Pastor’s Class Notes
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Romans 6:19a “I speak after the manner of men because
of the infirmity of your flesh:”
“After the manner of men” means he is using illustrations from everyday life to help get his message across. Teachers of the Gospel must simplify, illustrate, and repeat their lessons, not because people are ignorant, but rather because people are heavily influenced by sin.
Our learning infirmity is rooted in the flesh, which means all our faculties are influenced and perverted by sin. j Our problem in understanding the teachings of God is not an intellectual one, but rather a moral one.
Men do not lack intelligence. Rather, they lack spiritual desires to learn. Man’s trouble is not intellectual comprehension. Rather, it is a problem of being willing to believe and do. The desire “not to do” can cause one “not to hear.”
This is one of the most devastating effects of our old nature. It encourages us to view holiness as bondage rather than as a liberty. Hence, it dwarfs our desire for greater spiritual knowledge.
Romans 6:19b “. . .for as ye have yielded your members
servants to uncleanness and to iniquity
This is a statement regarding the former life of believers. Before salvation they gave themselves to evil. Notice that sinners voluntarily yield their members to evil. The Devil cannot force people into his service. It is this fact that justifies God in the ruin of sinners. By their own choice, they sold themselves to do wickedness.
Also, notice that the sinful life becomes a vicious circle. “Iniquity unto iniquity” means to greater and greater iniquity. Sin leads to more sin. Things just get worse and worse. The individual becomes more and more addicted to sin. Sow the wind, and you will reap a whirlwind.
Romans 6:19c “. . .even so now yield your members servants to
righteousness unto holiness.”
The key to Paul’s lesson here is contained in the words “As. . .even so now.”
He is essentially saying, “You used to use all your faculties for evil; now use them all for good–and do so with the same intensity you previously showed for evil.” Do not do good with less vigor and enthusiasm than you did evil.
You used to sin because you liked it and ;wanted to do it. Let the same motivation animate you for holiness. This is a reasonable request. It is not abnormal to expect one to serve a loving master with as much enthusiasm as he served a cruel master.
Believers should have just as much a sense of preoccupation with good as unbelievers do with carnal pleasures. Just look at the hours and hours unbelievers devote to sin. They love what they do, and devote their evenings and weekends to selfish pleasures. They gladly relinquish their leisure time to the desires of their flesh. God is ignored in everything; only self is considered.
Believers should display just an opposite mindset. God should be considered in everything; only His will matters. It is a reproach against us that we serve righteousness with less vigor than unbelievers serve sin.
We ought to be displaying enthusiasm equal to that of unbelievers, but look at us. Most of the people in a given Sunday morning worship service believe that one service is enough church activity for the whole week. What a contrast to sinners, who would never be content with only one session of sin a week.
Notice that this attitude we should have is commanded of us. Paul said, “Yield!” There is no hint of option here. The Scriptures emphasize that holiness is required, not requested. And since it is commanded, it is something we can do. Every command of Scripture carries with it a promise of power to obey.
And when we obey, we pass on to more and more holiness. “Righteousness unto holiness” implies growth and progress. Just as every sinful deed confirms a sinful habit, even so constancy in doing good will help confirm us in that good.
The faithful performance of a duty will lead to the doing of another. Victory over one sin strengthens us with a confidence that other sins can be overcome.
Romans 6:20 “For when ye were the servants of sin, ye
were free from righteousness.”
Here is the only “freedom” a lost man can boast. He is free from righteousness. God is allowed no mastery over his life.
This verse gives a classic definition of an unbeliever. He is a slave of sin, who feels no obligation toward righteousness. Just like the beasts of the field, they feel no need to discern and do the will of God.
But make no mistake! This freedom is not a liberty given by God, but rather one stolen through man’s rebellion. It is the throwing off of any allegiance to the will of God. The lost man is in rebellion against God, because the Lord is not being allowed His rightful throne.
The unregenerate man’s whole life is a screaming insult against God. No matter how good or moral a lost man appears, always remember that he is one who rejects Christ and his crucifixion.
He rejects any notion that he must lean on God for salvation. He simply lives by His own standards. He acknowledges no need of a Savior,and recognizes no obligation to conform his life to the image of Christ. The lost man can have enough goodness to impress men, but never enough to satisfy God. The world may look at a moral person and say, “Fine man!” But God looks at the same person and says, “Filthy rags!”
This displeasure of God explains why there is nothing more terrible than freedom from righteousness. To be outside the domain of righteousness means to be outside the grace of God, and nothing is more appalling than that.
Yes, free from righteousness! But who wants a freedom that allows us to burn forever in Hell? Accursed is any freedom which sends one unbridled to a lost man’s Hell.
Then why do so many choose this freedom? The enjoyment of sin is the bait which Satan uses to retain men under his power. There is pleasure in sin for a season, and Satan uses it to full advantage.
There was once a man who had the ability to lead a herd of swine. His pigs would follow him willingly wherever he went. When asked the secret of his unusual ability, he replied that the pigs followed him for the sweet food he always carried in his hand. For the sake of a few drops of sweet food, those pigs would follow that farmer no matter where he led, including a slaughterhouse. Even so, for the sake of a few sweets, men follow the Devil, ignoring the fact that the path they tread is the broad path to Hell.