Faithlife Sermons

New Life in Christ Part 1

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Intro
At this point in Paul’s letter to the Romans he senses that there would be rebuttal to what he is teaching about salvation being through faith alone. The Jews believed that what set them apart was the law. They believed that God showed favor to them by giving them the law. However, this was not the purpose of God giving them the law. The law was given in order to show man that he was not good enough. People do not need the law in order to sin nor do they need it to know what is right or wrong. In Paul says, “The law came along to multiply the trespass.” This does not mean that people sin more after they had the law, but it instead reveals that knowing the law does not stop man from breaking it. The law is similar to a weighing scale. When you stand on a scale all it does it tell you what is already there, scales do not add or take away weight. You cannot blame the scale for the weight it shows. This is the same way the law operates. All the law does is show what already existed in your heart, sin. You cannot blame the law for your sin.
Paul went on to say that where sin multiplied, grace multiplied more. What this means is that you can never sin so much that God runs out of grace because His grace is unlimited. Also, if God’s grace is infinite, there is no way to measure how much you have sinned in comparison to others. If one person uses 20 percent of God’s grace and another uses 50 percent they have used the same amount of grace because there is no way to measure an amount, percent, or fraction of something that is infinite.
“The apostle has been painting an idyllic picture of the people of God. Having been justified by faith, they are standing in grace and rejoicing in glory. Having formerly belonged to Adam, the author of sin and death, they now belong to Christ, the author of salvation and life. Although at one point in the history of Israel the law was added to increase sin (5:20a), yet ‘grace increased all the more’ (5:20b), so that ‘grace might reign’ (5:21). It is a splendid vision of the triumph of grace. Against the grim background of human guilt, Paul depicts grace increasing and grace reigning.” - John Stott
Up to this point, Paul has not addressed how a follower of Christ should live, growth in Christ, or discipleship.
Verse 1

Grace does not free us to sin but from sin.

Grace does not free us to sin but from sin

The criticism would be that what Paul is teaching would make works unnecessary and even worse it appeared to result in people sinning more! This thought process is rooted in antinomian ideals. Antinomians are against the moral law, therefore this would be a “gotcha,” type question. They would not be looking for an actual answer but instead trying to catch Paul in a mistake he made all while looking for a way to justify their wrong doings.
This would also be a question that most reading the book of Romans would be asking. If Jesus paid it all, grace would appear to be a divine credit card with an unlimited amount to spend. There are also of the mindset, like the Russian monk Rasputin who made the argument that the duty of Christians is to sin in order to bring about more forgiveness resulting in greater joy. People in the church abuse grace in ways like, thinking praying a prayer when you were younger, walking an isle, getting baptized, without the life changing aspect of salvation.
Verse 2

Followers of Christ are dead to sin.

Followers of Christ are dead to sin.

Paul’s responds with an emphatic no. In Greek this no is the strongest form of no. Grace is not limited to forgiving sin but it also delivers one from sinning. Therefore grace is directly linked to sanctification not just justification. Grace is what molds the believer into the image of their creator and savior. The thought process of sinning despite being born again undermines the life changing power of the gospel. Yes, to someone who is lost grace appears to be something you can manipulate into doing what you want to do because you know there is forgiveness. The mindset of, “I know adultery, fornication, theft, etc. is wrong and I will just ask for forgiveness later,” is a poor understanding of grace and could indicate that you have never truly been converted. To the believer who has been baptized into the death of Christ and resurrected into Christ’s life and unity with Christ, sin is no longer your master because you have died to sin. Notice that Paul does not insinuate that dying to sin is in any way a command but instead is a reality of being united with Christ. The gospel does not give way to sin, it destroys sin.
Justification that does not lead to sanctification is no justification at all. Just like we identify a person being physically well and alive by their growth, we should do the same thing with a person’s spiritual life. Do you look more like Christ today than you did yesterday? Do you look more like Christ this year than you did last year?
This does not mean that people lose all interest in sin once they come to Christ, nor does it mean that they are slowing moving away from it. We know this because what Paul says is, “How can we who DIED to sin still live in it,” died being in the past tense. This is something that is already done. Paul also explains in Romans chapter 7 that a Christian can be tempted and seduced by the power of sin.
“Death is represented in Scripture more in legal than in physical terms; not so much as a state of lying motionless but as the grim though just penalty for sin. Whenever sin and death are coupled in the Bible, from its second chapter (‘when you eat … [i.e. sin], you will surely die’)107 to its last two chapters (where the fate of the impenitent is called ‘the second death’),108 the essential nexus between them is that death is sin’s penalty.” - John Stott
This does not mean that people lose all interest in sin once they come to Christ, nor does it mean that they are slowing moving away from it. We know this because what Paul says is, “How can we who DIED to sin still live in it,” died being in the past tense. This is something that is already done. Paul also explains in Romans chapter 7 that a Christian can be tempted and seduced by the power of sin.
Appplication
God did not give us grace so that we could further submit ourselves under the authority of sin. God gives grace to free us from the seemingly never ending self gratifying pull on us that is sin. However, this grace does not give one the liberty to continue sinning and one who thinks this way does not understand the true meaning of grace.
There will always be a struggle with sin in the life of a believer. However, according to this text, one who has been redeemed will no longer live in sin. This means that if you can consciously sin and not feel remorse over that sin you have not truly been born again.
Instead of grace being achieved through works, grace frees and enables followers of Christ to do works out of an overflow of their relationship with Him.
Now, because of God’s grace freeing you from the bondage of sin, you can live solely for Him!
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