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Romans 6:1-15 (web)

Sanctification and Sin I

Dead to Sin
Slaves with respect to Destiny

6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
6:2 May it never be! We who died to sin, how could we live in it any longer?
6:3 Or don't you know that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into his death?

6:4 We were buried therefore with him through baptism to death,
that just like Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father,
so we also might walk in newness of life.

6:5 For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death,
we will also be part of his resurrection;
6:6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him,
that the body of sin might be done away with,
so that we would no longer be in bondage to sin.
6:7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.
6:8 But if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him;
6:9 knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dies no more.
Death no more has dominion over him!
6:10 For the death that he died, he died to sin one time;
but the life that he lives, he lives to God.
6:11 Thus also consider yourselves also to be dead to sin,
but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
6:12 Therefore don't let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.
6:13 Neither present your members to sin as instruments of unrighteousness,
but present yourselves to God, as alive from the dead,
and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
6:14 For sin will not have dominion over you.
For you are not under law, but under grace.

Discussion Questions

Why would anyone think that continuing to sin would make grace abound? (From previous section)
How would you put Paul's answer to the question in vs 1 into your own words?
What does it mean to be baptized into Christ's death?
What were we buried with respect to?
Have you been freed from sin? In what respect?
If you've been freed from sin, do you still sin? Why?
Is the idea of being dead to sin in this section talking about sin no longer determining our destiny or sin no longer controlling our behavior, or what?
What does it mean to be united with him in his resurrection?

How do you go about counting (reckoning) yourselves to be dead to sin but alive to God?
List various motivations we may have for not sinning.
How might you go about not letting sin reign in and through your physical body?
vs 14 What does "not being under law, but under grace" have to do with sin not being our master?


Shall We Continue in Sin?

Rom 6:1,2
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

Previously Paul had mentioned this question in Rom 3:8 brought up by unbelievers  "Why not say— as we are being slanderously reported as saying and as some claim that we say— "Let us do evil that good may result"? Their condemnation is deserved." But the reason why his critics may have brought this up is because they made false inferences from Paul's teachings, such as what he said in chapter 5:20 "The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more" And there are many false inferences one can make from the teachings of Jesus and Paul by not interpreting them in the sense in which they intended. Peter later says about such people, "Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction." 2Peter 3:15,16 And it is interesting that Peter continues, "Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position." 2Pet 3:17 For what these people read into what Jesus and Paul say is lawlessness.

As for this question, Paul gives it little weight as he deals with it as a rhetorical question, the answer being rather obvious from a Biblical perspective, namely that those who have received Christ have died to sin and so it is unnatural in inappropriate for such people to intentionally go on sinning. In fact John later says, "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God." 1John 3:9 The unbeliever may ask, "Why not sin?" Whereas those born of God ask "Why sin?"  For "those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires." Gal 5:24 For "the grace of God teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age."
Titus 2:12

Baptized into His Death

Rom 6:3,4 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

"Baptize" is to immerse one thing into another thing. That other thing could be water, or it could be something other than water, as John the Baptist has said, "I (John) baptize you with water, but he (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." Mr 1:8 Water baptism is distinct from the baptism with the Holy Spirit, as we can see for example in Acts 10 whereupon hearing the gospel, Cornelius and his family received the Holy Spirit and only later were water baptized.  Acts 10:47 "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" and later Peter recalls this account saying, "As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?" Acts 11:15-17 Thus Peter makes a distinction between water baptism and baptism with the Holy Spirit

While there are a number of times in Acts and the gospels the baptism with the Holy Spirit is mentioned, it is never mentioned in any of the New Testament letters to the churches. Why? Very simply because the baptism with the Holy Spirit is simply the receiving of the Holy Spirit which is common to all believers. In fact the only verse in the letters that have the word "baptize" and "Spirit" in the same verse is 1Cor 12:13 "For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body— whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free— and we were all given the one Spirit to drink." And "if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ." Rom 8:9b

Now much as "death" is generally a negative connotation, Paul will use it as a positive connotation a number of times these next few chapters. "For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." Col 3:3 All the way back in the gospels Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." John 5:24

Raised with Christ

Rom 6:5-7 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,  knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.

