6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: His position is his standing in Christ.

(20) Introduction to Chapter 6

“In Christ unto God.”

Verses 1-11. Being a Christian is a matter of life or death. Persons who do not understand the grace of God argue, “If God is gracious, then we should sin more so we receive more grace.” Those who trust Christ are identified with Him by the Holy Spirit in His death, burial, and resurrection, as pictured in baptism. The old life is buried! We can consider it dead (v. 11) and walk in newness of resurrection life.

Verses 12–22. Being a Christian is a matter of bondage or freedom. Who is your master, Jesus Christ or the old life? You are not under the authority of Moses (v. 15), but that does not mean you have freedom to break God’s moral law (8:1–5). Yield yourself to the Lord; He is the most wonderful Master, and the “salary” He pays lasts forever.

Verse 23. Being a Christian is a matter of rewards or wages. We quote this verse as we witness to the lost, and rightly so; but Paul wrote it originally to believers. Although God forgives the sins of His children, He may not stop the painful consequences of sin. The pleasures of sin are never compensated for by the wages of sin. Sinning is not worth it!

“Alive to God.” The most vivid illustration of Romans 6 is Lazarus (John 11). Jesus raised him from the dead and then said, “Loose him, and let him go” (John 11:44). Lazarus left the grave, got rid of the graveclothes, and began a new life (Col. 3:1ff.). God’s people are both “dead” and “alive” (v. 11) and by faith must live accordingly.

Positional Sanctification

Romans 6:1-12

1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?

2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,

6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.

8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,

9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.

10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.

11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.

What Paul had said at the close of chapter 5—that grace superabounded over all man’s sin—raises another question, and a very important one. Does the teaching of the gospel (salvation by grace through faith) permit or even encourage sinful living? The answer, an emphatic denial, extends over chapters 6–8. Here in chapter 6 the answer centers around three key words: know (vv. 3, 6), reckon or consider (v. 11), and present (v. 13).

It will help us to follow Paul’s argument in this chapter, if we understand the difference between the believer’s position and his practice. His position is his standing in Christ. His practice is what he is or should be in everyday life. Grace puts us into the position, and then teaches us to walk worthy of it. Our position is absolutely perfect because we are in Christ. Our practice should increasingly correspond to our position. It never will correspond perfectly until we see the Savior in heaven, but we should be becoming more and more conformed to His image in the meantime.

1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?

What shall we say then? After you experience God’s wonderful salvation, what can you say about it? Our only fitting response is hallelujah!

Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? In every age there have been those who have denounced the doctrine of justification by faith on the incorrect supposition that this doctrine logically leads to sin. Paul had such objectors, but because of his past experience as a Pharisee, Paul was able to anticipate this particular objection of his critics. They asked, “If the gospel of grace teaches that man’s sin provides for an even greater display of God’s grace, then doesn’t it suggest that we should continue in sin that grace may be all the more abundant? Why should he be concerned about his sin or attempt to live a godly life?” A modern version of this argument is as follows: “You say that men are saved by grace through faith, apart from the law. But if all you have to do to be saved is believe, then you could go out and live in sin.” According to this argument, grace is not a sufficient motivation for holy living. You must put people under the restraints of the law. Paul anticipated this very attitude. Theologically, this belief is known as antinomianism. Paul’s answer is crystal clear. Just because where sin abounded grace super-abounded, the believer is not automatically drawn to immorality in his life-style. On the contrary, a mature understanding of justification by faith leads the believer to appreciate God’s grace, so that the end result is obedience to God out of a heart filled with gratitude.

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