But thank God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient with all your heart to the standard of teaching in which you were instructed and to which you were committed. And having been set free from sin, you have become the slaves of righteousness [of conformity to God’s will and purpose].
There are two invaluable nuggets of truth in this verse, which we must accept. First, we have not ourselves to thank for our obedience to God. It is God who makes it possible for us to obey Him. He seeks us, calls us, draws us near, and opens our eyes. He makes it possible for the sinful heart of man to be inclined to a Holy God. He loves us first. That we can come to a place of obedience to God is not the result of our willpower or intelligence, but of His grace.
Second, when we accept salvation, we choose a new master. We sign up to be slaves of God, slaves of righteousness and all that this brings. In doing this, we have agreed to obey God as a condition of this bargain. Our freedom from sin comes from our now being bound to God. It is not freedom to be on our own and do as we see fit. It is the liberty to live within the glorious parameters God has set for our good and for His glory.
We cannot fool ourselves into thinking that being a Christian is anything less than whole commitment to God. It is too easy to think that, as imperfect people, we should simply accept that we will fail at times. But would a just and righteous God call us to be fully committed to Him if that were not possible through His Holy Spirit imparted to us? We must understand that He only commands us to do what we indeed can accomplish through Him. Father, open our eyes to the possibility of walking in full obedience to You, and teach us how to do so even now.