Are you a free person? If so, what does freedom mean to you? Does it mean you have the desire, ability and opportunity do anything you want? If that is your definition, I have to tell you that you are not free at all. Let me illustrate what I am trying to say.
Suppose you have the opportunity to get a free parachute jump from a skydiving company, the desire to go skydiving and the ability to open a parachute but do not check whether the company which provides the service is reliable or not. During the freefall you realize that your parachute does not work. You regret the fact that you should have checked the company before making the free choice of going skydiving. If you had done it, you would find out that it was not the first time that parachutes of this company do not work resulting in the death of many people. Would you say that you are fully free in this situation? No, because you know that you are going to die and you regret the free choice you have made.
Freedom is the desire, ability and the opportunity to do what you want but without regretting your choices. But how do you make the right choices?
In this talk, I would like to look at the last verse in this chapter 6, verse 23, in help you to decide how you are going to use your “freedom” without eternal regrets, by simply choosing the right master to serve.
The master sin deceives people but the master God guides them
First, let’s look at who the masters are in this verse. Paul says that there are two masters and whether you realize it or not, everyone is a slave to one of them. Everyone lives for one of them. So the issue is not whether you have a master or not, but who your master is, Sin or God?
We were created by God to serve him forever. We created to glorify Him by making him famous for all eternity. However since the beginning of the universe, we want to be our own masters. We want all the glory for ourselves. That’s why Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they did not want to follow God’s will both rather their own.
Nowadays, some people even ignore the existence of God in order to believe that they are their own gods. The problem is that when we choose to be our own masters we automatically reject God, our creator, as our master. Did you know that the Bible calls this sin? Did you know that sin is the master of those who believe they have no master?
That is exactly what Paul tries to explain in Romans 6, when he says in verse 12: “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.” In other words, Paul is saying that being free to choose does not mean we are free from having a master. Why? Because desires, abilities and opportunities may give you the feeling that you are free, when in reality you are just doing what your master wants you to do.
I personally know many people who had the desire to take drugs but end up addicted to them becoming slaves of sin. I also know people who have the ability to forgive or love but because prefer to hate others, becoming slaves of sin. I know people who had the opportunity to become very rich but end up slaves of greed.
In all these cases, the freedom to act based on the wrong desires, abilities and opportunities resulted in slavery. So if you live to do what sin wants you to do, I have to tell you that you are a slave of sin. However if you are a servant of God he will guide to the right path as it is written, “in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” God is an expert at bringing good out of bad.
Paul knew that from personal experience. God could have kept Paul out of prison in Philippi but instead, He let Paul go to prison and the jailer became a believer as a result. Did He bring any good out of that? I’d say He did!
We can only have the right desires, abilities, and opportunities that will result in true freedom when doing what God wants us to do.
The master sin, pays wages and the master God, gives gifts
Second, let’s look at how the masters treat their servants in this verse. One master pays wages and the other gives gifts, but what is the difference? The difference between a wage and a gift is that a wage is the payment earned for your work and a gift is something you do not earn it.
Many people may think that the “wage” Paul is talking about in this passage is the pleasure sin gives to his slaves. Maybe that is the reason why many people prefer to serve sin as their master, right? However that is not what Paul is saying. He is actually highlighting that the wage of sin is death. In other words, sin is like an employer who allows you to have the pleasure of drinking a hot drink in the cafeteria, during work hours, but who does not tell you that the coffee you are having is poisoned.
Sin allows you to have pleasure but does not inform the danger of it. That is the horrible way sin treats you, but on the other hand, God treats you in totally different way. Let me give you an illustration of how God does it.
Two centuries ago in America, a slave called Joe decided to be a free man after 18 years of hard work. The issue is that, during that time, slaves did not have this option. A slave was a living possession owned by a master. But Joe refused to be owned. He refused to be a living possession. He refused to be treated as a slave and stop working for his master.
He soon began to be cruelly punished by his master who beat him many times in order to change Joe’s mind. But Joe would prefer to die than to be a slave again. Every single time his master beat him with a rod, Joe used to say, “I am not going to serve anybody else in my life.” His master then decided to sell Joe to a rich man who lived in another farm. Joe was sent on a journey to his new master and on the way kept saying, “I am not going to serve anybody else in my life.”
When Joe finally met his new master he said to him, “I am not going to serve anybody else in my life.” His new master then said, “That is exactly why I bought you Joe. I did not buy you to be a slave but to give you freedom. And I also want you to live here with me. I promise you that you are going to treat you as part of my own family, as one of my own children.” Joe could not control himself and almost crying he said, “Of course I will live here with you. No one has ever treated me like you did. I want to serve you here forever, as your own child.”
Sin will eventually pay your wage by killing you. However God, even though his slaves do not deserve, will give for free eternal life. Whose master treats better a slave, the one who pays with death or the one who gives life freely?
John Piper, a preacher, says that, “To be fully free, we must have the desire, the ability, and the opportunity to do what will make us happy forever. No regrets. And only Jesus, the Son of God who died and rose for us, can make that possible.”
Jesus died on the cross to gives the opportunity to be part of God’s family. He was raised from the dead to gives us the ability to live with God for all eternity. He calls you today, through his Holy Spirit, to give you the desire to freely choose him as saviour.
If you are not a Christian yet, I urge you to choose Jesus as your saviour and master. Jesus is our eternal parachute that is going to guarantee our safe landing. On the other hand, if you are Christian do not forget that Jesus “gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.” (Titus 2:14).
 Romans 1-7 For You, p.150