If the gospel is all about righteous Jesus paying the price for my sin, if all of the benefits that I get by being one of God’s people come through Jesus’ work and not my own, if it’s all credited to me as a member of Jesus’ glorious “Human Race 2.0” (instead of Adam’s corrupted original version), and if God gets more glory, the more sins he forgives… then why try to sin less? If anything shouldn't we sin more?
Romans 6:1-14 tells us it would be worth considering why this question matters in the first place – what’s at stake? It turns out to be pretty crucial for a number of reasons:
First, think of Paul, the writer of this letter. If his message about Jesus turns out to encourage people to sin, he’ll be exposed as a shameful peddler of a pretty immoral message.
Second, think of Paul’s readers. They're meant to be strengthened in their faith in the gospel, not weakened in it… but how could a gospel that encourages God's people to act as his enemies do anything but rock your confidence in it?
And finally God himself. The Holy God would be blasphemously slandered if his plan to save the world through Jesus turned out to promote sin, the very problem that it is meant to solve in the first place.
What then is the answer? Yes you guessed it… “by no means!” Here are some reminders from Paul’s reasoning:
- How can we who died to sin still live in it? (v2)
- We know that our old self was crucified with [Jesus] in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. (v6)
- For one who has died has been set free from sin. (v7)
- So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (v11)
Well that’s the theory. Why not spend some time asking God to strengthen our faith in his good and reliable gospel and to help us grasp how wonderfully we’ve been set free from sin by being united with Jesus in his death? But we would be missing the mark if we failed to put this very liberating truth into practice. Paul writes as a direct and practical implication: “Do not present your members [body parts] 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” (v13).
Let’s use this weekend to spend some good time asking God to help us:
- Believe that sin is not our master
- Identify where we are sinning with our bodies
- See where we can use our bodies in his service