I speak after the manner of men - This phrase is often used by the Greek writers to signify what was easy to be comprehended; what was ad captum vulgi, level with common understandings, delivered in a popular style; what was different from the high flights of the poets, and the studied sublime obscurity of the philosophers.
Because of the infirmity of your flesh - As if he had said: I make use of metaphors and figures connected with well-known natural things; with your trades and situation in life; because of your inexperience in heavenly things, of which ye are only just beginning to know the nature and the names.
Servants to uncleanness, etc. - These different expressions show how deeply immersed in and enslaved by sin these Gentiles were before their conversion to Christianity. Several of the particulars are given in the first chapter of this epistle.
I speak after the manner of men - I speak as people usually speak; or I draw an illustration from common life, in order to make myself better understood.
Because of the infirmity of your flesh - The word “infirmity” means weakness, feebleness; and is opposed to vigor and strength. The word “flesh” is used often to denote the corrupt passions of people; but it may refer here to their intellect, or understanding; “Because of your imperfection of spiritual knowledge; or incapacity to discern arguments and illustrations that would be more strictly spiritual in their character.” This dimness or feebleness had been caused by long indulgence in sinful passions, and by the blinding influence which such passions have on the mind. The sense here is, “I use an illustration drawn from common affairs, from the well-known relations of master and slave, because you will better see the force of such an illustration with which you have been familiar, than you would one that would be more abstract, and more strictly spiritual.” It is a kind of apology for drawing an illustration from the relation of master and slave.
For as ye have yielded - Note, Romans 6:13. Servants to uncleanness. Have been in bondage to impurity. The word “uncleanness” here refers to impurity of life in any form; to the degraded passions that were common among the heathen; see Romans 1.
And to iniquity - Transgression of law.
Unto iniquity - For the purpose of committing iniquity. It implies that they had done it in an excessive degree. It is well for Christians to be reminded of their former lives, to awaken repentance, to excite gratitude, to produce humility and a firmer purpose to live to the honor of God. This is the use which the apostle here makes of it.
Unto holiness - In order to practice holiness. Let the surrender of your members to holiness be as sincere and as unqualified as the surrender was to sin. This is all that is required of Christians. Before conversion they were wholly given to sin; after conversion they should be wholly given to God. If all Christians would employ the same energies in advancing the kingdom of God that they have in promoting the kingdom, of Satan, the church would rise with dignity and grandeur, and every continent and island would soon feel the movement. No requirement is more reasonable than this; and it should be a source of lamentation and mourning with Christians that it is not so; that they have employed so mighty energies in the cause of Satan, and do so little in the service of God. This argument for energy in the divine life, the apostle proceeds further to illustrate by comparing the rewards obtained in the two kinds of servitude, that of the world, and of God.
When the wife yields her body and mind to the control of her husband, being passive to his will in all things, sacrificing her conscience, her dignity, and even her identity, she loses the opportunity of exerting that mighty influence for good which she should possess to elevate her husband. She could soften his stern nature, and her sanctifying influence could be exerted in a manner to refine and purify, leading him to strive earnestly to govern his passions and be more spiritually minded, that they might be partakers together of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. The power of influence can be great to lead the mind to high and noble themes, above the low, sensual indulgences for which the heart unrenewed by grace naturally seeks. If the wife feels that in order to please her husband she must come down to his standard, when animal passion is the principal basis of his love and controls his actions, she displeases God; for she fails to exert a sanctifying influence upon her husband. If she feels that she must submit to his animal passions without a word of remonstrance, she does not understand her duty to him nor to her God.18 AH 127.1
Our Bodies a Purchased Possession—The lower passions have their seat in the body and work through it. The words “flesh” or “fleshly” or “carnal lusts” embrace the lower, corrupt nature; the flesh of itself cannot act contrary to the will of God. We are commanded to crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts. How shall we do it? Shall we inflict pain on the body? No; but put to death the temptation to sin. The corrupt thought is to be expelled. Every thought is to be brought into captivity to Jesus Christ. All animal propensities are to be subjected to the higher powers of the soul. The love of God must reign supreme; Christ must occupy an undivided throne. Our bodies are to be regarded as His purchased possession. The members of the body are to become the instruments of righteousness.19 AH 127.2Read in context »
19, 22 (1 Thessalonians 3:13; 4:7; Hebrews 12:14). Wholeness to God—Holiness is wholeness to God. The soul is surrendered to God. The will, and even the thoughts, are brought into subjection to the will of Christ. The love of Jesus fills the soul, and is constantly going out in a clear, refreshing stream, to make glad the hearts of others (Manuscript 33, 1911). 6BC 1076.2
23. A Voice Heard in Heaven—Transgression placed the whole world in jeopardy, under the death sentence. But in heaven there was heard a voice saying, “I have found a ransom” (Letter 22, 1900). 6BC 1076.3Read in context »
Christ, the Propitiation for Sin—Such is the grace of God, such the love wherewith He hath loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses and sins, enemies in our minds by wicked works, serving divers lusts and pleasures, the slaves of debased appetites and passion, servants of sin and Satan. What depth of love is manifested in Christ, as He becomes the propitiation for our sins. Through the ministration of the Holy Spirit souls are led to find forgiveness of sins. TSB 108.1Read in context »