Romans 6

Our death is to get to Christ’s death

and

 freedom through slavery

 

Romans 6:1-2

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

As Paul describes the gospel, the emphasis has been that we are saved by grace through faith because Jesus Christ was the propitiation for our sins.  This is true so that, even as “sin increased, grace abounded all the more”(Romans 5:20).  The point is: grace is powerful enough to cover all our sins and reigns through righteousness “leading to eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:21).  That being true, one might draw the conclusion, “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” (Romans 6:1).  In other words, “Let’s really give God a chance to show His grace by committing lots of sins.”  This thought is condemned in the strongest of terms.  The answer is translated variously as “God forbid!,” “May it never be!,”  “By no means!,” or “What a ghastly thought!”  The idea of purposefully sinning is totally foreign to the Christian life.  The reason is: “How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:2).  The idea of sinning on purpose so that grace can abound is diametrically opposed to the death to sin that is a part of being a Christian.

Romans 6:3-5

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

To illustrate why a Christian will not purposely sin, Paul reminds them of what happened when they were baptized.  First, those who have been baptized “were baptized into his death” (Romans 6:3).  That is, those who were baptized came into contact with the death of Christ, thus his blood, when baptism took place.  This explains how we “have now been justified by his blood” (Romans 5:9).  It helps us understand statements made by others such as Peter (Acts 2:38, I Peter 3:21) and Ananias (Acts 22:16).  Notice that to get “into Christ” one is “baptized into Christ.” (Romans 6:3 and Galatians 3:27).  Baptism may be considered the door by which one enters “into Christ.”  When one is “in Christ” she/he becomes eligible for many promises to be fulfilled:

1.     The person becomes a “new creature” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

2.     He/she is known to be a part of a collective group of children or “sons of God” – Galatians 3:26

3.     God “forgave you” – Ephesians 4:32

4.     There is “no condemnation” – Romans 8:1

5.     This is how one obtains “salvation” – 2 Timothy 2:10

6.     The person receives “eternal life” – 1 John 5:11

7.     This person is blessed with “every spiritual blessing” - Ephesians 1:3

8.     The promise is given of being blessed even in death for, “blessed are the dead” – Revelation 14:13

Those who were baptized “were baptized into his death” (Romans 6:3).  Just as he was buried in a tomb in his death, we are “buried therefore with him in baptism” (Romans 6:4).  This alludes to the “how” of baptism, that is that the original form of baptism was a “burial.”  The meaning of the original word for baptism means to “dip,” “plunge,” or “immerse.”  However, it was not Christ’s intent to remain buried in the earth, and it is not the intention of those who are proper candidates for baptism to remain immersed, but rather that “just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).  This newness of life will have several aspects:

Romans 6:5-11

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

1.     We are “united with him in a death like his” (Romans 6:5).

2.     Just as he was crucified, we are crucified to sin “so that we are no longer enslaved to it” (Romans 6:6).

3.     “If we have died with Christ, we believe we will also live with him” (Romans 6:8).

4.     “Death no longer has dominion” (Romans 6:9).

5.     “Consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God” (Romans 6:11).

Romans 6:12-14

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. 13Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Since the above is true, the admonitions to Christians are:

1.     “Don’t let sin reign in your mortal bodies” (Romans 6:12).

2.     Don’t present your bodies to sin “as instruments of unrighteousness” but present your bodies “to God as instruments of righteousness” (Romans 6:13).

3.     Remember that you “have been brought from death to life” (Romans 6:13)

4.     The result: “sin will have no dominion over you” (Romans 6:14).  This is the final answer to the question in Romans 6:1!

Romans 6:15-23

What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

20When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? The end of those things is death. 22But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

One of the interesting concepts that Paul shares is that slavery isn’t a choice but who will be our master is.  We will either be slaves of sin or of righteousness (Romans 6:17-18).  Who/what you are a slave to depends on obedience.  If you obey sin, it will lead you to death (Romans 6:16).  If you obey “from the heart” the standard of teaching set forth in the gospel, you will be set free from sin and become a slave to righteousness (Romans 6:17-18).  There is “fruit” (i.e. pay off) involved in either lifestyle choice:

1.     Sin = Death – (Romans 6:21)

2.     God = Sanctification and eternal life – (Romans 6:22)

The reason that we do not “continue in sin that grace may abound” is that “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Review Questions:

 

1.  Some of the Roman Christians had a warped idea about sin, that is, “Let’s really give God a chance to show His grace by committing lots of sins.”   Discuss Paul’s reaction to this idea.

 

2.        How does one get “into Christ?”

 

3.        List the blessings that one is promised as a result of being “in Christ.”

 

4.        Describe how the death, burial and resurrection of Christ is symbolized by baptism.

 

5.        In part four we stated that, “This is the final answer to the question Paul asks in Romans 6:1.”  How can this be?

 

6.        Paul tells us that we are going to be slaves but that we get to choose whom our master is.  How do we know whom or what our master is?

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