Saturday, September 4, 2010

Shall we go on sinning? Part 1

Romans 6:1-4 - What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?  3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?  4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

The opening question of chapter 6 cannot be understood fully unless you have looked thoroughly at Romans 5.  Because in Romans 5, Paul shows us this beautiful and exquisite picture of God’s grace, shown through Jesus Christ, against the backdrop of the blackness of the human heart… our sin.  So it was important that we look deeply at chapter 5 for the last several weeks, and now we can move on.

v1a - What shall we say then? - You see he is going to confront an abuse going on in the church of his audience.  What shall we say then, it’s a challenge to look back and draw honest Biblical conclusions from what he’s written to them already.  His question, v1b - Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? – He is chiefly addressing professing Christians here.

Should we continue sinning or living in sin that is, so that the grace of God abounds all the more?  You see here’s what many people do.  They profess Christ.  They say that they are saved and in Him, yet their life doesn’t reflect it.  Nothing changes.  They are the same in their behavior as before their supposed conversion.  There were those in Paul’s day (and I suspect in ours as well) who would say, well I am a Christian so I can do whatever I want, I can sin as much as I want and it’s ok because the grace of God will abound all the more in my life because of it and God will just continue to forgive me.  I can sin and sin is no big deal to me because I am a Christian.  That’s their mentality… truly they have rationalized their sin away by creating this twisted understanding of the Grace of God.

Now, let’s establish a couple of things.  Will God in fact continue forgiving us for every sin? Yes.  However, if we are in Christ, our attitude towards sin will not be the same.  Once the Holy Spirit has indwelt us we don’t think about sin the same way.  We want to turn from sin.  We want to live in a way that pleases God.  And when sin does creep up and we fall into it, it grieves us because we know what it cost our Savior to buy our pardon from that and all other sin.

So while Paul has established that though our sins abound, God’s Grace abounds all the more.  As we said last week, Paul means that God’s forgiveness is greater than ALL our sin.  Always has been and always will be.  What these people are doing is twisting scripture and abusing grace by sinning all the more as if to say that their sinning does God a favor…

In truth, they are wriggling to escape the believer’s call to be sanctified.  Because which is easier?  To persevere in the faith at all costs as Paul has laid out in chapter 5, always trusting in Christ, or persevere in sinning?  Sinning, of course, because that’s what comes naturally to us.  That takes no effort to do. 

This text clears up any perversion of grace that may be going around.  It is a sad statement but I know that there are even churches today who teach that we can use grace as a license to sin… those types of teachings are truly damning folks…

Literally rendered, verse 1 reads like this… ‘What shall we affirm then, are we to persevere in breaking God’s Law so that His loving kindness and grace will super abound?’

So there’s Paul’s question, and now the answer.  v2a - 2 May it never be! – Straight to the point.  MAY IT NEVER BE!  It means, GOD FORBID!  That is very very strong language.  It is an indignant reproof.  Paul is stunned!  How could they possibly rationalize away something like a life of sin and still consider themselves born again?  God forbid that we should ever believe a lie from Satan that we can abuse the Grace of God in such a way…

He is impressing this on their minds.  In fact, nothing is more incompatible with God than sin.  How could we say that we have been redeemed by the precious Blood of the innocent Son of God and yet no newness of life seems to be present?  It isn’t that all this sinning they are perpetually doing glorifies God’s grace… it’s actually most likely that their hearts are not truly regenerated.  They may have given lip service to God, but they have never repented of their sin and trusted in Jesus.

Christ is the source of our righteousness, not the license for us to sin.  Christ cancels out our sin debt.  Sin’s that were so serious to God that it required the bloodshed of Christ to atone for them.  Christ abolishes sin in our lives and gives us His Spirit so that we can overcome them.

If then, Jesus died to give us a license to sin, then we aren’t truly set free from sin upon salvation are we?  That’s what God’s Word teaches us…

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