Romans 6:1-14: The Christian and Sin
March 8, 2023
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Numbers 18-20, Psalm 55, Matthew 23:25-39, Romans 6:1-14
This passage of Scripture is profoundly important and has great practical utility in the life of the Christian. Let us summarize it in these 5 ways.
First, the question that Paul is addressing. That question is based upon the story of the gospel that he has told. Given that we are saved by grace through faith—not by works so that no one can boast—what does that mean for our moral life as a Christian? Does it mean that we should be able to sin as much as we like after we are saved by grace (6:1)?
Second, an observation from that question. The answer that Paul will give to this question is “no”—and the reasons why he says no are important to say the least. But it is also the case that if the gospel we preach or believe never causes us to ask this question, then we may not be believing the true gospel. The gospel is radically by grace. Inevitably, once we understand that, we are bound to ask the question that is posed here: Shall we go on sinning (6:1)? By no means (6:2)!
Third, Paul’s answer to this question. It starts with shock: by no means (6:2)! Let the horror of Paul’s response hit us. While it is true that we should ask this question, if we truly understand the gospel, by the same token, when we really understand the gospel, we will answer the question with the same vehement protestation. By no means!
Fourth, the basis for Paul’s denial that a gospel of grace by faith in Jesus leads to moral carelessness is that the true gospel actually produces a real change. We have died with Christ, and we have risen to new life with Christ. In other words, the gospel is not simply an idea. It is not a philosophy. It is not merely a teaching. When someone believes the gospel, truly and really, then they are transformed; they die to their old life, and they rise to a new life with Christ to live in his power.
Fifth, though—and here we could spend much fruitful time if space allowed—the right understanding of the gospel as a power that changes us gives us great tools to grow in godliness and Christlikeness as a Christian.
#1 Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus (6:11). We are to consider, to count, to reckon that this change has taken place. Don’t believe the lie that no great matter has happened when we become a Christian. We are to consider ourselves to dead to sin.
#2 Do not let sin reign in your mortal body (6:12). The fight of holiness is partly a fight of will. Do not let. Once you have been raised with Christ, you now can be holy. Therefore, fight to be holy. Don’t give in. Fight on. Do not let sin reign in your mortal body.
#3 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin… but rather offer yourselves to God (6:13). In other words, do not give yourself opportunities or entranceways towards sin, but instead prepare yourself and offer yourself towards holiness—in thought, word, and deed. Read books that inspire you to holiness. Read blogs that inspire you to holiness. Avoid TV shows that tempt you. Be involved in church and small group and Christian ministry that is Word-centered and exalts Christ. Offer yourself towards holiness. Present yourself towards Christlikeness.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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