Summary: This is the 10th of 30 studies on the Book of Romans
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
Paul had just said that where sin abounded, grace abounded all the more, and further, as sin reigned, resulting in death, so also grace now reigns, resulting in righteousness. Paul then asks a very pertinent question – one that perhaps is playing on the minds of his readers, as well as ours. “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” I guess if Paul was speaking, he would have waited for a response, but since he was writing, he immediately answered his own question with a resounding, ‘No!’ He says, in no uncertain terms, that we are to not continue in a life of sin expecting God to be more gracious to us. Now, this can result in us asking the question, “Why not?” He goes on to explain his answer with a question. “How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” That’s a great question, isn’t it? If we claim that we have died to sin – we are done with our old life of sin – Jesus paid the penalty on our behalf when He took our place on the cross; He justified us (made us righteous) by His resurrection from the dead, and set us free. How can we continue to live in sin now? It would mean that we are nullifying all that Christ did on our behalf when He died for us.
He goes on to ask a rhetorical question – “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” When he said this, he was asking his readers if they didn’t realise that when they were getting baptised, they were actually turning away from their sinful living, and immersing themselves into Christ – into a new way of life. There are several instances where Jesus taught about Baptism and where the followers of Jesus got baptised no sooner they heard the Gospel – the Apostle Paul himself, the Ethiopian Eunuch, the Jailer with Paul and Silas. Baptism was never an optional thing – it was a given, that once a person believed in Jesus, they got baptised to identify with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. It is an outward sign of an inner change that had already happened. It was also a way a person was witnessing to others that they had now come to trust in Jesus for their salvation.
He goes on to explain that our old way of life was dead and buried when we got baptised. We (our old sinful nature) died with Christ, and just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we are now alive in Christ, and so should therefore live this new life in Christ free from sin.
“For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be one away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.”
Paul then goes on to further explain, that not only does our baptism signify the death to our old way of life (old man), but it also signifies that just as Christ was raised from the dead, to live again, we too are now raised from our old selves, to which we died, to live a new life in Jesus. He reminds us that we crucified the old way of life, when we put our faith in Jesus, so that the sinful body might be a thing of the past, and we should no longer live in sin. He further explains, that the one who has died to sin is released from its clutches. He should not be controlled by it again.