fail to remind themselves of the reality of their condition and they end up living contrary to their faith (6:1, 15).

In Romans 6, Paul exalts the priority of living under grace and demonstrates that living by grace always leads to obedience to God and that living by grace cannot mean living licentiously in sin. And to help the believer live that way, as he summarizes the passage in vv. 20-23, he reminds us that…

To live under grace, remember the outcomes of sin and obedience.

Paul identifies three realities the believer should remember to keep himself living obediently under grace and not rebelliously under sin.

  1. The Fruit of Enslavement to Sin (vv. 20-21)
  • Enslavement to sin never leads to righteousness
  • Enslavement to sin only produces shame
  • Enslavement to sin ultimately leads to death
  1. The Fruit of Enslavement to God (v. 22)
  • Enslavement to God never leads to sin
  • Enslavement to God only produces sanctification
  • Enslavement to God ultimately leads to life
  1. The Contrasts of Sin and Obedience (v. 23)
  • The contrast of allocations
  • The contrast of masters
  • The contrast of outcomes

Download the rest of this sermon on Romans 6:20-23.

The audio will be posted on the GBC website tomorrow morning.

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