I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh, for as you presented your members as servants to uncleanness and to wickedness upon wickedness, even so now present your members as servants to righteousness for sanctification. For when you were servants of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit then did you have at that time in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now, being made free from sin, and having become servants of God, you have your fruit of sanctification, and the result of eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jesus told us that when we sin, we are actually allowing it to be our master. It is ordering us around and telling us what you must do. Many experienced sinners know exactly what I am talking about. Sin takes hold of you and ruins your life eventually, but if you would rather sin than be good you are free from being good while you obey sin.
Paul is trying to get us to realize that when we were free from righteousness we were actually slaves to sin. It’s a matter of perspective and that has now changed for us. It is true that when you are a Christian you are a slave to righteousness, but you are free from sin. The question is, which is better?
Sin offers us shame and death. Righteousness offers us the good things that come by being good like a good conscience, innocence, and a good relationship with God. It offers us an eternal life of love. It doesn’t make any sense to go back to that which used to order us around and cause us to hurt ourselves and others. That’s what happens when we don’t live life the way that God intends. Even if we think we are being good without doing what God says, we will later discover the harm that we were doing to ourselves and others when the truth is discovered. Shame will be the reward.
The truth is that we have to be slaves to righteousness or to sin. God is saying that there isn’t any middle ground. This means that if we think we are on middle ground we are actually still sinning.