Scripture Reading: Romans 6:1-4
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1,2)
Chapter six is a turning point in the epistle to the Romans. Paul has been dealing with the doctrines of sin and of justification. Since we have been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (5:1). Our sins have been forgiven and we have been declared righteous on the basis of Christ’s righteousness imputed to us. Does then mean that we can continue in sin? Our sins have been forgiven and we are in a right standing with God; so are we free to do whatever we want to do?
Paul answers the question, “By no means!” Of course, we are not free to continue in sin. If we did, we would make grace cheap. For us to experience God’s grace, God had to pay an enormous price. He gave His Son for us. Jesus went to the cross so that we could receive what we do not deserve — God’s unmerited favor, love, forgiveness and acceptance!
This section of Romans deals with the doctrine of sanctification. Unlike justification, which is a one time action by God, sanctification is a life-long process. It involves dying to sin and self and living more and more for the glory and honor of Christ.
We have a part to play in our sanctification — “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12b). We are to join the Holy Spirit in His work within us. This means we are to resist sin — “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood” (Hebrews 12:4). Yes, we are to resist sin. However, we can never do this in our own strength. We must realize that “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). We have the Holy Spirit who lives within us to give us the desire and the power to resist sin.
Continuing in our sinful behavior makes grace cheap. Jesus paid the supreme price to set us free from our bondage to sin — “We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we are would no longer be enslaved to sin” (v. 6). Thus, Paul makes his point — “How can we who died to sin still live in it?” We have a new power and a new ability to resist sin. We must rely upon the resurrected Christ to enable us to do so.
Lord Jesus, I confess that I have not resisted sin as I should. I confess that I take sin entirely too lightly. I fail to recognize what my sin cost You. I pray that I can rely upon the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit to enable me to resist sin and to live my life for Your glory and honor.
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