A Study Of Romans 6:17
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.
“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin”: by nature and by practice we are all servants of sin:
1) By nature: we were seen as sinners before we were ever born.
We inherited the sin nature from Adam (the first man upon the earth): “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” (Romans 5:12).
2) By practice – we sin because we are sinnners: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23).
“But God be thanked” because: “ye have obeyed from the heart”: Obey means believe, trust. The heart here does not mean our organ which pumps blood; the heart here means our mind, emotions, and will. “ye”: this is a personal, individual belief. “from the heart”. Let’s look at God’s description of the heart apart from the Holy Spirit: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9); the world says: “trust your heart”, but God says: “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26).
God has to give His people a new heart: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26).
Praise God: “but God be thanked” that He gives His people a new heart: in the power of the Holy Spirit in the new birth (born again) – that mind, and emotion, and will looks to Christ for ALL of salvation!
“That form of doctrine”: The Holy Spirit gives God’s people the new birth which enables them to believe that form of doctrine.
“That form of doctrine” is the gospel!
What is the gospel?
The gospel is the good news of salvation conditioned on Christ ALONE: WHO Christ is, and WHAT Christ has done for His people.
The gospel is God’s promise to His people that He will save them, keep them in a state of salvation, and entitle them to all inheritances in heaven ALL based on Christ and Him crucified!
Christ’s coming, living, dying, resurrecting, and intercessing- the gospel is the good news of salvation in Christ and Him ALONE!
The gospel is:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (non Jews).
For therein (in the gospel) is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
The gospel, accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit shows the elect sinner that “The righteousness of God” is Jesus Christ!
“Which was delivered you”: the gospel is to be sent out
2) Corporately (a local congregation).
Individually: “Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16).
Corporately: Jesus said: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15).
If one believes the gospel, they WERE the servants of sin (unregenerate, an unbeliever); but GOD BE THANKED they have obeyed the gospel and are now servants of righteousness (regenerate, a believer – trusting in Christ ALONE for ALL their salvation!
So which one are you: a servant of sin, or a servant of righteousness?
God’s promise to His elect who are still servants of sin (still in unbelief): “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.” (Psalm 86:5).
If you find yourself a servant of righteousness – believing on Christ ALONE for ALL of salvation: “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” (2 Corinthians 9:15)
By Craig Miklosik