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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 6 - Verse 16

Verse 16. Know ye not, etc. The objection noticed in Ro 6:15 the apostle answers by a reference to the known laws of servitude or slavery, (Ro 6:16-20,) and by showing that Christians, who had been the slaves of sin, have now become the servants of righteousness, and were therefore bound by the proper laws of servitude to obey their new master; as if he had said, "I assume that you know; you are acquainted with the laws of servitude; you know what is required in such cases." This would be known to all who had been either masters or slaves, or who had observed the usual laws and obligations of servitude.

To whom ye yield yourselves. To whom ye give up yourselves for servitude or obedience. The apostle here refers to voluntary servitude; but where this existed, the power of the master over the time and services of the servant was absolute. The argument of the apostle is, that Christians had become the voluntary servants of God, and were therefore bound to obey him entirely. Servitude among the ancients, whether voluntary or involuntary, was rigid, and gave the master an absolute right over his slave, Lu 17:9; Joh 8:34; 15:15.


To obey. To be obedient; or for the purpose of obeying his commands.

To whom ye obey. To whom ye come under subjection. That is, you are bound to obey his requirements.

Whether of sin. The general law of servitude the apostle now applies to the case before him. If men became the servants of sin, if they gave themselves to its indulgence, they would obey it, let the consequences be what they might. Even with death, and ruin, and condemnation before them, they would obey sin. They give indulgence to their evil passions and desires, and follow them as obedient servants, even if they lead them down to hell. Whatever be the consequences of sin, yet he who yields to it must abide by them, even if it leads him down to death and eternal woe.

Or of obedience, etc. The same law exists in regard to holiness or obedience. The man who becomes the servant of holiness will feel himself bound by the law of servitude to obey, and to pursue it to its regular consequences.

Unto righteousness. Unto justification; that is, unto eternal life. The expression stands contrasted with "death," and doubtless means that he who thus becomes the voluntary servant of holiness will feel himself bound to obey it, unto complete and eternal justification and life. Comp. Ro 6:21,22. The argument is drawn from what the Christian would feel of the nature of obligation. He would obey him to whom he had devoted himself.

{y} "whom ye yield" Joh 8:34; 2 Pe 2:19

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