Summary: Some of sought to abuse and exploit the grace of God for selfish purposes. God's grace is designed to help us live for God as it transitions us to a new creation and gives us victory over sin.
A. Max Lucado tells a story about a man who visited Las Vegas and called the local preacher on Friday to inquire about the hours of the Sunday services.
1. The minister was very impressed, and complimented the caller, saying: “Most people don’t come to Las Vegas in order to go to church.”
2. The man replied, “Oh, I’m not coming for the church. I’m coming for the gambling and parties and wild women. If I have half as much fun as I intend to, I’ll need a church come Sunday morning.” (In the Grip of Grace, page 112)
B. That man’s attitude and understanding about God’s grace is nothing new.
1. Since the apostle Paul first introduced the gospel of God’s grace, some people have attempted to abuse and exploit that grace.
2. Some people consider God’s grace to be like an installment plan: sin now, pray later.
3. They think, “I’ll go right ahead and live it up now, and later on when I've made a mess of my life, I’ll let God clean it up, because God is a merciful and gracious God.”
4. In today’s section of Romans 6, we are going to see Paul address that faulty approach to God and His grace, Paul began chapter 6 with these words: “What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? Absolutely not!”
C. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
1. Let’s slow down and do a quick review as we take a running start into chapter 6.
2. We are in a sermon series on Paul’s letter to the Romans that we are calling: “Pursuing Righteousness From God.”
3. Paul introduced us to the theme of the letter in chapter 1, verses 16 and 17: For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.
4. After that verse, Paul launched into a three chapter survey of the universal need for the gospel.
a. Paul clearly reveals how everyone is a sinner who is in need of the righteousness that comes from God.
b. Paul explains that Gentiles are sinners and Jews are sinners.
c. In chapter 3, Paul concludes that “For we have already charged that both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin” (vs. 9), and “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (vs. 23).
5. From that low and dark place of the depravity of all people – the truly bad news – Paul then presented the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus.
6. In chapter 4, Paul held up Abraham as an example of those who are justified through faith.
7. Then in chapter 5, Paul assured us that our new relationship with God through faith in Jesus, will result in salvation from God’s wrath and judgment.
a. This assurance comes because of God’s love that he demonstrated by having Christ die for us even while we were still sinners and God’s enemies.
8. Finally in our last sermon in the series, we explored the idea that death came through Adam, but life comes through Christ.
a. The final verses of chapter 5 become the bridge into the focus of chapter 6: But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness, resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (5:20b-21)
D. Now as Paul has often done in this letter, he anticipated how his point about God’s grace might be misunderstood.
1. Our God is a God of grace, but does God’s grace encourage us to sin?
2. This was one of the challenging heresies faced in the first century.
3. Theologians call it “antinomianism,” from the Greek words anti, meaning “against”, and nomos, signifying “moral law.”
4. Basically this false doctrine teaches that it doesn’t really matter how you behave, because God’s grace is the moral equivalent of a “get out of jail free” card in Monopoly: it lets you off the hook no matter what.
5. Antinomianism is described quite accurately in the New Testament when Jude warned against “godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord” (Jude 4).
E. Such an attitude is absolutely contrary to the teachings of Christianity, but when you think about it, such a perversion was probably inevitable.
1. After all, in our study of Romans we have learned that the gospel was a radical message of salvation on an entirely new basis – not by works, but by the sacrificial death of Jesus on the Cross.