As the USA celebrates Independence Day, the Savior’s statement in today’s passage rings especially true. Our history tells us that independence from tyranny’s oppression did not remove our responsibility to live under law as free men and women. It is a self-defeating premise and pursuit that declares liberty is freedom from the restraint of law. Free men and women understand and want the protection and constraints that law provides against evil (Rom 13:3-5). Those who seek good know that law serves good purposes (1 Tim. 1:8-11). Freedom from sin’s bondage, tyranny, and death is available through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Obeying the gospel from the heart ends our slavery to sin, not so we can declare ourselves free from every restraint, but so we may become “slaves of righteousness” (Rom. 6:17-18). The truth, the word of Jesus, marks the boundary of our liberty in Christ (2 Jno. 9; Gal. 1:6-10). We are “under the law of Christ” (1 Cor. 9:21, ESV). The gospel of Christ declares our freedom from sin and defines our life of freedom in Christ to serve righteousness according to His word of truth.
17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” (Romans 6:17–18, NKJV)
Independence Day. We are not talking about July 4, but an even greater day on which freedom is not only declared, but obtained. We are talking about the day the sinner is “set free from sin” and from sin’s death (v. 18, 23). It is very troubling that so many people cannot identify the Bible’s Independence Day from sin (the day of salvation). This passage helps. When these sinners “obeyed from the heart” the gospel of Christ (“that form of doctrine”) they were “set free from sin”. Their Independence Day occurred when they obeyed the teaching of the gospel. The gospel (“that form of doctrine”) commands the lost to believe the gospel, to repent of sins and to be baptized in order to be saved (read each of these gospel commandments, Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 2:38). Did you think you were freed from sin without obeying Jesus? If so, the call of the gospel is still being delivered to you. Obey the gospel of Jesus now to be freed from your sin.