Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ: Romans 6:1-14

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?”  (Rom. 6:1)

In other words: If God is so forgiving, why change? Why not continue in sin if His grace is indeed greater than the deepest stain of sin? (Rom. 5:20)

Never one to hold back his beliefs, Paul retorts to this distorted line of reasoning: “By no means!” He continues describing the Christian’s death to sin by using the picture of baptism.

Baptism

“In the church of Paul’s day, immersion was the usual form of baptism—that is, new Christians were completely “buried” in water. They understood this type of baptism to symbolize the death and burial of the old way of life. Coming up out of the water symbolized resurrection to new life with Christ” (NIV Study Bible).

Baptism is a witness to the world that one identifies with Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory."  - Colossians 3:1-4

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”  Colossians 3:1-4

So What?

God’s amazing grace covers all our sins, but His forgiveness doesn’t make sin less serious. Although His mercy and pardon are free, it cost Jesus His very life to pay our ransom from sin. God never intended His unlimited reservoir of grace to be wasted, or become an excuse for immorality.

As long as we are here on earth we will feel the pull of sin and temptation, but through the indwelling Holy Spirit, God frees us from sins’ captivity. If we think of our old, sinful life as dead and buried, we have a strong motive to resist sin and enjoy this new life with Christ. This is the believer’s daily choice and responsibility. (For more on this concept see: Galatians 3:27, Colossians 2:12 and 3:1-4.)

The Primacy of Love, Romans 13:8-14

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law . . . . Love is the fulfillment of the law.” – Romans 13:8-10

Is Paul being extreme in calling “love for others” a debt? Especially when we feel slighted, or our love isn’t returned?

Maybe.

But all the best rationalizations for not loving others—even the most difficult people—drown in the outpouring of Christ’s lavish love upon us.

God’s Unconditional Love

In this section, Paul reminds believers of the following:

  • We are to follow Christ’s example of loving others.
  • No limit can be placed on this obligation to love since Christ’s love is infinitely greater than our love.
  • We will always be indebted to Christ.
  • Imitating God’s love fulfills the Law because it does no harm to neighbors, and goes beyond human legal requirements (James 2:8-9; 4:11; 1 Peter 2:16-17).
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Believers conduct is rooted in the hope of Christ’s return and our ultimate makeover (transformation).

Paul also reminds us of the following in verses 11-14:

  • “Understand the present time . . . . Wake up . . . because our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.”
  • “Put away the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”
  • Behave respectably.
  • Clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Abstain from thinking about how to gratify the sinful nature.
How do we clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ?

The NIV Life Application Study Bible suggests: c72ece94c71ad68e781622546700b81f“First we identify with Christ by being baptized (Galatians 3:27). This shows our solidarity with other Christians and with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Second, we exemplify the qualities Jesus showed while He was here on earth (love, humility, truth, service . . . . see Ephesians 4:24-32; Colossians 3:10-17).”

So What?

We have nothing to lose and everything to gain when we choose to love others. So let’s go ahead and walk in God’s light!