Posted by: William | February 13, 2008

You Cannot Serve Two Masters

Most of us are familiar with Jesus’ words, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other…” I think there are not so many who remember how the verse actually ends, “You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Matthew 6:24) There probably even fewer people who actually take these words from Jesus seriously. While reading in Romans today, I pondered over a thought in which Paul expands what Jesus says here and does a great deal of harm to any complacency that we entertain.

Romans 6:16 reads, “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?” According to Paul here in God’s Word, who we ‘serve’, shows who our ‘master’ is. Twice so far in Romans Paul has made it clear that grace is not a license to sin and here he has brought it to a head. Were our master ‘obedience’ we would surely be obedient to “repent and believe the Gospel” and were that the case we would surly see that our condition is under grace. It would be impossible for us to be under grace and continue willingly and unashamedly in sin, this would be proof enough that our master is sin and if our master is sin, then it is not obedience and we couldn’t possibly be under grace. We should however, remember that grace is a free gift from God, as Paul makes abundantly clear; however with grace comes the necessary obedience; where there’s not grace, there won’t be obedience either.

I think this is largely the idea that John had in mind when he wrote, “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.” (1 John 3:6) If we have known him and his grace, if he truly is our Lord as we claim him to be, we cannot possibly also submit to the lordship of sin; you cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24).

As I have examined my walk, I am ashamed to have found the frequency with which I used grace as a license to sin. Not actively, but passively; subconsciously. Not considering the true weight of sin or the implications of it. When grace is tossed around so frivolously and sin regarded as so little, the natural result is living and acting like one has a license to do so. It’s just not the case on any level whatsoever.

If we will call ourselves Christians, we must look conscientiously at our lives and ask some seriously tough questions. Questions like, “who is my master?” We cannot afford not to do this, the stakes are simply too high; for we know that submission to sin leads to death.

Jesus, I pray that you would give us grace and mercy. I pray that you would reveal to us our areas of licentious living. Jesus, give us strength not to ignore dangerous signs in our lives, but rather to look at them prayerfully and soberly, allowing you to conform us to a more godly way. By the Holy Spirit sanctify us and make our allegiance clear to us and to all; it must be to you always and in every way. God, get all of your glory!



  1. Good Stuff Man, I really enjoyed this post. Especially the part about knowing who we are serving by our actions.

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