Romans chapter 6 begins with a question. It's a question that connects it to Romans chapter 5. Paul asks, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?” In the proceeding verses Paul has just proclaimed that Christ is the One who will make us righteous through His perfect life and sacrificial death. He has trumpeted the fact that we have “been justified by faith” and “have peace with God through Jesus Christ.” Precious promises of justification and reconciliation resound in every verse. Romans 5 ends with “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” It is in response to this stated reality that Romans 6 begins. "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?"
How prone we are to take advantage of gracious people and of gracious offers. How prone we are to attempt to take advantage of our gracious God. “Oh, grace abounds – let me belly up to some more sin!! It’ll make grace all the more glorious!” Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is onto us and he knocks the question off of our tongues before we can even fully form it!
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be!” Literally it is rendered – “God forbid!!” Presumptuous sin won’t make grace any grander. Instead it makes grace look cheap and cheap grace is not true grace. Cheap grace decieves us, only true grace can save us!
No, saving grace is costly, it cost Christ His life and with His life He bought us. We are not our own, we were bought with a price. Presuming sin spits in the face of saving grace. Is this not another of Satan’s lies to see us enslaved to our lusts? “Oh God is so gracious – go on and give in – Don't worry about it. He’ll forgive you.” To this lie may we, with Paul say “God forbid!”
Romans 6 holds forth the practical antidote for our prevailing problem. It offers us a put off/put on for presumptuous, increasing sin. Put to death the flesh - put off! Walk in newness of life - put on! The old timers referred to these things as mortification and vivification. Basically, it boils down to die to self and live to Christ. I suppose the question is - who am I living for? My flesh, my desires, my lusts, my wants, my supposed needs - or Christ?
Verse 2 declares that we have “died to sin.” What does that look like? Face it, in this life we will never be sinless. If for even a moment you are thinking that you are sinless or will be sinless then please pause and see that even now the sins of pride and self-deception have mastery over you. “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 Jn 1:8). So, we'll never be sinless, yet we have died to sin. What?
True, in this life we will never be sinless; however, there is a difference between my life as a lost sinner and my life as a redeemed sinner. Sin ruled me before I was put into Christ. It was my lord. It ruled my every action, word, and thought. Since then it still remains but it does not reign!
Sin was once a master that controlled me it is now a tyrant that pursues me. It hunts me down as a hound of hell and fights to overthrow me. Praise Christ it is a defeated tyrant. Its days are numbered and it will not follow me into eternity. Thanks be to God for Christ who has secured sin’s destruction and has granted us victory over its stalking! Our “old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.” I am no longer a slave. I am a son! And my omnipotent Father will not let His child fully fall!! SDG!
There is much more that could be said, but I will pause here for today. The fountain that flows from this chapter is deep and wide and it gushes forth freely. Realizing that, I’d rather take my time to sip and savor than to gulp and gorge and miss the true and lasting benefit. This morning, more than anything, may we walk away knowing that true saving faith is not a license to continue in sin. No! God forbid! Instead, it is an enabling of us to cease from sin. It is dying to sin and living to God and it is all of His free and abounding grace. "How shall we who died to sin still live in it?"