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Romans 6:16-23

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 16 Do you not know that to whom you yield yourselves as slaves to obey, you are the slaves of whom you obey; whether of sin that leads to death, or of obedience that leads to righteousness?5 [Obedience leads to being righteous. Without obedience, listening to and obeying the Word of God in your heart, you are a slave to sin. Jesus strongly confirms this: Truly, Truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. John 8:34. We through the Spirit, by faith, patiently wait for the hope of righteousness. Gal 5:5]

 17 But thanks be to God that though you were previously the slaves of sin, you have obeyed from the heart the fullness of teaching given to you.6 [They obeyed the teachings of repentance and denying their will on the inward cross as they walked in the steps of faith to become free of sin; their faith was operational, not just the lip service of the hypocrites.]

 18 Having then been set free from sin, you became the slaves of righteousness.7 [He is speaking to very mature Christians, who have suffered on the cross to be free with sin; but they can still fall to temptation if they are not watchful because they have not received the second step of perfection: to be born of God and unable to sin again because the Father protects them. 1 John 3:9, 1 John 5:18, John 10:29. A slave of righteousness does only what he is ordered to do and says only what he hears from the Spirit immediately before speaking.]

 19 I speak in terms of men because of the weakness of your flesh. As you previously yielded your body to the slavery of uncleanness and from wickedness to wickedness; so now yield your body to the slavery of righteousness that results in holiness.8 [The slavery of righteousness is to only speak and act in obedience to the commands you hear spoken by the Holy Spirit.]

 20 For when you were the slaves of sin, you were free from the rule of righteousness.

 21 What fruit [benefit] did you have in those things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.

 22 But now being made free from sin, and having become slaves to God, you have the fruit [reward] of holiness, and at the end, everlasting life.9 [To be a slave to God does not mean you go to Bible College or Seminary; that would be totally counter productive. To be a slave to God is to follow the Spirit's continual guidance and commands that you hear and see — but to your supreme joy of sharing in his works of love. Every word and every action is virtuous and perfect because God prompts them; you are doing his will on earth as it is done in heaven by the angels, as you remain in whatever is your current, honest occupation. See this verse's footnote for a more detailed explanation.]

 23 For the wages of sin are death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. [The word is near you, even in your mouth, and in your heart (so you may obey it); that is, the word of faith, which we preach. So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Christ speaking to you from within your heart). Rom 10:8,17. To receive the gift of eternal life is to have heard many words spoken from Christ within your heart, which words you hear are engrafted in your heart, James 1:21; and which words you hear him speak to you are life-giving, John 6:63; which life that is given is Jesus, who is the life; thereby forming Christ in you, Gal 4:19; until Christ is fully formed and actually raised in you to be your true Lord in thought, word, and deed. To receive Christ, the eternal life of God, is as Paul said, "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me." Gal 2:20.

This is the life that Adam lost in his fall in the garden, when he was cut off from the tree of life; men then became dead to the life of God. You enter paradise to once again eat from the tree of life, being translated into the Kingdom of Heaven while on earth. Union and eternal life come with the second step of perfection, described in detail in the Footnote to Gal 5:24. All this is to be experienced, not presumed in high notions.]

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9 now being made free from sin, and having become slaves to God, you have the fruit [reward] of holiness, and at the end, everlasting life.

made free from sin
:

Made free from sin is not make-believe or presumed or imputed; made free from sin not forgiveness; made free from sin is not just to be free from the guilt of sin.
Made free from sin is to be free from even the desire to sin. To be delivered from sin is what it means to be saved.
And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name JESUS, for he shall save his people from their sins. Mat 1:21
He who commits sin is of the devil, for the devil sinned from the beginning.
For this purpose the Son of God is revealed [in us], that he might destroy [in us] the works [sin] of the devil
. 1 John 3:8

Through the spirit of God's conviction of your sins and it's removal of sin from your heart, you mortify the sin in you body.

Jesus told us he could free us from sin:
If you abide [continue] in [obedience to] my word [teachings and commands heard], then you are truly my disciples;
And [then] you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Truly, Truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.
Therefore if the Son makes you free, you are truly free. John 8:31-32,34,36


And if you wait on God, watch, and listen, the Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth, John 16:13, to know the truth and become free — free of sin.

having become the slaves to God:

You are a slave to God when you follow the Spirit's continual guidance and commands — but to your supreme joy of sharing in his works of love.
To be a slave to God is to fulfill what you have prayed a thousand times: "your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."
As the angels do His will in heaven, so do you do your Father's will on the earth.
You walk in total obedient love to the promptings of God, just like Jesus walked the earth:

Of myself I can do nothing. I judge only as I hear, John 5:30
for I have not spoken of myself, but from the Father who sent me and commanded me what I should say and what I should speak. John 12:49-50
The Son can do nothing of Himself (by his own will), but only does what he sees the Father do. John 5:19
He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory;
but he who seeks the glory of the One who sent him,
that man is true, and there is no unrighteousness in him. John 7:18.

To be a slave to God is to be a slave to virtue, wisdom, mercy, kindness, gentleness, patience, humility, and goodness — with eternal peace and joy.
Your joy is to know that every word you speak, every action you take, is perfect because you are following the perfect instructions of your perfect God.
Every action, every word is of love, is totally virtuous, serves your fellow man to the greatest degree possible, honors your creator, serves the creation, pleases your creator, and yields your supreme joy.

God's grace and salvation are provided to create a people dedicated to good works:
That you might walk worthy of the Lord, pleasing in all things, being fruitful in every good work. Col 1:10
Paul said, "The purpose of grace.. to purify a peculiar people zealous for good works." Titus 2:11-14
Paul states God's purpose in salvation: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. Eph 2:10
Now the God of peace... Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you what is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ. Heb 13:20-2
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Mat 5:16
For it is God who brings forth in you, both the desire, and the work according to his good pleasure. Phil 2:13
But he who practices truth comes to the light, so that his deeds may be shown to have been produced [effected, formed, prompted, energized] through God. John 3:21

your present reward is holiness,

You have never experienced happiness until you experience holiness. Richard Claridge, an outstanding early Quaker, profoundly wrote:

"The real happiness of man consists in being truly religious, or holy, in our measures, as God is holy; for holiness and happiness are so nearly related, that the one cannot be, or subsist, without the other. Holiness is happiness begun, and happiness is holiness in perfection."

and at the end, everlasting life:

If you remain watchful, you advance to the second stage of perfection, (See the footnote to Gal 5:24). You become a partaker of the divine nature, becoming born again in union with God, possessing Jesus Christ, the life of God, which everlasting life has no beginning or end. You come to the beginning and see to the beyond.

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