Summary: Because Christ has died and we have died with him, sin no longer has the power to do us in. But, if we open the door, sin can still hurt us.
During this period of time leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, we are focusing on the book of Romans. Romans is the longest, the deepest, the most penetrating explanation of what the death and resurrection of Jesus means for God’s people. So, it is fitting that we take a careful look at its message
The theme of this book is sounded in the very first chapter. Turn to Rom. 1:16. We find a wonderful truth here. Our salvation comes to us by faith, by putting our trust in God –not in ourselves, our good works, or in ceremonies, but in God. But that is not all. Let’s read 1:17.
We are not only saved by faith; we live by faith. That means that we depend on God for salvation AND we depend on his strength to live for him day after day. Depending on him becomes a way of life for us as individuals and as a congregation. We not only trust in Christ to save us, we trust in Him to sustain us. Is that trust a reality for you this morning?
Now turn to Romans 3:10. Here we see why we need to talk about salvation. It is because we don’t measure up to God’s standard. It is because we are separated from God. Our whole being is infected with the effects of sin.
But God has promised the possibility of a brand new life. He promised it long ago to Abraham. He promises that possibility to us. Paul mentions that promise in 4:13. Look at Romans 4:16. What does that promise depend on? “It depends on faith.” Again and again, Paul emphasizes the importance of faith. When we looked at chapter 4, we saw that the word FAITH is used ten times in that chapter.
And when we get to Romans 5:1, what does it say? It says that faith is the basis of our relationship with God. One way we can remember the meaning of faith is to use this acrostic: Forsaking All I Trust Him. True faith is casting oneself wholly on the Lord Jesus Christ as your only hope for salvation. God is so gracious, so compassionate, so kind, that he has poured his love into our hearts. He forgives, even though we have done nothing to deserve his generosity.
When we get to Romans 6:1, though, Paul raises a question. If God is so willing to forgive, does it matter how we live? In other words, if God can and will forgive that much, shouldn’t we sin some more so that he can exercise this gift of forgiveness more often?
Maybe an example will help. I have only been in front of a judge one time and that was when we lived in Japan as self-supporting missionaries for 15 years. Every foreigner has to have a permit to live in Japan and has to renew it every three years, a little task which, unfortunately, I forgot. As a result of my carelessness, I had to go through a lot of red tape. First, I had a lengthy interview with an official at the city office. Then I had to spend an hour explaining it all over again at the police station. Finally, I had to appear before the judge who accepted my apology and “forgave” me. That was his job. Needless to say, I was very relieved. Now, since the judge kindly forgave me for my transgression, should I have gone out and done it again to give him more opportunities to forgive? And you would answer, “How dumb can you be?”