For some reason I have been thinking about Romans 6 quite a bit lately. I did a lengthy discussion of it at the University in Lethem and then used it as the basis for a Bible Study class in Georgetown on Wednesday night. There is a lot of meat on these verses! Romans is arguably the most complex of Paul’s writings and deals with some very deep issues like redemption, justification and righteousness. But these verses at the beginning of chapter 6 say so much. I think I will post a few articles on the different aspects of this chapter.
Sin & Grace from Romans 6:1
The thought with which Paul begins the chapter actually begins in chapter 5.(1) Romans 5:20 is the key, “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” God never left man without hope. Grace was always present in some form. As we came to know sin through the Law of Moses, ample grace was available to serve God’s purpose of our salvation. Of course salvation never came through the Law alone. It took the sacrifice of Jesus at Calvary to complete the redemptive process. But there was never more sin than grace!
But some imaginary reader might argue that since more sin brought more grace, and grace was a good thing, maybe we just need to keep sinning so grace will continue to multiply! It seems a foolish idea but evidently the Holy Spirit thought Paul should address it. His answer is a stunning “God forbid!” (KJV)
Death & Sin from Romans 6:2
Paul offers a powerful rebuke to those who want to claim Jesus as their Savior but continue to live worldly: “…How can we who died to sin still live in it? This is a rhetorical question. The answer is obvious – we cannot. But I am convinced that herein lies one of the greatest challenges the Christian faces.
Have you known someone who professes a faith in Christ yet lives like the world? There is no objective difference between them and the non-believer. How such a duel life possible? Well, of course, it is not possible. The child of God does sin (Romans 3:23, 1 John 1:10) but he does not live in sin. His intent is to serve his Lord and his sin is almost incidental to his life(2) and is not a major characteristic. He is “walking in the light” but still stumbles. His sins are forgiven (1 John 1:5-10).
In Matthew 8:22 Jesus told a man to “leave the dead to bury their own dead.” Of course, that cannot happen because a dead man does nothing. Likewise, the Christian who is dead to sin does not do it any longer. The ideal church is actually represented by a graveyard of dead sinners who now live unto Christ. Because I am dead to sin, its power over me is gone. What a great opening from Paul and he is just getting started!
Stay with us as we work through Romans 6. If you haven’t done so already, please subscribe through one of the options above. As always, I would love to hear your comments.
- Any time you see the word “wherefore” or “therefore” look back and find his thought. The reason for what he is now saying has already been stated.(↩)
- Do not take this to mean that it is not important, it is, but it is not the primary goal or function of his life.(↩)