The paradox evident in Paul’s writing, especially in regard to God’s service, is interesting, and very uplifting. The very first time I came across the contentious verse, Romans 6:22 “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” , I had to reread the text, first written to all that be in Rome, and to me and you upon whom the end of the world has come.
Enslaved in sin
You see, Roman slaves were usually harshly treated and on the big estates were chained together like beasts.Many slaves thus escaped and roamed the country in armed bands, plundering and murdering like small armies.
Clearly, liberty is a golden prize so often sought by blood _ by those who have seen the haggard face of slavery, by those who have scorned to see the sad disgrace they were lain in, by those who have languished to respire upon her breast.
The twenty-first-century earth dweller may not fully comprehend the untold misery that old folk accounts of the slave trade and the likes of such inflicted upon humanity, as relayed by poets such as George Moses Horton and William Cullen Bryant. Yet Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, dared to speak of freedom and bondage on the same page!
In the first clause, ‘free from sin’, he labors to present the tyranny that sin holds men and women in -far much worse than that of the Egyptian Pharaohs; a detestable canker that can only be ridden of through divine healing. And thus in the inspired writ, Ellen White says:
Submitting to God
Take a keen look at the second clause: ‘and become servants to God,’ ;
The alpha of every Pauline epistle introduces the author as a servant of Jesus Christ, what a title! The total surrender to the will of God; to be used of Him; the life of fully consecrating to His work;sparing not all the silver and the gold, withholding not even a mite for His cause; is an act that God forgets not.
True freedom, even from sin, is achieved and expressed through service to God. Elsewhere in 1 Corinthians 7:22, Paul writes, “For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman. Likewise, also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.”
Fruits of holiness
In the third clause, Paul expressly says that the servant of God should bear fruit unto holiness. Thus the fruit-bearing branches that abide in the true vine, shall be known,_ by their works. If this is our testimony, that we are God’s servants, then our speech, conduct, and output, must prove that we have been with Jesus.
It is the Christian hope that buoys the bondman’s soul, that cheers the good and faithful servant of Jesus Christ while toiling here below –‘and the end everlasting life‘. However difficult the task may be while holding up the crimson-stained banner of Prince Immanuel, we may reckon with Paul that the sufferings of this present time are not worth compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. Free bondmen!