[forthright] To Which You Were Delivered

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Mon, 02 Apr 2007 14:05:39 -0300
Forthright Magazine
Straight to the Cross

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COLUMN: Final Phase

To Which You Were Delivered
by J. Randal Matheny, editor

As we waited for some non-Christian friends to
come to the house last night, I watched Roy
Davison's seminar, "Can We Be the Church of the
New Testament?"/1

Roy showed the pattern that existed in both the
Old and New Testaments. God expects us to do
things a certain way.

In one important passage, Roy brought out an
insight I'd never noticed:

   "But God be thanked that though you were
   slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the
   heart that form of doctrine to which you
   were delivered" (Romans 6:17 NKJV; see
   also ESV and NET).

Paul throws us a strange concept here: "that form
of doctrine to which you were delivered."

We would have expected him to speak of that form
of doctrine which had been committed or delivered
to us. And so some versions translate it.

But that's not what Paul wrote.

What did he mean by our having been committed or
delivered to a form of doctrine?

Paul has been using the metaphor of slavery. "Do
you not know that if you present yourselves as
obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you
obey, either of sin resulting in death, or
obedience resulting in righteousness?" (verse 16).

When one obeys that form of teaching which is the
gospel, one is delivered over to it as a slave, a
servant, placed under its care and supervision. A
change of hands takes place. We are delivered over
to the liberating power of God in the gospel.

The result, Paul says, is that we are "freed from
sin" now to become "enslaved to righteousness"
(verse 18).

This is why we must beware of those who would
change the pattern of New Testament teaching. For
if that form of doctrine is changed, we continue
in our sins and remain slaves to unrighteousness.

Our friends arrived shortly after Roy's lesson
finished on the DVD, and I told them this truth.
1/ The Strathmore congregation in Toronto has
placed the five-lesson seminar on two DVDs. They
provide it free. Ask for it at

This article is also online at

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