Summary: As believers, we have died and been buried with Christ; therefore, sin no longer has power over us.
A. Even though you are a believer, have you ever struggled with a particular sin?
B. Are there areas of sin that you feel powerless over?
C. These verses address how sin’s power is broken for the believer, for the one who lives in us is greater than the enemy we do battle with.
D. Up until this point, Paul has been dealing with salvation by grace regardless of one’s ancestry or anything else we might appeal to.
E. Now he will move to the subject of sanctification. This term is understood differently by believers. Some see this as an event that happens after salvation wherein the Holy Spirit comes upon the individual and they are baptized with the Spirit. This is normally evidenced by speaking in tongues. The individual is then sanctified. This may or may not be followed by a sinless life. Some believe such a state is attainable in this life while others maintain it is only a goal but will never be a reality.
F. Other believers believe the Spirit is given at salvation but that possessing the Spirit and being filled with the Spirit are different states of being. Sanctification becomes the process that begins at salvation and is our growing into Christlikeness. We are learning to follow his commands and guidelines for living. Believers grow in practice to match who they are in position.
G. Paul began by dealing with how we are justified. Now he will investigate the process of sanctification and what that entails.
H. Sanctification is not about being delivered from sin’s presence but rather from its control.
I. Paul’s words will remind us that even though we have a new nature given to us at salvation, we still do battle with the flesh-those old ways of acting that we learned before coming to Christ.
J. Whereas before Christ we did not have a choice about sinning, now we do.
I. Sin Is Senseless Because We Have Died To It And Been Forgiven (vv. 1-2)
A. If our sin resulted in God manifesting his grace through Christ, then it seems that continued sin-and more of it, would make his grace even more manifest to people.
1. If our sin results in God’s forgiveness, then why not give him more to opportunity to forgive?
2. If sinfulness results in God showing kindness in spite of evil, then why not give him the opportunity to show more kindness?
B. If our forgiveness is guaranteed in Christ, then does that mean we can simply sin as much as want?
1. A person who has such an attitude has not appreciated the seriousness of sin.
2. If they are indeed a child of God, they have a monumental misunderstanding of what the Christian life is about.
3. When we truly understand sin and its consequences, we will never desire to take advantage of God’s grace by sinning so we can experience more of his grace and forgiveness.
4. Being assured of God’s mercy is not an excuse for careless living.
C. Paul asks a very pointed question-if we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?
1. A Christian who does this is living at the very least a contradictory life and at the most demonstrating their misunderstanding of God’s grace, the seriousness of sin and possibly even demonstrating their true lack of a relationship with him to begin with.
2. Paul recognized that his statement in 5:20 would probably result in the above conclusions by some in the church.
3. This question that Paul asks touches the matter of how many of our sins were forgiven at salvation. If we believe that all of our sins are forgiven, then we could well reach this conclusion. If they are all forgiven anyway, why does it matter how I live. Again, this reveals a misunderstanding of the serious of sin and what has taken place in a person’s life.
4. We can still believe-and should, that all our sins have been taken care of without going to this extreme.
5. An accurate understanding of sin will enable us to avoid two extremes in our thinking: that it is permissible to sin and not worry about it or to become so legalistic that the Christian life loses all meaning and joy.
6. We live in a world that is constantly pulling us toward tolerance in our views, attitudes and decisions about many matters. And while we must love all people, we are never instructed to tolerate sinful situations in order to do that-at least not in the sense that we accept them without trying to change the status quo.
D. Why will the Christian have a different attitude about sin?
1. Paul maintains it is because we have died to sin-not to acts of sin but to it being the norm and practice of our life.