Shall We Continue In Sin?
Ro 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 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. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
6 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. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.
10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 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. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (NKJV)
Ro 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Havenít we just proved that all sin was paid for at Calvary? Havenít we just proved that we were all justified on a hill outside Jerusalem some 2000 years ago? Why not just get baptized, attend church occasionally, take communion, and live as you please?
Using the illustration of the ivy that we used last week, why not just sin more and allow the grace of God to spread out and cover more and more? See the beautiful plant we are making of Godís grace by sinning!
First of all, let me say that there is plenty of sin for Godís grace to cover and He doesnít need us adding more, to make His grace more beautiful. One covered sin would be beautiful enough! But what does Paul say? He answers firmly!
2 Certainly not! (We should certainly not continue to live in purposeful sin! This is a very strong admonition from Paul. Stay away from sinning! Some versions read, ďPerish the thought!Ē In other words ďkill such thoughts immediately! Why Paul? Why should we not sin? And he answers:) How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
Baptized believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are dead to sin. One of the ways we know someone is dead is by their reaction to stimuli. Coax them, command them, seek to resuscitate them, put the defibrillator on them...ĒClear!Ē If they donít respond...theyíre dead! They are no longer part of this realm.
Once sin was the realm in which we lived, but the all surpassing power of Godís grace came to us and delivered us from sin by making us dead and unresponsive to it and itís effects. Sin has lost itís life and for the Christian to return to it, to seek to co-exist with it, is like Chevy Chase strapping his deceased Aunt Edna to the roof of the car in the movie ďVacation. ď
He wanted to co-exist with her death, to pretend it didnít happen lest his vacation be ruined. And isnít it that way with so many professing Christians? We die to sin, but then continue to allow it to come along for the ride. We suspect that without sin our lives will not be much fun! Our ďvacationĒ here on earth will be ruined, and so often, we refuse to give it up!
Someone may ask ďWhen did I die to sin?Ē
3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
Paul clearly states that our death to sin happens at our baptism. What does that tell you about the necessity of being baptized? What does that tell you about leaving children unbaptized until they can make a ďdecision for Christ?Ē What does that tell you about withholding baptism until someone can be instructed in the ways of the faith?
It tells me that they are not yet dead to sin. They are like a little child dragging a lifeless doll with them everywhere they go, their sin still clings to them. We may come to faith without being baptized as we hear and believe the Word, but the first thing such a person desires ought to be baptism. They desire to be united with Christ and His church and separated from sin.
After Phillip explained the Gospel to the Ethiopian Eunich, the first thing he wanted to do was get baptized. How did he know of the importance of baptism if Phillip hadnít told him?
He knew he had to get rid of the old man, and the old man is removed in baptism.
4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, (What did Christ become for the world on the cross at Calvary? He became sin for us.
2Co 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (NKJV)
In Christ, sin personified, was crucified, dead, and buried, and when we are baptized, we are placed in the tomb with him and our sin is crucified, dead, and buried.! This is what happens to us in baptism. Our sin is killed and buried with Christ.
As our souls leave our bodies at death and are separated from them, so it is with the Christian and sin at baptism. When we bring an infant or an adult to baptism, God literally separates them from sin. Sin is dead and it has no more power over them.
Why does He do that? He does it so that we may be regenerated. So we might have life anew.
ďthat just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Here is what we should do with our new life, enabled by the Holy Spirit power of God. We should ever seek to live our lives in a fresh and new way. A way not encumbered by sin, a way guided by the Word of God .and faith in Jesus Christ.
When we return to our old sinful ways we are like a dog returning to his vomit! We got rid of that stuff at our baptism, letís stay away from it. Peter wrote about this in
2Pe 2:20-22 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: "A dog returns to his own vomit," and, "a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire." (NKJV)
Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? I think not!
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, (as a result of our baptism) certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, (then we ought to be identified with Him in life as well) We donít just join Him in the grave and stay there! We come alive with Him to a new life!
6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, (again this is what was done at our baptism)
Lenski says that our connection with Christ in baptism ďis so real that it carries our old man to the very cross of Christ in a spiritual crucifixion that kills our old sinful self.Ē
Think about that the next time you witness a baptism. As the water and Word are applied to the candidate, itís old sinful self is at that very moment being carried away and nailed to the cross, and then entombed!
ďthat the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
Sin will still plague us even after our baptism, but it should no longer calls the shots. In our baptism, we have also received the Holy Spirit who prompts us empowers us to just say no to sin. We are not as helpless as Cain.
Remember Cain? Very angry and dejected over the way he felt God had treated him. God came to him and prompted him, ďIf you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.Ē
Prompted but not internally empowered Cain gave in to his flesh, he gave in to sin and killed his brother. We donít need to give in. We have the prompting AND the internal help of the Holy Spirit.
Our escape from sin and itís power is effected by our own death to sin which was accomplished at our baptism.
7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.
A slave is not free. Thatís the essence of slavery. Before we were baptized we were slaves to sin. We were not born free men. In baptism, our old man slave dies. Think about it. How much work will a slave master get out of a dead slave? None!
So when sin comes knocking at your door asking you to work for him, donít answer. That part that he owned is dead. When sin beckons we need no longer answer the call! .
Look at it this way. Can a dead man sin? Is it possible for you to sin after you die? Of course not. Even the most wicked person in the world stops sinning when they are dead. They are freed from ever sinning again.
