Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 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.
My parents thought it would be fun to bring their friends’ daughter to the arcade with us, but it would prove to be a disaster. The problems started in the car before we even got there. She would not wear her seat belt or even stay seated in the seat. Loud and largely spoiled, she was not used to having to follow many rules. Once we got there, my parents would understand what it meant to be mortified. While we took their direction in obedience, she proceeded to walk up onto the skiball machine to drop the balls in the highest scoring spot. We stood in shock as she repeated the act in defiance of my parents until an attendant came over to address her behavior. It was clear that she was not their child and would not obey them.
When we discuss slavery in this world, we all understand that this institution is not one of choice. The slave does not elect to be in that position or have any right to select a master. It is likely that we all would agree not to choose slavery for ourselves. Although slaves in this world’s system do not have the right of choice, spiritual slavery is different. The problem we have is that we are born as slaves to sin. That is our default, and all know what it is like to serve that master. However, some of us have chosen to serve another master. We can choose to be slaves to obedience, which is obedience to God, and the master we represent will be clear. The slaves to obedience will walk in righteousness as a natural consequence of that master-servant relationship.
Ours is a paradoxical slavery that actually brings freedom. We start out life being bound to sin, but the Lord allows us to exchange our chains to be bound to him. Following God in obedience to his statutes and precepts must be a choice. He draws us toward freedom, but we have to choose that, and we do so by obeying him. Obedience is not confining or controlling but is liberating. The slaves of righteousness walking in freedom walk in obedience, and that obedience is a clear sign of the master they selected. Father, give us the wisdom to choose obedience to You because we desire to taste your freedom and the fruit of righteousness that shows our belonging to You.