Read Romans 6
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
Slaves to Righteousness
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We hear it all the time in our culture. And, while that is a true statement, to live as one pleases will always result in death: the death of a dream, an expectation, an identity, a hope. We are all made to worship and serve something or someone. We are all made to give our affection away. We only have two options: We can be a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness. This is what Paul is saying in Romans 6.
Paul anticipated a misunderstanding of the Gospel message: If our works don’t earn us righteousness and our morality doesn’t make us good, why be good at all? Paul’s answer is three fold: know your identity, consider the payment, and yield to a new master.
The word “know” is repeated all throughout chapter 6. Paul is teaching us about our identity—who we are IN CHRIST. We have been bought with Christ’s blood. We are in union with Him. We have been freed from the rule and reign and power of sin. We were saved so that we might be free and fully alive. That is our new identity for those of us who are Christians.
However, something can be true and known but not believed. In verse 11, Paul says, “consider.” This word in the Greek means “to take into account, to calculate, to put to one’s account.” It simply means to believe that what God says about us is true. It’s a matter of faith that takes action: to know and to believe because we act out what we believe.
The rest of this chapter is Paul reminding us that because the Gospel gives us a new incentive for living because of a new ruler, who is good and kind and desires our freedom, our lives should be surrendered to the New Master. There is a new ruling power in our lives now. Paul is urging us to yield to the One who offers freedom and forgiveness and serve Him alone. We are no longer slaves to sin. Sin has no power over us. We are dead to sin, but sin is not dead. Sin still has influence and power on our lives, but we no longer have to yield to it. It can no longer dictate to us. We do not have to obey it as we once did before we were united with Christ. In other words, Paul is saying that sin is still able to lead us, but we no longer have to follow it. Follow Jesus. He is where satisfaction and freedom are found.
- What’s your takeaway from Chapter 6?
- In what area is sin fighting to lead you and influence you?
- So many people think Christianity is constricting and takes away freedom, based on Romans 6, how would you respond to them?
“Anyone who wonders if a Christian can sin is ignorant about sin’s enslaving nature. Put another way: a Christian does not have to obey the Ten Commandments in order to be saved, but a Christian does have to obey the Ten Commandments in order to be a free human. If you don’t obey the law of God, you become a slave to selfishness and sin.” – Tim Keller, Romans 1-7 For You
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