Dr. Gil Wagoner came into
my office one day and said, "Wil, I have this lovely
couple who have been my patients for quite some
time. They have asked me to start a Bible study in
their home, but with my schedule at the hospital and
with the medical intern program I can't possibly
start another ministry at the present time. Could
you help me out?"
As part of my follow–up
on the patients at Hospital Vozandes I spent some
time with this family. Francisco and I visited his
neighbors and announced our intentions of having a
Bible study in his home. On the very first night we
had a living room full of neighbors and friends. I
shared with them how to come to an intimate love
relationship with Jesus Christ. I emphasized that we
have all gotten an "F" on our spiritual report
cards, and that it was impossible for any of us to
merit a right relationship with God on our own
virtue and character. Then I shared that "while we
were still helpless, at the right time Christ died
for the ungodly." He died on our behalf. He died
while we were still helpless, needy sinners. "God
demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we
were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6,
8). While I was still sharing these verses
Francisco's eyes, face lit up and he interjected,
"You mean He loves me, too." I said, "Yes,
Francisco, He loves you this much. God never has to
tell you again that He loves you. He demonstrated it
at Calvary. God loves you so much He wants to give
you a free gift of eternal life. You can't earn it.
It is already paid for in full." I then turned to
Romans 10:9–10 which says, "that if you confess with
your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart
that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be
saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in
righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses,
resulting in salvation." Francisco said to the
group, "I want this!" In the next few moments, he
and others believed on Jesus Christ as their
personal Savior. When I left his home that night
Francisco and his friends had experienced peace with
The Apostle Paul told the
Roman Christians that this is the experience of
every believer. That deep inner peace comes from
being "justified by faith." The moment you put your
faith in Christ the LORD God declares you to be
righteous in His eyes. He sees you trusting in the
death of Christ and declares you acquitted.
As serious as that simple
message of the good news of Jesus Christ is there is
the tendency of some individuals to abuse this new
found grace. Grace is never cheap. It is the most
priceless gift God could give to mankind. The very
thought that all of your sins are wiped away,
cleansed, forgiven forever is immense. Sad to say,
there will be some who will take advantage of it and
THE PROBLEM OF
PREACHING SALVATION BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH (6:1-2)
The battle cry of the
Reformation was "Salvation by grace through faith!"
This was a return to the great truth the Apostle
Paul preached to the Romans when he declared "a man
is justified by faith apart from works of the Law."
We have been
justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ
alone (5:1, 20-21).
Paul summarizes his whole
argument in the first four chapters of Romans with
these words, "Therefore, having been justified by
faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus
Christ . . . " (Romans 5:1).
He ended chapter five by
reminding us the purpose of the law was to bring a
sense of condemnation and an awareness of guilt. It
points its finger to all of humanity and says you
failed. You have sinned. You stand in the need of
God's grace. "The Law came in so that the
transgression would increase; but where sin
increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as
sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign
through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus
Christ our Lord" (Romans 5:20-21). In Galatians,
Paul says the Law was a tutor to take us by the hand
and lead us to Christ so we could be saved by grace
through faith in His death on the cross for us.
The message of grace is
clear. "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for
those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). We have
received grace sufficient to cover every sin we will
ever commit. Sin increased and grace super abounded.
Where actual transgressions increased, grace was
added to this super abundance of grace. The word
means to "abound beyond measure," "abound over and
above." This grace super abounded with more grace
added to that. More grace was added to this super
abundance of grace. You can't out sin grace. A. T.
Robertson said, "The flood of grace surpassed the
flood of sin, great as that was (and is)."
We have a new standing
before God. He has pronounced us "Acquitted!" "Set
Free!" "Forgiven!" Let us never forget it is because
Jesus Christ died in our place on the cross as our
substitute. The blood of Jesus cleanses us of every
sin. Because of His death, you have been set free!
