Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living. Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy.Romans 6:16-19
Striving to follow the Law brought death since it was impossible to meet the standard. Now through grace we are free, but we are bought with a price and we and for those of us who believe we are now slaves to God. What does that mean? We now follow a higher standard as we are now “obedient from the heart’.
Jesus revealed the higher standard of grace:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.Matthew 5:17-20
Read the remainder of the passage (Matthew 5:7-48) to see the higher standard Christ requires for those living in obedience. He lived in a time when people used their Law to excuse their hatred for others, who used the law as an excuse to divorce and failed to love their enemies.
Paul echoes Jesus’ teaching when he gives us no wiggle room regarding our lives. We are either slaves to sin or we are slaves to righteousness. Read His words.
A life that attempts to straddle the fence is a most miserable life. It is more than frustrating. It is impossible. In the end “lawlessness leads to more lawlessness” ending in spiritual death. On the other hand, obedience leads to more obedience, sanctification and eternal life through the grace of God.