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.
— Romans 6:17
Would you like to more fully appreciate how the grace of God has changed you? Why not take a little time today to recall what your spiritual condition was like before His grace touched your life? As you do that, I think you’ll realize that before Jesus Christ came into your heart, life was doomed to failure. In fact, it was so unpromising that Romans 6:17 says you were, in reality, a “servant” to sin.
When Paul writes that we were previously the servants of sin, he uses the Greek word doulos, one of the most wretched expressions for a slave in the ancient Greek language. It described a servant who was so totally sold into slavery that he had no destiny of his own; rather, he was perpetually obligated to do the bidding of his owner — fulfilling the whims, impulses, quirks, urges, and desires of his master for the rest of his life.
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In other words, the word doulos depicts one whose very existence is to fulfill the commands of his master. Or as one expositor explained, the word portrays one whose will is completely swallowed up in the will of another.
This is the word Paul uses to describe our slavery to sin before Jesus came into our lives. Paul is saying that prior to our salvation experience, we were completely consumed, swallowed up, devoured, and engulfed in the will of Satan. We may have thought we were in charge of our lives; we may have assumed we were “calling the shots” ourselves. But in reality, you and I were in the grip of sin, and our sin nature was controlling our lives and destinies. We were like captives sold into the depravity of slavery. As the slaves of sin, our destinies were being masterminded by an unseen, diabolical spirit that wanted to destroy us.
Because of the word doulos in Romans 6:17, one section of this verse could be taken to read:
“…In the past you were the wretched slaves of sin — sold out entirely to sin — and you had no ‘say-so’ about your life, your future, or your desires. At that time, your entire existence on earth was centered around fulfilling the whims, impulses, quirks, urges, and desires of your master — sin….”
Our prior slavery to Satan was so deeply rooted in our nature that we became inseparable from the sinful nature that so constantly worked in us and controlled us. Indeed, this pervading demonic presence in our lives was so absolute and supreme that Paul described it this way in Ephesians 2:2: “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.”
In Greek, the word “worketh” is the word energeo. The word energeo denotes a force that is energizing. In fact, this is where we get the word energy.
By choosing to use this word, the Holy Spirit is vividly portraying how destitute our spiritual condition was before you and I were born again. It plainly means that prior to our salvation experience, we were energized by the spirit that works in all the sons of disobedience. The devil himself used to have authorization to accomplish his destructive will in our lives. Because we were his slaves, he could do whatever he wanted with us.
But when Jesus Christ came into our lives, we were immediately emancipated — totally set free! Because of this, we are no longer servants to sin; now we are servants of the Almighty God.
The evil spirits that once exacted every ounce of your being and required your all-inclusive servitude no longer possess the authorization to control you or to dictate your destiny. Now Jesus is your Lord. Now it is the Spirit of God who works in you and supernaturally energizes you to fulfill God’s will in your life. You have a new Master, and His name is Jesus! You have a new Source of energy on the inside — the power of the Holy Spirit!
Refuse to let sin have its way in your life any longer. Yes, you were a servant to sin in the past, but now you are a servant of Jesus Christ. So tell the devil to hit the road and take his temptations elsewhere! It’s time for you to yield to the Holy Spirit so He can mightily release His divine power in you and give you the energy you need to live a life of obedience to God!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I thank You for coming into my life and for breaking the power of sin that used to hold me captive. I remember the futility I felt as I tried to change myself but couldn’t do it. But when You came into my life, everything changed! I praise You for loving me so much that You left Heaven and descended into a world filled with sin and depravity. You did that for me, and I thank You so much!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that I am free because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The shedding of His blood paid the ransom for me. The hold Satan used to have on me is broken, and I am liberated and set free! Now God’s divine power operates mightily in me, and I have authority over the enemy who used to control me!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. What were some of the sinful impulses and desires you were set free from when Jesus came into your life?
2. Are you continuing to walk in the freedom from sin that Jesus Christ gave you?
3. Why not take time right now to ask the Holy Spirit to release His divine power in you so you can walk in greater obedience to the will of God?