God takes us in our state
of sin and by His sovereign act declares the
believing sinner righteous in His sight. It is a
judicial pronouncement God makes based on Christ's
righteousness and His substitutionary death on our
behalf. It is God's gift. It is absolutely free.
Christ paid for it. All we can do is freely accept
it as our own.
The problem defined
Now that we are justified
in this marvelous grace, "shall we sin to our
heart's content and see how far we can exploit the
grace of God" (Philips paraphrase of 6:1)? Can we
live an irresponsible lifestyle? "Are we to continue
in sin so that grace may increase?" The present
tense indicates the practice of sin as a habit.
Some clown was teaching
that since you are saved by grace and God has
completely dealt with your sins you could continue
to sin so that grace might be in more abundance. Sin
it up! You are already forgiven. It really doesn't
matter. God will forgive you anyway. Besides, it
gives grace a chance to operate in your life. The
more you sin the more grace you get. Grace will
increase if we sin more. That is abusing grace. The
individual should really question whether he has
ever been saved by grace.
You can hear the legalist
arguing with Paul: "Once saved always saved leads to
lawlessness. You preachers of salvation by grace
through faith weaken our sense of moral
responsibility. You only encourage sinful behavior
with that kind of teaching."
Let's face it that is
always the risk of preaching salvation by grace.
Dr. D. M. Lloyd–Jones a
number of years ago made a candid observation. He
said, "There is no better test as to whether a man
is really preaching the New Testament gospel of
salvation than this, that some people might
misunderstand it and misinterpret it to mean that it
really amounts to this, that because you are saved
by grace alone it does not matter at all what you
do; you can go on sinning as much as you like
because it will redound all the more to the glory of
Paul's answer to
grace abusers (v. 2).
Shall we continue to
practice sin as a habit? Paul's response is, "Heaven
forbid!" Never! Individuals who actually think that
God’s pardon gives them liberty to sin without
penalties are irresponsible.
He shouts out, "May it
never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in
it?" The New International Version reads: "By no
means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any
The freedom we have in
Christ is not a freedom to do anything we want to
do, but to be everything God wants us to be. We are
free to live the Christian life.
Paul wrote to the
Galatian Christians telling them they had been set
free. "It was for freedom that Christ set us free;
therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject
again to a yoke of slavery . . . For you were called
to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom
into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love
serve one another" (Galatians 5:1, 13).
Paul says, remember you
are dead men! "How shall we who died to sin still
live in it?" Remember that you are legally dead!
When we surrendered our lives to Jesus Christ and He
became the Lord of our lives we were the very ones
who died. It is past tense, a once and for all
death. It is death in a judicial sense.
WE HAVE A NEW POSITION
IN CHRIST (6:3-11)
position in Christ (v. 3, 6, 9).
Our position in Christ is
beautifully illustrated in baptism by immersion in
water. Baptism is a symbol or ordinance. By its
performance, we call to mind what Christ did for us.
It helps us understand our new identification with
When a believer descends
into the water and the water closes in over his
head, it is like being buried when you die. When you
come up out of the water, it is like rising from the
grave. It is a picture of dying and rising again.
The believer of the Lord Jesus Christ is saying he
died to one kind of life and rose to another kind.
He died to the old life of sin and rose to the new
life in Christ.
"Or do you not know that
all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus
have been baptized into His death?" (v. 3). Baptism
is a public testimony or proclamation of a
believer's new inward relationship to Christ. That
inward union takes place before the act of baptism.
Instead of "into Christ" it would be better to
understand "were baptized unto Christ or in Christ."
The translation "into" makes Paul say that the union
with Christ was brought to pass by means of baptism,
which is not his idea. The original word (eis)
"into" denotes an inward union, participation or
The word "baptize"
primarily means identification. It is a word used to
describe dipping a garment into dye and changing the
identity of the cloth. If I dip this new white shirt
in a bowl of red die, it becomes identified as a red
shirt. It is no longer white. You do not refer to it
any longer as the white shirt. It now has a new
Baptism points in two
directions: back to Calvary to Christ's death,
burial and resurrection; and forward to our death to
sin, burial of the old life, and the new life in
Christ (6:3–4, 5–7).
