Summary of passage: Paul concludes again that we don’t sin just because God forgives. We are like slaves and we are slaves to the one we obey. It’s up to us if it’s God (who leads to righteousness) or Satan (who leads to death).
6) Paul starts by asking us what do we say and conclude. In verse 1, Paul is focusing on the argument that one goes on sinning so grace may increase. In verse 15, Paul focuses on the fact we should sin because we are under grace and forgiven. Also, note the subtle difference in verb tense (more pronounced in the ancient Greek: “go on sinning” and “sin”. Verse 1 is talking about perpetual sinning. Verse 15 is speaking of an occasional sin here and there. More explanation in End Notes.
7a) Under Satan, you will forever sin because of human nature. Under God who offers us righteousness through grace we are forgiven and our sins are washed away. We are free from our sins and will thus serve righteousness instead of sin.
b) Personal Question. My answer: Slave to righteousness because I accept Jesus as my Savior who through God’s grace forgives my sins, cleanses me, and thus makes me righteous before God.
Conclusions: I groaned on 7b and felt like a school kid forced to recite the class rules for the thousandth time. It’s basically asking you if you’re saved. A yes or no would have sufficed or better yet a question on the passage.
End Notes: Wuest explains the verb tense in verse 1 & 15: “The verb in verse one is in the present subjunctive, speaking of habitual, continuous action. The verb in verse fifteen is in the aorist subjunctive, referring to a single act.” Again, the answer is no. Sin and a saved life do not go hand in hand.
Paul is saying in verse 16 that you serve someone so why not Christ instead of the devil (obedience versus sin)? You can apply this across the spectrum such as slave to food or others’ approval or success or wealth, etc.
It seems the question came from those who were afraid that the doctrine of justification by faith alone will remove all moral restraint. Paul rejects this idea and shows in the following verses how Christians don’t throw morality to the wind. Instead, they exchange sin for righteousness as their master.