The Fruit of Righteousness
“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Rom. 6:22).
In last month’s article, we began to look into what happens to the believer when they are being controlled by the sin nature—the nature that is completely contrary to God—and it never ends well for anyone who is being dominated by the sin nature.
For the unbeliever, that life leads to misery, shame, heartache, and ultimately death—both spiritually and physically. For the believer, it doesn’t mean that the individual in question will lose their soul, but it does mean that they will not enjoy all of the benefits that Christ paid for on Calvary’s Cross.
Many in the Christian world only know what it is to be controlled by something that causes them to do things that they do not want to do, and they do not understand how to stop it. They struggle to live a holy life, a life pleasing to the Lord, but they do not know exactly how that can be done.
Today I have good news: you as a believer can live a life of complete and total victory over sin! Once the believer understands God’s prescribed order of victory, he or she can experience fruit unto righteousness instead of having fruit unto death.
GOD’S PRESCRIBED ORDER OF VICTORY
Before we get into what Paul is saying in verse 22 of Romans, Chapter 6, I want to briefly explain what God’s prescribed order of victory is and what it means.
The first thing that we need to know about God’s prescribed order of victory is that Jesus Christ is the source of all blessings. He is the source from whence all blessings flow, and there is no other avenue that can bring about blessings. No other person, no other ideology, no other man-made religion or philosophy can bring about any blessings to its followers.
Every good thing that happens to the believer comes from Jesus Christ; every one of us would shout over that, and rightly so. But we need to take it one step further, for as Christ is the very source of all blessings, the question remains as to how we receive these blessings. Christ is the source and the Cross of Christ is the means by which we receive all blessings. In fact, the Cross is the greatest blessing that could happen to anyone, for it was at the Cross that all sin, past, present, and future was atoned.
It was through the Cross of Christ that I am able to experience salvation, healing, deliverance, and so forth. The blessings of God could not be poured out on mankind if it were not for the Cross, for this is the way that man was brought back into right relationship with God. Some may get a little uneasy about this statement, but the fact is that the Cross of Christ is the greatest display of the grace of God that man has ever known. It is because of the Cross that all—at least those who are born again—can experience blessings unparalleled from their heavenly Father. Christ is the source of all blessing, and the Cross is the means by which we receive all blessings.
The third step to this little formula is faith. We appropriate these blessings through the avenue of faith, but more importantly, faith in Christ and Him crucified. Without faith, Paul would say in Hebrews, it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). He didn’t say that it was improbable; he said it is impossible. God operates on the basis of faith, but our faith must be anchored and rooted in Christ and the Cross.
Lastly, once our faith is anchored in Christ and the Cross, the Holy Spirit will begin to oversee everything, meaning that He will begin to work in our lives to take out the bad and put in the good. Just because the Holy Spirit is God does not mean that His help is automatic, it’s quite the opposite really.
The Holy Spirit, even though He is God, will only properly work in our lives if our faith is anchored in Christ and the Cross (Rom. 8:2) and will not work outside of those parameters. This is how the believer can live a life pleasing to the Lord—by faith in Christ and the Him crucified, which gives the Holy Spirit the ability to work in our lives in the way that He sees fit, and will bring about the victory that is needed.
As Paul brought about what the former life brought about, he concludes his statements by saying, “But now…” meaning that before you accepted Christ, the path that all were heading on was leading toward destruction, but now, since you came to Christ, things are going to be different! I love these two words—but now—because we all, at least all who are saved, can relate to them. We can remember the life we used to live, but now things are different, we are no longer heading in that direction and we are no longer experiencing fruit unto death, but since we have accepted Christ, we are now experiencing fruit unto righteousness.
Holiness is simply living a holy life, and is the total opposite of iniquity. This direction Paul gives is the same principle as before in the previous verses, but now it’s going in the opposite direction. Instead of iniquity leading to iniquity, which is dragging someone down, now, due to the Cross of Christ, they are now going upward. I want you to understand that. Instead of going downward, which is where sin will lead you, you are now heading ever upward.
Upward because of Christ.
Upward because of the Cross.
Upward because of faith.
And as a result of this change, the power of the indwelling sin nature has been broken, and we no longer yield our members towards unrighteousness, but now we can yield them to righteousness unto holiness, and the only requirement is that we follow Christ.
BEING A SERVANT OF GOD
Another aspect of living for the Lord is that the individual becomes a servant of God. I know that most would look at this term in a negative way, but when it comes to being a Christian, it becomes such a privilege to be known as a servant of God. A servant speaks of being a slave but not in a negative way. In the Old Testament, you will find that a slave who was given his freedom would decline that freedom to stay where he was. He did it for a specific reason; he did it because he loved his master. In turn, the slave was granted protection, safety, security, and was treated so well that he felt he would have more freedom in serving his master than he would by living on his own outside of the master’s home. To demonstrate commitment to his master, the freed slave would take an awl and pierce his ear.
If it was like that then, how much better we have it now because, as Paul would say, we have a better covenant based on better promises. We have protection, safety, and security in Christ. We will experience more freedom living for Christ than not, and we do it because of His love for us and because of our love for Him. I would much rather be known as a servant of God than a servant of the Devil. As they say, our worst day serving the Lord is 10,000 times better than an entire lifetime with the Devil.
BEING MADE FREE FROM SIN
This is something that we need to understand, and I speak of living a victorious life in Christ. Every believer has the potential to live this more abundant life, yet so many fail to avail themselves of experiencing this more abundant life, and the reason is a lack of knowledge of the Cross.
There is only one cure for the sinner and the saint—Christ and Him crucified—and what He did for us was for the entirety of the world, for with His death on Calvary’s Cross, the sin debt was removed.
But thank the Lord that this great blessing did not stop there, for not only did it remove the sin debt from those would simply believe, it also broke the grip of sin in the life of the believer. This means that if we look to the Cross daily, meaning that we lace our faith in Christ and Him crucified, we can be continually made free from the sin nature.
Paul said it in verse 14 of this same chapter, that
“sin shall not have dominion over you,”
which means exactly what it says—you can be free now, and you can daily be made free from the grip of sin that has plagued your life. However, we can experience this only if we take advantage of God’s prescribed order of victory, which is the Cross.
Last, but not least, living for the Lord will lead to everlasting life. Paul would conclude this chapter by saying, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The answer for the sin problem in the world and in the church is the same, Jesus Christ and Him crucified. We must begin this salvation life at the Cross, and we must never leave the Cross; it brings life and life ever more abundant.
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