When I read God’s Word most times I am reading slowly, stopping to consider what I have just read, writing thoughts and meanings, looking up related Scripture, etc.
This week, however, I spent some time reading Scripture aloud as letters were probably read when delivered to their intended audience. I am thinking that as the letters were read they probably didn’t stop to break them down; they probably just read them straight through.
Going through methodically obviously has much value; but, I think reading straight through also has much value. It seems like the flow, and the intended impact really lands on the reader and listener when read in this way.
In reading Romans in this way, I was struck by the impact Romans 6 had on me; therefore, I intend to roll through Romans 6 and comment. This commentary certainly won’t be as deep is it would be if the chapter was dug into in a slow methodical way, but I am excited to see what comes of it….so, let’s go!
Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
The perfect question to ask since Paul just established, in chapter 5, that a person is saved by Grace through Faith. In other words, you can’t earn or deserve salvation, it is a free gift, grace, God giving you what you do not deserve. Paul’s point that “where sin abounds, Grace abounds all the more” might have the suggestion that a sinner can just keep on sinning, after all, “GRACE ABOUNDS!”
Romans 6:2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
This hammers home the point that if we have been born again the old us is dead, and the new us is alive in Christ. As the Scriptures say, “he who is in Christ is a new creation, a new creature”. The old you, the old creature, was in bondage to sin, you continued in sin with no desire or ability to quit sinning. The new you, however, has been given “all things that pertain to life and godliness”.
Romans 6:3-4 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Those who have been given eyes to see the Truth of the Gospel are commanded to repent and be baptized. Our baptism is symbolic of our death of the “old man” and the birth of the “new man”. If we have saving faith in Christ we will walk in newness of life, we cannot walk as the old man with the mind that we will just continue in sin, after all, Grace abounds. This way of thinking is an indicator that we have not been regenerated by the Holy Spirit – God reconciles and regenerates, one is not done without also doing the other.
Romans 6:5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin.
Until we are born again, we are slaves to sin; we are in bondage to sin. A slave master will direct a slave in any direction they want, and our slave master, sin, did exactly that. We had no ability to disobey its command – but now, in Christ, we have been set free from this bondage. We have been transferred from the domain of darkness to the Kingdom of God.
Romans 6:8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
Here lies the hope of the Christian. Instead of receiving what we deserve, which is to suffer under the Wrath of God for eternity, we have received Mercy. But, not only do we not receive what we deserve, we also receive what we do not deserve, which is eternal life with Christ. As the Scripture says; "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him"
Romans 6:9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.
Christ defeated sin and death on the Cross. The sins of the world were placed on Him, the Wrath of God was then poured out on Him. He endured the Wrath of God to pay the penalty, the consequence of sin; that is why He said, “It is finished.” He who had never sinned became sin for us, He paid the price to redeem His creation.
Romans 6:10-12 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.
Verse 12 is a good example of how reading Romans 6 all the way through and letting the logical progression of Paul’s writing land on you is powerful. Paul is still answering the question raised in verse 1, “are we to continue in sin that grace by abound?” Part of that answer indicates our responsibility. The Christian life is not a life of auto-pilot. We do not “get saved” and become robotic. We have a responsibility to not obey the passions of our mortal body, our flesh. We have a responsibility to cleanse ourselves from what is dishonorable. We have a responsibility to make every effort to supplement our faith with virtue.
Romans 6:13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.
“Our members” is referring to our body parts. Our eyes, our hands, our mind, our tongue, our ears, etc.. When we say, think, do, watch, and listen to that which is unrighteous, we are presenting our members to sin as instruments of unrighteousness. We are essentially saying, “here you go sin, here’s my ______, do what you wish.” We are commanded not to do that, we are commanded, instead, to present our members to God, as instruments of righteousness. Instead saying, “here I am God, use me, use me as an instrument of righteousness, be glorified in and through me.”
Romans 6:14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
The Law, and the adherence of the Law does not save a person. The Law only brings the knowledge of sin. When we are outside of Christ we are under the Law and will be judged by the Law. The Law points you to Christ, shows your need of the Savior, that is why the Law must be preached. Once you are in Christ, born again, you are no longer under the law, you are under grace. Instead of being under an “umbrella” that has no ability to stop the Wrath of God from raining down on you, you are now under the perfect “umbrella” of Grace that has complete ability to save you from the Wrath to come. Under sin’s dominion, sin can rightly say, “he’s a wicked sinner deserving of hell”. Under Grace, sin can say that, but Christ can rightly say, “true, but he is my child, and I have paid the price, therefore, there is no condemnation for him, he belongs to Me, his debt has been paid in My Blood.”
Romans 6:15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!
Paul basically asks the same question again as he did in verse 1. Then he goes about answering the question again.
Romans 6:16-18 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
This is an interesting point. Although Paul, a few verses prior, made the point that we are set free, we cannot confuse our freedom with liberty to sin. We are now slaves to Christ, slaves to obedience to Christ. Obedience to sin leads to eternal death. The Christian is obedient to God from the heart, because God has given us a new heart, with new desires, a desire to be righteous for His glory. The Christian does not grit their teeth trying not to sin under their own strength, the Christian relies on the power of the Spirit of God in them, depending on and trusting in Christ alone – they are slaves of righteousness, their allegiance is to their King, King Jesus- not as a means to be saved, but as the result, and evidence of having been saved.
Romans 6:19-21 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
When we were slaves to sin, we were free in regard to righteousness because we had no “motive” to be righteous, we had no desire to be righteous. Even our right living and good deeds were done from a selfish and prideful motive, which is just more sin. The result of our sin is death. When we are born again we look back at our wickedness and we are now ashamed, there is no Godly good fruit produced in those things, there is only death.
Romans 6:22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
Having been set free from sin and becoming a slave to righteousness in Christ is now producing a whole new kind of fruit. This new fruit glorifies God and leads to your sanctification, and its end leads to eternal life.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
For those that think they need to earn their way, this verse points to the reality that there is only one thing you have earned, death. For those that thinking of their sin as no big deal, know that your sin is a big deal, and it leads to death. Although we die physically, our soul lives forever. Our soul will either be eternally dead and condemned in eternal hell, or our soul will have eternal life. Eternal life is a free gift. Eternal life is available to us only through Christ. When Christ is your Lord and Savior, when you have surrender all to Him, trusting in Him alone to save you from the Wrath to come – nothing in your hands you bring, but only to the Cross you cling, then you have eternal life.