This is your baptismal position with Christ. Your sinful body is joined to His body on the cross and sin is put to death! Not that we wonít commit sin, but sin has lost itís power over us. It need not rule us and it can no longer kill us for we have already been crucified with Christ!
The only person that can be killed by sin is that person who is not united with Christ. And we are united with Him by faith and baptism. Both are necessary elements of our salvation. Baptism alone does not save, it must be coupled with faith, and faith alone does not save, it must be coupled with baptism.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
Living with Him empowers us to say no to sin. The next time you are tempted to commit sin. You might stop and ask your ďold man,Ē how he managed to clamor down from the cross.
Then send him back up there again with a reminder that he has been crucified with Christ and that you are now a new person living with the same power at your disposal that was at the disposal of the resurrected Christ.
Tell him you are no longer his slave. You are no longer a slave to sin, and thatís what it is folks, plain and simple....slavery. You who have fallen back into it know what Iím talking about. Your sin may not catch up with you right away, but sooner or later you realize you are enslaved again.
You experience the pain and misery all over again at an even higher level. Donít you think itís time to stop it? Or do you need to be taken farther down into the pit? How hopeless do you need to be before you turn to your only hope?
Donít despair, youíve been baptized, now by faith, put that old nature back up on the tree and leave him there. Knowing that he was crucified with Christ and knowing that you have a newness of life awaiting for you. By a yielding to God, exercise your faith in this great truth.
9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
That Christ was raised from the dead is fact. He was seen by Peter, touched by Thomas, broke bread with the twelve and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. All told over 500 brethren witnessed Jesus alive after His crucifixion.
In Revelation 1:18 Jesus told John, ďI am He who lives and was dead, and behold I am alive forevermore.Ē Death clearly has no more dominion over Him.
He died for the sole purpose of taking care of mankindís sin problem once and for all.
1Pe 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, (NKJV)
He lives again that He might live to God and He lives to God through His church here on earth. He lives through you and me because we have been buried with Him and made alive with Him! We no longer live unto sin, but unto God. We walk in the Spirit because the flesh is a goner, crucified with Christ, there is no flesh left in which to walk!
Reckon that my friend. count it as truth and walk with freedom as you serve the living God!
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.
13 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. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (NKJV)
We have a choice here. Are we going to let sin rule or God rule? Whoever reigns, we will obey and if we choose to sin it is to sin we have bowed the knee. Itís either King Jesus or King Sin.
Sin is always present, always lurking. always ready to hop off the cross and on the throne. Donít let it determine your actions. Stop it before it brings your members into the game. Donít let it get so far as your feet carrying you to the corner liquor store to get drunk.
Donít allow it to move your hand to pick up the phone and make the appointment at the abortion clinic. Donít allow it to move your voice to say yes when a sexual line is about to be crossed. Donít allow it to move that pencil to make a minor adjustment on your taxes. Donít allow it to move your tongue into the destructive game of gossip.
Do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness, instead, present yourselves to God as being alive from these things that are dead. Before you engage in sinful behavior, listen to the Holy Spirit who reminds you that you have been crucified with Christ and you are now alive to God!
You donít do drunkenness, you donít do murder, you donít do sexual sin, you donít do stealing, and you donít do gossip. Remind yourself that you are no longer living under the law but under grace and these sins and all others shall not have dominion over you!
You have been set free, given a new life. free to present your members as instruments of righteousness to God!
Instead of stopping at the corner liquor store, you can stop at the house of a fellow overcomer and exhort one another in your new life! Instead of dialing the abortion clinic, you can call a crisis pregnancy center. Instead of tearing someone down with your tongue, you can build them up....well, you get the idea!
Itís yet another way that grace is superior to law in that it gives you more opportunities to be used for righteousness. A Christian comedian, Mike Warnke once said, that if we would just concentrate on the ďdosĒ in the Bible, we wouldnít have time for the ďdoníts.Ē How true.
Avail yourselves of the ďdoísĒ today. Present your bodies a living sacrifice daily to God, submit your members to Him as instruments of His righteousness. When you think about it, thatís what you are a living sacrifice.
How many know that the sacrifices of the OT were not offered up alive? They needed to be killed first and thatís what needs to be done to our old man daily. The killing takes place at our baptism, and from that moment on we are free to serve Him.
As Lutherans, we remind ourselves daily of our baptismal vows in which we renounce the devil and all his works and ways. This is the equivalent of reminding ourselves that the old man in us has been crucified and buried with Christ.
We also promise to serve the Triune God and Him only. This is the equivalent of yielding our members unto God as instruments of righteousness. It all began with your baptism and should continue on a daily basis until the Lord returns.!
Parents, you need to get this across to your children at the earliest possible age. You need to work with them as long as you have them in this matter of daily becoming the living dead. The living sacrifice. Dead to sin and the ways of the world and alive to Christ.
By the time your kids leave home, this should be a daily habit that they will continue with throughout their life, and the best way to teach them is to show them. Pray with them on a daily basis. Let them hear you say to God.
O Lord, thank you for the cross! Thank you for my baptism which united me with You in your death and resurrection. Lord, help me to remember that as I live for you today. Help me to present my body and all itís members to you today as a living sacrifice. Here I am Lord, unworthy but by Your mercy and grace, willing to live for You today. In Jesus name Amen.