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.
There are two fundamental aspects of slavery that dictate that the one under servitude is no longer free. First, the master is the owner. The slave is no longer his own but now belongs to another. This is no different than the ownership of property. Once a slave, a person now loses his identity. He is thought of only in relationship to the master. The slave is no longer an individual because he has gone from being a person to a piece of property. Second, the master is in control. Any autonomy that the slave previously had is no more. He now exists to serve another. The slave’s actions are determined not by himself but by the one he serves. Without his identity or his autonomy, a slave has lost all freedom. This is the case for those who are slaves to sin just as we were. What they believe is their freedom to be disobedient and do as they please is no freedom at all.
When God sets us free from sin through Jesus Christ, a strange thing happens. The freedom we obtain makes us slaves again. However, we go from being slaves to sin to being slaves to righteousness. This is a kind of slavery that is completely foreign to mankind. That is because slavery to righteousness is true freedom. It is freedom from sin and bondage and death and eternal separation from God. Being bound to the Father, Son and Spirit is completely liberating because it breaks the chains that exist only to destroy us. Being in servitude to the most high God who created us in his image and loves us enough to sacrifice his only Son for our redemption is nothing like being in servitude to the enemy of our souls who desires only evil for us. Slavery to righteousness is the only remedy that releases us from being slaves to sin. It is servitude that sets the spirit free.
We are all slaves to something or someone. We cannot decide to be neutral in this world and exist outside of the spiritual reality around us. We are born in a flawed and deadly condition that has us under the power of sin and the enemy. It is a bondage that many never recognize, but it is nevertheless true. If we simply consider what the wise decision would be, it is obvious that severing the ties that bind us to death in order to bind us to life is the decision we should make. Yes, when we are slaves to righteousness we become slaves to God. But this master is a benevolent master. Servitude to God is a joy because it liberates us from that which would bring only destruction. Father, thank You for breaking the bonds of sin in our lives, and make us joyful servants for your kingdom.