Summary: The nature of God’s grace does not give us an excuse to sin.
In the preceding chapters of the Epistle to the Romans, Paul has shown that salvation is purely of grace (undeserved kindness). Because we are saved by grace we can know that our salvation is eternally secure. But there are many who do not believe in the doctrine of eternal security (maybe because it seems too good to be true). In the opening verse of Romans 6, Paul presents an objection many people make against eternal security.
"What shall we say then? Shall we [who are now saved and safe in grace] continue in sin, that grace may abound?" (6:1).
You may recall that Paul wrote in chapter five, “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (5:20). If righteousness is a gift, then would it not be better to continue in sin in order that grace may increasingly be seen? If salvation were by works, this question would never be raised, since one would have to keep on doing good works in order to merit salvation. But if salvation is by grace, then cannot one sin as much as he pleases and will this not actually display grace all the more?
You mothers wouldn’t tolerate this. Can you imagine your teenager saying, “Mom, I’ll keep my room messy so the whole neighborhood can see what a good housekeeper you are”? A boss wouldn’t let the employee say, “The reason I’m lazy is to give you an opportunity to display your forgiveness.” No one respects the beggar who refuses to work, saying, “I’m just giving the government an opportunity to demonstrate benevolence.”
We’d scoff at such hypocrisy. We wouldn’t tolerate it, and we wouldn’t do it.
Or would we? Perhaps we don’t sin so God can give grace, but do we ever sin knowing God will give grace? Do we ever compromise today, knowing we’ll confess tomorrow?
It’s easy to be like the fellow visiting Las Vegas who called the preacher, wanting to know the hours of the Sunday service. The preacher was impressed. “Most people who come to Las Vegas don’t do so to go to church.”
“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 too, I’ll need a church come Sunday morning?”
Is that the intent of grace? Is God’s goal to promote disobedience? Paul answers the question with an emphatic NO. Here is his answer:
"God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" (6:2).
Should we continue in sin? It would not become us to do so, as the children of God, and it is not necessary for us to do so since we are now “dead to sin.” But who is “dead to sin”? Is it true that any Christian ever experienced a death to sin? Never was there one. Some Christians might tell you that they have died to sin, but don’t believe them (Ask their husband or wife). The death which is mentioned in this passage is said to be accomplished for every believer. All Christians are here said to have died unto sin. How can this be so?
There are three key words in this passage: Know, Reckon, and Yield.
I. GOD WANTS US TO KNOW CERTAIN TRUTH (6:3-10).
A. we must know the truth about Holy Spirit baptism.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
In this verse, three questions about Holy Sprit baptism are answered.
1. Who is baptized by the Holy Spirit?
The key word in this verse pertaining to this question is “all.” Who are the “all.” Remember Paul is writing to the Corinthian church; so he is addressing a group of Christians. And these believers weren’t a super-saintly group. Paul told them that they were carnal. But even though they hadn’t reached spiritual maturity, they still were all baptized by the Holy Spirit.
2. When does Holy Spirit baptism occur?
Some people will tell you that the Holy Spirit’s baptism is a second blessing; that it is subsequent to salvation. But if every Christian is baptized by the Holy Spirit, it must occur at the moment of salvation. So every Christian is baptized by the Holy Spirit at the instant they trust Christ.
3. What is Holy Spirit baptism?
It has to do with the forming of the body of Christ (the church) out of living members, and when one is united to Christ, he has been “baptized into one body.” There is no special experience related to Holy Spirit baptism.
B. we must know the truth about the results from Holy Spirit baptism.