“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Romans 6:1-2 (Read Romans 6:1-14)
“Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” The close of Romans 5 points out that where sin abounded, grace abounded even more (5:20). So, should we take advantage of the richness of God’s grace toward us in Christ and continue on in our old sinful ways?
It is a sad fact that many do just that. Since they are saved by grace, they feel it is okay to continue in sin because there is forgiveness for all sins in Christ. We, as Christians, often face the temptation to use the same rationale, thinking we can yield to the sinful desires of our flesh now and repent later.
How does the apostle Paul, writing not his own words and opinions but the word and opinion of God, answer this question? “God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”
What we so often forget is that, in baptism, we were joined to Christ in His death and in His resurrection. Our old sinful nature and all our sins were nailed to the cross of Jesus and punished there. We died with Christ and were laid in His tomb.
But, as Christ was raised from the dead and lives, so also we were raised up by the gracious working of God and are alive to Him (cf. Col. 2:11-15).
The apostle Paul wrote: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life“ (v.3-4).
What is the apostle saying? When we acknowledged our utter sinfulness and placed our faith in Jesus and His blood shed for us on the cross, when we were brought into the new covenant of grace which Christ established through His innocent sufferings and death on the cross in our stead, we died. You and I are dead. Our sinful nature and all our sins were crucified on Calvary.
And, as Jesus rose from the dead, we were made alive to God. We know God, trust in Him, and seek to live for our God and Savior (cf. 2 Cor. 5:15ff.). The old you and me no longer live, but Christ now lives in and through you and me.
It is for this reason that we do not continue in sin and yield ourselves to the sinful desires of our old evil nature inherited from Adam. As Paul wrote, “For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (v. 10-11).
We know that to live in sin brings death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ, our Lord (v.23). And so, rather than continuing in sin and death, we live through faith in Christ Jesus, who died for our sins and rose again!
We remember daily our baptism and continue in God’s covenant of grace. We acknowledge our sins and failures to live in accord with God’s Word and receive forgiveness and new life in Christ Jesus our Savior. And we walk in that new life, living for God as those alive from the dead.
O gracious and merciful God, grant that we not abuse Your grace toward us in Christ Jesus but count ourselves to be dead to sin and alive to You through faith in Jesus and His cross. Amen.
[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]