Summary: Christian should live a life not dominated by sin.
OVERCOMING SINFUL LIFESTYLE
Dr. Siang-Yang Tan in his book Lay Counseling challenges the church to become a caring community but miss the opportunity because the church is more often a museum for saints rather than a hospital for sinner.
When Jesus was criticized for eating with tax collectors and sinners He responded by saying “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” (See Matthew 9:9-13)
In one of my previous pastorates in the Philippines, our church was criticized for having members who were former womanizer, gambler, drunkard, corrupt government employees, arrogant, indifferent persons, dishonest businessmen, etc. And my response was “Hallelujah!”
I would be alarmed if our church functioned as a hospice instead of as a hospital. I would like to believe that the church is a hospital for sinner. But I would like to be a hospital that discharges sinners back to the world because they were healed of their serious sinful lifestyles.
Discharged sinner still gets sick but not seriously – headache, common colds, and fever but not cancer or any kind of serious illnesses. How can we help a follower of Christ live a life not dominated by sin? Please open your bibles to Romans 6:1-23.
1. Understand that God’s grace is not an encouragement to sinful lifestyles. (v. 1)
Paul’s statement simply emphasized the greatness of God’s grace. No matter how sinful a person is, God’s grace is inclusive and sufficient. (See Romans 5:20)
ILLUSTRATION There have been many definitions of grace, and I thought that the best of these definitions was simply “unmerited favor,” or the biblical line, “the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man” (Titus 3:4). Thus we have this acronym: —Donald Grey Barnhouse
Our goal while waiting for the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ is upright and godly lives in this present age. (See Titus 2:11-14)
2. Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God. (v. 11)
Paul did not say that sin is dead to the Christian. Sin would always lurk around the followers of Christ but Christian should be passive in terms of responding to sin like a dead person.
Paul did not present here the impossibility of committing a single sin, but the impossibility of continuing in a life dominated by sin because we are supposed to be dead to sin.
To count means “to put to one’s account.” It simply means to believe that what God says in His Word is really true in your life. Paul didn’t tell his readers to feel as if they were dead to sin, or even to understand it fully, but to act on God’s Word and claim it for themselves.
When did we die to sin?
a. When we were buried with Him through baptism into death (vv. 2-4)
Paul uses baptism to illustrate this vital union with Christ in his death (v. 4), though baptism does not accomplish it. Submergence of the physical body under the baptismal waters pictures burial with Christ.
b. When our old self was crucified with Him. (vv. 6-10)
The importance of burial is that it attests the reality of death. It expresses with finality the end of the old life governed by relationship with Adam. It also expresses the impossibility of a new life apart from divine action.
The expression "to live a new life" is literally "to walk in newness of life," the walk being the evidence of the new type of life granted to the child of God.
How can we count ourselves dead to sin but alive to God?
a. Do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. (v. 12)
To reign means to possess or exercise sovereign power; to be dominant. Paul said do not let sin to possess or exercise sovereign power in your mortal body or to be dominant influence in your own life.
Example: Physically, we don’t let bad cholesterol to be dominant in our bodies. Sugar is sweet but when it becomes a dominant element in your blood, we are in trouble.
b. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin as instrument of wickedness. (v. 13)
The word offer implies a critical resolve, a decision of surrender. The word offer is found several times in this section and means “to place at one’s disposal, to present, to offer as a sacrifice.”
We can read in the Bible accounts of the members of the body being used for sinful purposes. David’s eyes looked on his neighbor’s wife; his mind plotted a wicked scheme; his hand signed a cowardly order for the woman’s husband to be killed.
As you read Psalm 51, you see that his whole body was affected by sin: his eyes (Ps. 51:3), mind (Ps. 51:6), ears (Ps. 51:8), heart (Ps. 51:10), and lips and mouth (Ps. 51:14-15). No wonder he prayed for a thorough cleansing! (Ps. 51:2)