Now what is our response to be? Shall we sin to our heart’s content and see how far we can exploit the grace of God? —Romans 6:1
What a ghastly thought!
Clarence Jordan makes it even more blunt for us: “So what are we advocating? ‘Let’s wallow in sin, so more grace may pour forth?’ Hell, no! How can we who died to sin still live in it? “
Sin’s power over us was broken when we became Christians and were baptized to become part of Jesus Christ; through his death the power of your sinful nature was shattered. Your old sin-loving nature was buried with him by baptism when he died, and when God the Father, with glorious power, brought him back to life again, you were given his wonderful new life to enjoy —Romans 6:2-4
I love the way The Message renders this text: “If we’ve left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there?” Hey! If you ain’t living in the house anymore, why keep paying the mortgage?” Didn’t you realize we packed up and left there for good? That is what is symbolized in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land! —Romans 6:3-4
Everyone baptized into Jesus Christ is, by that very action, sharing in his death. We were dead and buried with him in baptism, so that just as he was raised from the dead—so we too might rise to life on a new plane altogether.
If we shared his death, we can rise and live our new lives with him! Our old selves died with him on the cross the tyranny of sin over us has been broken—and a dead man can safely be said to be immune from the power of sin! —Romans 6:5-7
Your old evil desires were nailed to the cross with him; that part of you that loves to sin was crushed and destroyed. Your sin-loving body is no longer under sin’s control—you don’t have to be a slave to sin anymore! When you are crucified to sin, you are freed from all its allure and its power over you.
When God says he set us free from the life of Adam and linked us to the life of Christ, he really did it. Maybe you don’t feel liberated from the power of sin—but that doesn’t negate the fact that you are freed from its grip!
Go ahead and argue with me—it doesn’t bother me any. I am trying to help you get free from whatever is binding you up—whatever it is that has enslaved you. Now you are the one in control. You can continue to be enslaved, or you can choose to be free.
When we reach the eighth chapter, you will see this even more clearly, but you need to understand that despite the fact that you still live in this physical body and exist in the physical world, you are not a slave to it any more. You can be if you choose to . . . you can live with a voluntary servitude to your carnal nature if you wish . . . but you can also walk free from it!
Each day, as you come into situations of pressure and temptation, you must remind yourself that God has set you free and you must act on it, even though you don’t feel like it. You probably won’t feel dead with Christ; you might feel as if this evil within is very much alive, and that it has control over you, that you are simply under its control. However, regardless how you feel, it’s not going to negate the fact that God has set you free!
Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ. It was a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—we are no longer at sin’s every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did. (see Romans 6:6-11).
That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!—into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God (see Romans 6:12-14).
If interested, you can download the entire study of The Letter to Christians at Rome