The "For" statement here is meant to explain the previous verse of our having died with Christ being for the purpose of our living a new life. In a sense, having died with Christ we are justified from sin, freed from condemnation. Sin no longer controls our destiny. In fact the word "freed" in verse 7 is more literally "justified", the Greek word being used commonly in such contexts as Rom 5:1 "having  now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him."

But let's remember that's not the end of the story. Salvation incorporates more than justification. For Christ also rose from the dead, which represents our resurrection from the dead unto living a new life, free from the bondage to sin. Such behavior is not the cause, not the condition for salvation, but rather the effect of having been saved.

When does this new life occur? It occurs at the resurrection. But the Bible speaks of two resurrections for the believer. There's a resurrection that occurs when one comes to faith in Christ. For "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2Cor 5:17 And Col 2:12 says "buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead."

But there is also a future resurrection of which I think Paul is alluding to here in Romans as he uses the future tense, "we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection" and is spoken of elsewhere such as 1Cor 6:14 "And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power." and  2Cor 4:14 "knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you."

Consequently we have a new life now, though we still dwell in a body of death, that is, a body which contains a sinful nature, a body which is corruptible and will die. And Paul will elaborate on this further in these next few chapters. But the fullness of that life will come upon our physical resurrection from the dead, the main point being that our destiny, the fate of the believer is to live a lifestyle free from sin.

We Died with Christ

Rom 6:8-10  Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.

Again Paul is pointing to the future - the fate of the believer is to be resurrected from the dead and live forever with Christ. And "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him." Heb 9:27,28

When Christ was in the flesh, his destiny was to die. But having died, death is no longer in his future. In a similar sense, if we died with Christ, condemnation is no longer in our future, but rather eternal life is guaranteed. "Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him" 2Tim 2:11  And just as He lives to God so we live to Christ. For "he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again." 2Cor 5:15

Reckon it so!

Rom 6:11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

"Reckon" is to "consider it to be so". What is it to reckon oneself to be dead to sin? Sin no longer impacts our righteous standing with God. Since salvation is not of works, there is nothing one can do, no sin that a saved person can commit which would cause them to lose salvation, because one's salvation status is not a function of one's performance, else salvation would be of works. Consequently sin no longer brings condemnation for the Christian and thus no basis for the believer to fear death. For among other things Christ died to "free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death." Heb 2:15 Consequently "as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Rom 5:21

Now this truth may bring one to the question, "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" Rom 6:1 or "Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?" Rom 6:15 The fact that these are the very questions put to Paul would indicate we're on the right track, and the answers Paul will elaborate upon from this point on to the end of chapter 8. But basically they involve the second part of Rom 6:11, reckoning ourselves to be alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. I reckon we have a relationship with God empowered by the Holy Spirit and a destiny associated with the relationship which is characterized as eternal life; a destiny free from sin and condemnation.

Do Not Let Sin Reign

Rom 6:12,13 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

"Therefore" is to say, "since we are dead to sin and alive to God". But the fact that he goes on to speak in the imperative "do not let sin reign", indicates that sin still has an influence. The sinful nature is still present in the believer battling over the control of one's behavior. Thus Paul says in Gal 5:16,17 "I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish." The believer needs to keep alert to this battle, exercising self-control, else through negligence the sinful nature gain the upper hand.

The members of our body include not only the outward physical body, but the heart, the mind, whatever constitutes the soul. "’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’" Luke 10:27

Later in Romans Paul writes, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Rom 12:1,2

Not Under Law, Under Grace

Rom 6:14,15 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!

Being under grace, "there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." Rom 8:1,2 The law of sin and death is if you sin, you are condemned. But by the atoning work of Christ and through faith in Him, we have been set free from that principle. It no longer holds for the believer. But we are not free from law. For as children of God we operate under the law of the Spirit of life.

The Spirit regenerates us in accordance with God's New Covenant promise, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." Eze 36:26,27 Thus while it is natural for those in the flesh to ask, "Why not sin?", it is now natural for those of the Spirit to ask, "Why sin?" For just as righteous behavior is unnatural to those in the flesh, unrighteous behavior is unnatural to those of the Spirit.

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

Jan 28,2022