"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" (v. 4).
The New Testament puts a
strong emphasis on the fact that the believer "died
in Christ." "All for whom Christ died also died in
Christ. All who died in Christ rose again with
Christ. This rising again with Christ is rising to
newness of life after the likeness of Christ's
resurrection. To die with Christ is, therefore, to
die to sin and to rise with him to the life of new
obedience, to live not to ourselves but to him who
died for us and rose again. The inference is
inevitable that those for whom Christ died are those
and those only who die to sin and live to
righteousness" (John Murray, Redemption
Accomplished and Applied, pp. 69–70).
Being buried in the
waters of baptism points us backwards to Christ’s
death and burial and to our death to sin. It is a
picture of His death and burial. Our identification
with Christ is so vivid in Paul's mind that we have
been buried together with Him. "We have been buried
together with Him through baptism into death."
Observe the closeness of the relationship. How can
we possibly continue to choose to habitually sin?
Baptism is a picture of death. Dead people are
buried out of sight. Dead people have no life. The
old life has ceased. Dead men don't sin. Moreover,
baptism also looks back to Christ’s resurrection
from the dead. Christ rose from the dead. It also
pictures our new life by the coming out of the
watery grave to walk on the other side of the
baptismal grave. We are raised to new life in
Christ. We "walk about in newness of life." It
implies a habitual conduct. A change has taken place
in our lives. Baptism even pictures our own
resurrection from the grave when Christ returns.
Our identity changed when
we came to Christ. When we believed on Christ as our
savior and received eternal life we were dipped into
His death and resurrection. Our identity was
changed. "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a
new creature; the old things passed away; behold,
new things have come" (2 Corinthians 5:17). His
death to sin became our death to sin; His burial
became our burial; His resurrection became our
resurrection. We have a whole new identity.
No longer are we
identified with Adam's race. We are now identified
with Christ and His family.
The baptism of the Holy
Spirit does the work in our inner being and water
symbolizes or pictures what is done. The symbol in
the baptism is not the reality, but the picture of
Paul continues with his
argument. "For if we have become united with Him in
the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also
be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing
this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in
order that our body of sin might be done away with,
so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he
who has died is freed from sin" (Rom. 6:5–7).
Paul's assumption is
true. Since we have become united with Christ in the
likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in
the likeness of His resurrection. We have become
permanently united with Christ. It is like being
grown together when limbs of fruit trees are grafted
together. It is an intimate progressive union.
Therefore, how can a person who has been brought
into this kind of an intimate love relationship with
Christ habitually practice sin?
Paul is not advocating
sinless perfection here. We will not become perfect
in our practice until we see Jesus face to face in
glory. But Paul does stress a new creation, a new
relationship with God even though he is not yet
perfect. It is a progressive sanctification, or
progressive spiritual growth in the likeness of
Christ. Paul still has to deal with sin because he
is still a sinner.
Bear in mind
sanctification and justification are not the same.
However, you cannot separate sanctification from
justification. Sanctification springs from the
efficacy of Christ's death and resurrection and our
identification with Christ. God has made more than
enough provision to cover all our needs through the
death of Christ and His resurrection.
Know that you are
"dead to sin."
What was crucified with
Christ? Literally, "the old man" was crucified and
buried. The "old self was crucified with Him" (v.
6). We were crucified together. The old unrenewed
self before our union with Christ was crucified. It
did not take place when we were baptized. It took
place when we died to sin. If we have died to sin
how can we continue to be a slave to it? Slavery
ends when the slave dies. Our "old self was
crucified with Christ" (v. 3, 6-7). The body
belonging to or ruled by sin was rendered
inoperative. It was made inactive. The old man and
the new man do not coexist together in the believer.
