Useful Bible Studies > Romans Commentary > chapter 6

The true value of the best things that we can achieve

Romans 6:21

Paul refers to certain things, of which Christians are now ashamed.  In other words, now that they have become Christians, they are ashamed of certain things in their past.  It interests us to know what particularly those things are.

We should all, of course, be ashamed of our evil deeds.  However, Paul is referring to things of which Christians are ‘now’ ashamed.  So, formerly they were not ashamed of those things.  Their change of attitude is the result of the fact that they have now become Christians.  At the beginning of the verse, Paul uses the word for ‘fruit’ to describe these things.  In other words, people considered these things to be the best things that they had achieved in their lives.  They were proud of them.

They had no proper reason to be proud.  Perhaps they had achieved great things, like Solomon in Ecclesiastes 2:1-11.  However, like him, they achieved nothing that can truly last.  A person can gain the whole world but lose his life (Matthew 16:26).  So really, that person has gained nothing worthwhile.

We often describe ‘sin’ as our wrong and evil thoughts, words and deeds.  However, that is just a simple explanation.  Really, ‘sin’ describes any life where God does not have his proper place (Mark 12:30).  That is why we do wrong things (Mark 7:20-23); that is why people become selfish, or proud, or wicked.

Perhaps for a time we are proud of the results of such a life.  Perhaps we consider that we have achieved truly great things for ourselves, without God in our lives.  However, we all know that we must die.  There will be a day of judgement, when we all will see the true value of these things.

It seems much better to discover the truth about our lives now.  That is what Paul described in Philippians 3:7-11.  Paul achieved much in life before he became a Christian.  However, he now considered it nothing, because now he knew Christ.  Now, it was his greatest joy and desire to know Christ better.

Next part: God changes people's lives completely (Romans 6:22)


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