One of our school’s 60 memory verses is Romans 6:23. For the day we were looking at this verse, the assignment was to read Romans 6:23 in context. I let them students pick if they wanted to read the whole chapter, or just read some of the verses preceding and following it. The prompt was to write a reflective journal on their reading. They could write if reading Romans 6:23 in context added any additional meaning to the verse for them. They all had study bibles and I shared that if a verse or section stood out to them or led them to have questions, that they could read the footnotes and share what they learned. I also prompted them to consider looking up cross-references for verses that they wanted to learn more about. Finally, I gave the option of making an application journal, writing law and gospel applications for their lives, a practice we did with the memory verses last year. Here are a few of the journal posts from one of my classes:
1.) Romans 6:23 in context is a closing statement to, in my opinion, an excellent essay on the meaning of Christianity; that we, being saved, are to go on sinning no more. I believe Paul, who wrote it, makes an excellent case that having been saved by grace we are to go on living no more in sin but accept righteousness, as exemplified by his question, “how can a man live in his death?”
I also believe it makes an excellent case for the Reformed theology as well. As we were slaves to sin, we are now counted as “slaves to righteousness”; irresistible grace. It also offers a strong caution against those who proclaim that because they are saved, they may live on in the way they had, like adulterers, homosexuals and addicts; “Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God.”
We should look to this passage and this chapter as a guideline for our Christianity. Do we aspire to conquer our sin, or do we continue to be mastered by our own humanity?
2.) I think Romans chapter 6 is somewhat of a downer. It says that we use to be slaves to sin and that now we basically should be happy because we are now slaves to another master; righteousness. I think it would be better described not as slavery, because in my opinion that is not really what being righteous is. But, Romans 6:23 makes me feel a lot better because that righteousness is a gift, and not a form of slavery, and I think that is a better way to portray it; a gift of eternal life from Jesus Christ, and not a form of slavery.
3.) Death to Sin, Alive in Christ
“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too many life a new life.” The verse says it all. We are given new life because Christ had died for us. “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” We don’t have to earn it; we just have to have faith.
Slaves to Righteousness
“Whether you are slaves to sin which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, through you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted…When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.” God has freed us from the control from righteousness. We were once slaves to sin but God had saved us. There are so many verses in the Bible that tell us how if we sin, and do not have faith in God, we are not saved. But if we have the gift of God, which is salvation, it is by faith we are saved. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
How can one believe that we have to do good works to get to heaven? It is right here in the bible. God is telling us we are saved through faith. It is a gift. We do not have to earn it. “The gift of God is eternal life…” It says it is a gift. We do not have to earn this gift. It also says that the wages of sin is death. If we do not let God take control or have faith in him and know he is forgiving, then we will not be dead forever.
4.) Proverbs 10:16 “The wages of the righteous bring them life, but the income of the wicked brings them punishment.” Proverbs 10:16 and Romans 6:23 are parallel verses with the same meaning. They are both talking about how we deserve death for our sin, but we are saved by the righteousness of God. I liked Romans 6: 21 which says: “What benefit did you reap at the time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!” I liked this verse because it’s pointing out how useless the things of this earth our, and how our sinful desires bring us nothing but death in the long run.
5.) I really like verse 19.
“I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.”
I like when it says “I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves.” It shows that we are sinful and cannot even begin to understand God’s love for us and how much we mean to him even though we are all terrible people.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
That is our verse and it shows perfectly matching with the verse I liked earlier in the chapter, that we are sinful but God saves us always.
6.) The passage is talking about how weak we are as humans. We are enslaved to sin and those sins that we have committed had maybe felt good at the time, but in the end they result in death. It then says that now we have been freed from sin and are of God now and instead of death, we will reap holiness. We are dead in our sins, but through Jesus Christ, we are set free and have the hope of eternal life, and that is so comforting. Knowing that I am dead in my sins and alive in Christ gives me hope that I can get through life and enter into Heaven and leave this sin behind. I think 6:23 points us to our baptism. We lay down in death with Jesus, but resurrect with him when we come out of the water. When we are baptized, we are clothed in his righteousness and are made holy in God’s eyes, which is what this chapter is talking about. I looked up cross-references in Matthew and Ezekiel, and they both talk about being dead, but having eternal life. It’s amazing to see this concept throughout the Bible, even in the Old Testament.
7.) Romans 6 is all about slavery concerning if you are a slave to sin or to righteousness. You’re either a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness. If you are a slave to something or someone that means you obey them, “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey-…” If we are slave to sin we inherit death but if we are slaves to righteousness we inherit life, “The wages of the righteous bring them life, but the income of the wicked brings them punishment.” Proverbs 10:16