"To suppose that the old
man has been crucified and still lives or has been
raised again from this death is to contradict the
obvious force of the import of crucifixion . . .
Paul says 'our old man has been crucified,' and not
'our old man is in the process of being crucified'"
(John Murray, Principles of Conduct, p. 212).
Sin is not the
controlling factor in the believer because the old
man has been crucified.
In verse ten Paul says,
"the death Christ died, He died to sin, once for all
. . ." What was that sin He died to? Christ never
had a personal experience with sin. He knew no sin.
How can Paul say "Christ died to sin once for all?"
Whose sin? My sin! "The wages of sin is death"
(Romans 6:23). He died my death. He paid the penalty
for my sin (v. 7). He died for Wil Pounds.
Therefore, I am no longer
guilty. Verse seven, says we are "freed,"
"acquitted" "justified." It is perfect passive
indicative of dikaiow and means we stand
justified, set free from. In this verse the word
means to be declared free from sin or to be
acquitted from sin. The dead person sins no more.
Remember that we died with Christ. We are released
from sin. We are legally dead, no guilt, no power.
The believer stands justified.
Charles Hodge well said,
"The believer cannot continue to serve sin for he
who has died (with Christ) is justified, and
therefore free from sin, free from its dominion.
This is the great evangelical truth which underlies
the apostle's whole doctrine of sanctification. The
natural reason assumes that acceptance with a holy
and just God must be founded on character, that men
must be holy in order to be justified. The gospel
reverses this, and teaches that God accepts the
ungodly; that we must be justified in order to
Know that you are
alive in Christ (v. 8-10).
We have been set free,
and are no longer slaves to sin. We are free to live
the Christian life. As far a God is concerned, we
are already on the resurrection side of the grave!
"Now if we have died with
Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
knowing that Christ, having been raised from the
dead, is never to die again; death no longer is
master 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" (vv. 8–10).
Paul builds on the idea
in verse six and goes on to say in verse eight,
"Since we have died once for all with Christ, we
believe that we shall also live together with Him."
Again, it is pictured in the waters of baptism.
Christ died once and only once, not once upon a
time. It was a definite act at a point and place and
time in history. It never had to be repeated. He is
alive, never to die again. Moreover, we are in
Christ. This is our sanctified life. This is the
only way to live the Christian life. Paul's whole
argument revolves around our intimate living
relationship with Christ.
In verse nine death is
pictured as master and lord. Since Christ has been
raised from the dead, and will never die again,
death no longer is master over Him. Death has been
conquered. Christ is the Lord over death.
We are under a new
landlord. The old landlord no longer has any right
to the property. There is a new owner. We no longer
have any obligations to the old landlord. We can
only obey the new landlord!
"Reckon" on your
new position in Christ (v. 11).
Now what are we to do
with these great truths we have just learned? The
believer is to look upon himself in the light of
this truth. He is to remind himself that he is freed
from the penalty and dominion of sin. He is also to
count upon the fact that he receives his spiritual
life from Christ daily.
The word logizomai
is translated "reckon" (KJV) "count on" (NIV)
"consider" (NASB). Paul says reckon on your position
in Christ (6:11). "Even so consider (reckon, count
on) yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God
in Christ Jesus." The present imperative could mean
"do this continually," or "continue doing this." It
is imperative that we have this new mind set.
The word "reckon" means
to calculate, to take into account, to figure, to
count on, consider the fact. Let your mind play on
these truths. Meditate upon them, keep saying to
yourselves, remind yourself of who you are in
Christ. Be constantly counting upon the fact that
you are dead to sin, and alive to God in Christ
Jesus. The secret to holy living is in the mind of
Baptism does not make one
dead to sin and alive to God. That is a spiritual
operation "in Christ Jesus" which is performed by
the Holy Spirit. It is only pictured by baptism.
