Summary: A continuing expository of Romans chapter 6
Book of Romans
Lesson # 14
By Rev. James May
At the end of Romans chapter 5 Paul teaches us that where sin does abound, grace does much more abound. Sin entered the world through one man, Adam; but now grace and forgiveness for sin has been given to the world through one man who is greater than Adam. His name is Jesus. Because of the righteousness of Christ, we are given grace, and his grace is sufficient to bring us to a saving relationship with God. Grace is greater than the power of sin. Grace is greater than our faults and failures.
If we are not careful it will seem that because of the power of God’s grace, that we have been freedom from the power of sin forever. But we must realize that even grace will have its limits based upon our free will. The one thing that all of God’s power will never overcome is the power of free will that has been given to every man. It’s it God’s limit that he imposed upon himself, and since he is God that changes not, he will not overstep his own law in dealing with man. He refuses to impose his will upon the heart of any man, but requires that every man choose to serve him.
Paul continues this train of thought as we enter into chapter 6, verse 1.
Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
Reading these verses gives rise to wrong interpretations if we do not correctly interpret what Paul is saying. One very wrong interpretation is that many people in the church try to teach that once we are saved, we can no longer commit sin, and that if we do sin, then we were never really saved in the first place.
I have met some misled and confused Christians who taught this very thing, and nowhere in the Bible is this kind of doctrine supported. It is taken out of context and taught by those who have their own private interpretation.
Other people have interpreted this to mean that no matter how much we sin, that once we have been saved, that sin no longer has the power to overcome the grace of God that we have received and that we cannot lose our salvation because grace acts sort of like an ink blotter that continually soaks up the sin and removes the fact that it ever happened, whether we repent of that sin or not. This is what many might call unconditional eternal security.
Then, there are others of us who interpret verse to say that we are not given a free reign to still live in sin; that repentance means that we forsake a life of sin, and choose to live according to the will of God, but that if we do sin, God’s grace is sufficient to forgive us of that sin and the power of the blood of Jesus still cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
The biggest problem that arises in this school of thought is that there are many who assume that since God’s grace is always extended, it gives them the freedom to live as they want and then ask God for forgiveness and all will be well. They presume upon God’s grace, willfully committing sin, believing that forgiveness is theirs even though they don’t repent.
In this discussion tonight, I think it may be helpful to all of us to think about what Paul is trying to say and to really understand what grace, forgiveness, repentance and eternal security is really all about. There is a connecting link between all of these things, and even though that link from grace to eternal security is designed by God to be permanent, we must never discount the power of the free will of man to interfere with God’s plan for its permanent effect.
Paul’s question here is one that he assumes we should all know the answer to and that the answer should be “NO, God’s Grace does not give us the permission, nor the right, to live in sin so that Grace can be extended to us in an even greater measure”. To do such a thing is to negate the fact that God requires holiness of his people. One part of scripture cannot, and will not, discredit another.
In Verse 2, Paul answers this question in no uncertain terms so that there can be no assumption that sin in the life of any man is excusable. We must understand that sin, in any heart, that has not been cleansed by the blood of Jesus, still means death!
Romans 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?