Magnificent Manumission

Manumission \man-ye-’mish-en\ n (fr. Latin manumissio): the act or process of formal emancipation from slavery.

We are either slaves of sin or slaves of God. There is no third alternative. You can call it different things. But it boils down to this: we serve sin or we serve God. Sin reigns or God reigns.

Therefore Romans 6 describes conversion as a change of slavemasters. “Thanks be to God that you who were once slaves of sin . . . have become slaves of God” (verses 17-18).

But watch out! Don’t carry over all the implications of sin-slavery to God-slavery. There are radical dissimilarities. Consider these crucial verses.

(20) When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. (21) But then what fruit did you get from the things of which you are now ashamed? The end of those things is death. (22) But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life. (23) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Old Slavery New “Slavery”

Slavemaster is sin (20)
Free from righteousness (20)
Fruit? None! (21)
The final end? Death (21)
The master pays wages (23)
The wage is death (23)

Slavemaster is God (22)
Free from sin (22)
Fruit? Sanctification (22)
The final end? Eternal life (22)
The master gives gifts (23)
The gift is eternal life (23)

There is a radical break down in the parallels here. The whole concept of slavery as we know it is blown out of the water when God becomes the “Slavemaster.”

The old slavemaster pays wages, but God gives gifts. “The wages of sin . . . but the free gift of God . . .” This is all important! We do not relate to God as wager-earners. We relate to him as gift-receivers. Our “slave-role” is not working for wages, but walking where the gifts are. Which means walking by faith.

Why didn’t Paul answer his own question in verse 21, ‘What fruit did you get from the things of which you are not ashamed?”? The answer is that sin does not bear fruit; it demands works and pays wages. But when you are a “slave” of God “the fruit you get is sanctification” and the “payoff” for this by God is not a wage but a free gift, eternal life.

So our new “Slavemaster” does not demand “work,” he produces fruit. And he does not pay wages for work; he gives gifts in reward for his own fruit. And the gift is eternal life, while the only wage a sinner can earn is death. Beware of a wage-relation to God. There is no such thing. The master in spiritual wage-relations is always sin. And the wage is always death.

In view of this Magnificent Manumission may I urge you to the obvious: “Do not yield your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but yield yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness” (verse 13).

Pastor John

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