1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?Romans 6:1-2
It is very common in the book of Romans for Paul to preemptively provide arguments to the objections his reader may have. Up until this point He has been making a real case for justification by faith. To summarize this case, let us say that we can not be saved by our good works. When we violate any one part of the law we violate the whole thing. Our good deeds can not oughtweigh our sins. As sinners our works can not justify us before a Holy God. So God provided His Son to keep the law on our behalf. He punished His own Son for our sins on the cross. The blood of Christ atoned for our sin and saved us from the wrath of God for our sin. We are now justified by faith in Christ. Our new position before God, when we trust in Jesus, is a position of grace. We have an unmerited favor with God because of what Christ has done.
So what’s the objection one may have to this? It is characterized in verse 1. Someone may say, “If I’m good at sinning, and God is good at forgiving, and sinning, although bad, allows for forgiveness and grace, which is good, then maybe God and I have a good partnership?! I keep doing what I’m good at (sinning) and God will keep doing what He’s good at (grace)!”. Though of another way, some have argued against the Gospel because they say that if they were to believe that your saved by faith you can just live however you want and it doesn’t matter.
Paul’s argument against this is pretty strong. In verse 2 he says “God forbid.” The English translators use this phrase because they wanted to denote how strongly Paul objected to this. A more literal translation of this phrase is “may it never be”. The point is that Paul couldn’t more strongly disagree with this assessment of the Gospel of grace through faith. Why? Because it leaves out a crucial point.
Paul says that when we get saved we are “dead to sin”. In the coming days we’ll study the rest of this text that explains what this means. For now, let us just say that when we get saved some amazing things happen in us and not just for us. God sends His Holy Spirit to indwell every believer at the moment of salvation. His Spirit can not leave. If you are saved you are indwelled by the Holy Spirit. The Bible says that every person that knows Christ as Savior is a new creation.
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.2Co 5:17 (KJV)
God is doing something incredible in us when we get saved. It doesn’t mean that we will become sinless, but it does mean that our desires change. Our relationship with our sin changes, because our relation to God has changed. We are dead to sin.
It may be hard to believe on some days that we are dead to sin. We’ll talk more about this in the next few days, but suffice it to say for now that just as we are saved by faith, God desires us to live by faith. We must trust God in moments of temptation to help us to consider ourselves dead to sin.
We must strive to discipline ourselves against the very thing that put Christ on the cross. We should not live any longer therein!
Is there a sin that you’re struggling with? The answer should be yes in the sense that we all will fight sin until we get to heaven. What’s the proper response? Repentance and confession. Take some time to do that today!