Paul makes a plea by using the symbol to live up to
the ideal of the baptized life.
Here are the facts Paul
says. Christ paid your penalty; Christ set you free;
live it up! Walk in the newness of life! You are
dead to sin; you are alive to God; you are free to
live. How can you blow it?
Leon Morris helps us the
grasp this great truth. " . . . Paul is arguing that
his readers should come to see the truth of their
situation. Christ's death and resurrection has
altered their position, and they should live in
accordance with the new reality . . . The present
tense points to a continuing process; this goes on
throughout the Christian life. The believer is to
take seriously his death with Christ (v. 8) and
Christ's death to sin (v. 10). Since Christ died to
sin and since the believer is dead with Christ, the
believer is dead to sin and to recognize the fact of
that death. This does not mean he is immune to
sinning. Paul does not say that sin is dead but that
the believer is to count himself as dead to it." The
sin of the unbeliever is that of a slave to sin,
whereas the believer has been set free. Morris
continues, "Paul tells him that he is to recognize
that where sin is concerned he is among the dead. He
has been delivered from its dominion. And death is
permanent. Once united to Christ he must count
himself as dead to the reign of sin forever. He is
to reckon also that he is alive to God. . . . God
sees us not as we are 'in ourselves' but as we are
'in Christ'" (Leon Morris The Epistle to the
Romans, pp. 256, 257).
I can hear someone
saying. Yeah but I don't feel dead to sin! Feelings
don't have anything to do with it. It is a judicial
fact. Appropriate your victory by faith in Christ.
My alarm clock goes off
at 6:00 A.M. every morning. I wake up one cold, dark
dreary morning and I don't feel liked it is 6 A.M. I
can argue all I want to, but it is still 6 A.M. The
fact won't change. The fact isn't affected by my
feelings! Moreover, I can't change the truth about
my relationship with Christ either.
WE HAVE THE POWER
THROUGH OUR POSITION TO LIVE THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
We can now walk in
newness of life (v. 4, 9b, 12-14).
We have been raised up
with Christ and set free to live Christ. He desires
to live His risen life through us. He has taken up
residence in us to empower us to live His life.
"Therefore do not let sin
reign in your mortal body so that you obey its
lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of
your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness
Don't let sin be
king of your body (v. 12, 13a).
"Let not sin continue to
reign" as it did once (5:12). Don't "continue to
sin" (v. 1). Sin does not have to be the king of
your life. You do not have to obey it any longer. It
is no longer your master. The reign of sin is over
with you. Self–indulgence is inconsistent with trust
in the vicarious atonement of Christ. Sin does not
have the dominion over the person who is united to
Paul adds, "but present
yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and
your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
For sin shall not be master over you, for you are
not under law but under grace" (v. 13b, 14).
The Apostle calls us to a
wholehearted and total commitment to Christ. "Do not
keep on presenting your members to sin . . . but
once for all present yourselves to God."
Do not make the grace of
God an excuse for sinning. Grace can never lead to
Life under grace is
a victorious life.
Make a once for all break
with your old life and as a daily habit present
yourself to God as one who has risen from the dead.
You were dead; now you are alive.
It is not possible to
live the Christian life without union with Christ.
Every believer is in Christ. Live your life so close
to Christ that it can be said you are in Him.
Have you come to a
personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Are you
depending upon Him for your daily spiritual bread?
Do you find in Him your water of life? Has He become
the very air you breathe?
The person who has died
to sin no longer lives there. It no longer dominates
his thoughts, affections, will and actions. Christ
and the new life in Christ dominate his thinking.
In this passage of
Scripture it is crucial for us to bear in mind that
we have been describing the Christian life. It
begins with a spiritual birth. If you do not have
this peace it may be because you have never been
born again. That is where this kind of life begins.
We are always ready to help you put your faith and
trust in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Here
is where you can find out how to trust in Christ as
Title: Romans 6:1-14
Free at Last!