A Study of Romans 6:20

Romans 6:20
For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

Remember that “servants of sin” are those sinners who do not believe in Christ ALONE for ALL of their salvation.

“free from righteousness” means that servants of sin don’t have any (FREE FROM) righteousness.

Our text is telling us that an unbeliever has NO righteousness of their own.

If you are a servant of righteousness (trusting in Christ ALONE for ALL your salvation), you have come to see what our text says: that before as a servant of sin you had no righteousness; but now as a servant of righteousness you look to Christ ALONE for ALL your righteousness – ALL your salvation!

No matter what ANY sinner does to try to be righteous before God apart from the work of Christ – God will reject them because God requires PERFECT RIGHTEOUSNESS – perfect, sinless, satisfaction to God’s Law (His Word the Bible) and His Justice (Judgement based on His Law).

God requires perfection – Jesus said:

Matthew 5:48
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Do we see the STANDARD of perfection that God requires?

“…even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”.
(Matthew 5:48)

We can’t give it: “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

All by nature (what we are naturally – sinners) are cursed:

Galatians 3:10
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

God says no one can be saved by their works:

Romans 3:20
Therefore by the deeds of the law (our works or efforts to be righteous before God) there shall no flesh be justified (declared righteous) in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Left to ourselves, we are just servants of sin on our way to hell. But God has a people He has set aside for Himself. Christ came and made an atonement (satifaction for sin) for them and saved them:

Isaiah 53:11
He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my (God’s) righteous (perfect) servant (Christ) justify (save) many; for he shall bear their iniquities (sins).

God’s people by the Holy Spirit will believe this gospel in God’s time:

Psalm 110:3
Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power,

Psalm 65:4
Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.

God’s own testimony tells us that even religious people cannot meet the standard of righteousness required by God: Jesus spoke of the scribes and Pharisees – the most religious people in His day:

Matthew 5:20
For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed (go beyond) the righteousness of the scribes (those who studied the Bible) and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus again said:

Matthew 7:21
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 7:22
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied (declared God’s Word) in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

Matthew 7:23
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

What did they do wrong?

They thought they were righteous by their works (those who believe in the free will gospel believe this too as they believe that their decision makes the difference between salvation and damnation) and God rejected them.

So let’s look again at our text:

Romans 6:20
For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

Apart from Christ there is no righteousness God accepts. Jesus said:

John 15:5
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (nothing pleasing to God)

If you are a servant of righteousness: trusting in Christ ALONE for ALL your salvation, then God has given you what we will study in Romans 6:21 in our next study: “repentance unto life”.

If you are still a servant of sin and are one of God’s people: consider what it takes to enter heaven; we just read it in Matthew 7:21:

Matthew 7:21
…he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

What is the Father’s will?

Jesus tells us plainly:

John 6:29
Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

Those who BELIEVE ON HIM (Christ) do the Father’s will and will be accepted by God.

By Craig Miklosik

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