The Unwanted Freedom
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Romans 620 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from
This is a classic definition of lostness. The only freedom unbelievers have is freedom from righteousness. They give God no mastery over their life. Slaves to sin, they feel no obligation toward righteousness, and no need to discern or do Gods will.
This freedom is not a liberty given by God, but one stolen through our rebellion. It is the throwing off of any allegiance to the will of God. A lost person is in rebellion against God, because the Lord is not being allowed His rightful throne.
An unbelievers life affronts God. However good or moral lost people appear, always remember they are rejecting Christ and his crucifixion.
They refuse any notion they must lean on God for salvation. They simply live by their own standards, acknowledging no need of a Savior, and recognizing no obligation to conform their life to the image of Christ. Lost people can have enough goodness to impress others, but never enough to satisfy God.
This displeasure of God explains why nothing is 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.
Who wants a freedom that allows us to be separated from God forever Accursed is any freedom that sends us into a Christless eternity.
Why do many choose this freedom Satan uses the fun of sin as bait to retain people under his power. There is pleasure in sin for a season, and Satan uses it to full advantage.
Romans 621 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now
ashamed For the end of those things is death.
Paul asked the Roman Christians to act as prosecuting attorneys against their own pasts. He wanted them to judge themselves, and ponder, What worthwhile results were produced by your past sins, the sins you now are ashamed of
A life ruled by sin ends in death, everlasting separation from God. This is a heavy price to pay for anything. Paul wants to know, What do you have to show for it now He wants the tribunal of their heart to pass its own self-condemning verdict.
This verse is a devastating analysis of lives ruled by sin. It is Pauls expose of the life lived by all unbelievers. The end of it is death, and the living of it yields two characteristics. One, fruitlessness.
What fruit had ye then The answer is, Nothing worthwhile. Nothing worthy of the name fruit is ever gained by service to sin. There were no positive contributions from it it produced nothing of value. The sinful life is a fruitless life.
Whatever we buy with sin is not worth the price we pay for it. Since it costs so much, sin ought to produce much that is worthwhile. For a person to work hard in sin, and then have nothing to show for it, is foolish Yet this is the case. The history of wicked nations, families, and individuals is a story of vanity purchased at a high price. What do swearers gain by profanity What do drinkers gain by the cup What does the adulterer gain by uncleanness What do the angry gain by their temper
What fruit do people have to show for these deeds Doing these things compromises convictions, contradicts the Bible, displeases God, and annoys others. This is a heavy price to pay.
The most obvious answer that could be offered is Pleasure. No one can deny this. Even the Bible says there is temporary pleasure in sin (HB 1125).
Its luster, though, is at best momentary. It flees quickly, leaving no lasting sense of satisfaction. The pleasures of evil disperse quickly, as do the bubbles in a carbonated beverage. After a sin is committed, it is as hard to find its pleasures as it is to trace the path of an arrow. Both disappear quickly.
Sin is more fun by contemplation than in consummation. If we felt the long-range results of sin before we committed it, temptation would lose its appeal. Sins main product is fruitlessness.
Two, sin produces shame. Believers look with shame on their former lifestyle in sin. Believers blush to consider their former ingratitude for their crucified Savior.
Former days embarrass a believer. The deeds are past, but the shame is present. Even after sin is forgiven, shame lingers. God forgives us, but our memories mingle pain with our joyful remembrance of forgiveness. Our old nature wants us to remember our evils to keep us from forgiving ourselves.
Some believers let their old natures win this battle. They let haunting torments of inner regret drive them to despair. They feel so guilty that they consider themselves castaways, and give up efforts to serve Christ.
Dear friend, take heart. The fact you feel ashamed when you remember these past things gives evidence you truly have been converted.
The evil glory in their shame (Phil. 318), but believers glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus (Gal. 614). If you are ashamed of your sins, and proud of the cross, Praise God It gives evidence a work of grace has been performed in your heart.
This shame, consciously felt in a believer, is also planted, in embryo form, in unbelievers. A natural shame rises from sin. This caused Adam to hide immediately after he sinned. This inherent restraint and shame are a blessing. They are gifts from God to enable people to live in society. Without it, Earth would be Hell.
It is no accident people prefer to do evil deeds under the cover of night and darkness. Taverns rarely turn all the lights on. Darkness is the natural element of evil. This proves even evildoers themselves often confess there is an inherent shamefulness in what they are doing.
They usually do not want everyone to know what they are doing in their looser moments. The fact they do not want to be discovered reveals their own true feelings toward what they are doing. Even evil people want their best self to be their most exposed self. Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue.
This inherent sense of shame is a nagging problem to the evildoer. This explains why so much evil is connected with alcohol. It helps drown the inner sense of restraint. The senses often have to be dulled before people can enjoy their sins. Sinners want to destroy anything that might stop them from doing evil.
They also want to avoid anyone who might encourage their natural feelings of restraint. Wicked people enjoy other wicked people. This lets them rebuke each others inner restraints. It is as if sinners need help convincing themselves to do evil.
God placed shame on evil. We may laugh at evildoers and pal around with them, but rarely are they honored. Walter Reed is highly esteemed because his efforts against Yellow Fever saved many lives who will ever so honor an abortionist Imagine being honored for snuffing out thousands of lifetimes in one lifetime. Reed has a medical center named for him. Would any honorable physicians want an abortion clinic named in their honor
A beer magnate may be honored for his philanthropy and civic functions, but who will erect a monument to what he did as his main occupation Can any sensible person not help but confess that his product damaged more lives than his philanthropy helped God places shame on evil, and as long as there is any semblance of shame, there is hope. Beware the loss of natural shame When we lose our sense of inner restraint and shame, ultimate depravity is displayed.
God uses shame to restrain us from evil, but ceases to plead when He pleads in vain. At length, a sinner is given over to a reprobate mind the inner light becomes total darkness.
Before the destruction of Jerusalem, Jeremiah assessed the sinners of his day Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination Nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush (Jer. 812). There is still hope as long as we can blush, for it proves there is still a level of restraint within. When people no longer feel shame, when evil is reckoned as good and vileness is viewed as praiseworthy, everything decent has died within. It is better to be a hypocrite than a person with zero shame. The sinner who has lost all shame is an incarnate devil.
It is sad that some people cannot be happy until they have reduced themselves to the level of animals living according to responses based solely on impulses and desires. If we reach this point, we squelch the very capacity that separates humans from beasts. I fear this phenomenon is becoming too common in our society. May God bless us with a proper sense of shame.