Here’s the notes from my sermon on Romans 6:15-23, preached at Cross of Christ Fellowship in Naperville, Illinois.
Romans 6:15-23 “Rightly Understanding Grace” (Part 2)
INTRO: There are lots of misunderstandings of Christianity in the world around us. Today: bigots and homophobic.
-1st century Christians were accused of being cannibals and incestuous.
The apostles themselves had to confront and correct mistaken understandings of the gospel.
-Last week: misunderstanding about grace: If God’s grace abounds where there is sin, should we remain in sin?
-Answer: NO WAY! We’ve died to sin when we became Christians. How could we choose it?
-We remember our union with Christ, and say to no sin now by God’s grace.
-A right understanding of grace leads us away from sin and not into more of it.
This week we see Paul address a similar misunderstanding: if we are under grace and not under the law, should we sin?
-NO WAY! We have a new master, God Himself, and we ought to live lives of love and obedience to Him.
–A right understanding of grace leads us into more obedience to God, not less.
-Last week was the negative side: A right understanding of grace leads us away from sin, not into more of it.
-This week is the positive: A right understanding of grace leads us into more obedience to God, not less.
Misunderstanding Stated: Should we sin because we are under grace? (15a)
What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace?
-This based off v 14 “you not under law but under grace”
-Not under “Mosaic Law” because we a new era of redemptive history (New Covenant) has come about.
Question: If that is so, should we sin? Obedience to the law won’t save us and we’re under grace, so why not sin?
-A good preaching of the gospel will lead to these kinds of questions.
Answer: No Way! If we willingly choose sin, we live as sin for our master, not Jesus (15b-16)
-Paul’s strongest way of saying no in the Greek: By no means!
-Also translated: GOD FORBID! Or ABSOLUTELY NOT!-WHY NOT? Reason Given (READ 16a): Whoever we obey is our master (you are slaves of the one whom you obey)
-Our actions show who we really serve (present yourselves as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey).
-You can’t have Jesus as your Savior without also having him as your Lord.
-Our lives reflect who is really our master: God or sin.
CLARIFICATION: In Rome in the 1st century, it is estimated that maybe 40 percent of popular were bondservants. This is kind of slavery different from chattel slavery of the South and the slavery of Israel in Egypt. This was often a willing service to pay off a debt.
-We’re all slaves & there are ONLY 2 options (16b): either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
-Option 1: We serve sin
-This leads to SPIRITUAL DEATH (hell)
-Option 2: We serve God (obedience)
-leads to righteousness (later we see, eternal life).
*MYTH of NEUTRALITY: I can be neutral toward God.
TRUTH: There are only two ways to live, for God or in opposition to God.
Summary: Even though a Christian is under grace and not under the Mosaic law, he or she should not choose sin because the one whom we choose to obey, is actually our master (God or sin). Our obedience really matters!
A right understanding of grace leads us into more obedience to God, not less.
REMINDER: We’ve been delivered from slavery of sin to live for God (17-18)
Every Christian has experienced a kind delivery from sin and been brought under the kind lordship of Jesus. Paul reminds the Romans, and us, of how in the gospel, by God’s grace we have been delivered from slavery of sin.
-THANKFUL FOR THE CHANGE (17a):17 But thanks be to God,
-God is the one who ultimately brought us to Himself. He is SOVEREIGN.
-ONCE WERE SLAVES OF SIN (17b) that you who were once slaves of sin
-This is the state of ALL of us before our conversion—slaves to sin.
-A CHANGE HAS OCCURRED (17c) have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,
-Changed life shown in obedience from the heart to gospel. Not superficial or cultural or because family is Christian.
*CHILDREN: Having Christian parents does not make you a Christian.
-Changed life shown in commitment to Scripture’s teaching (standard of teaching)
-New approach to sexuality, finances, time, relationships, everything. Jesus is the Lord
-We deceive ourselves if we say we have Jesus as Lord but don’t submit to His teachings.
-CHRISTIANS HAVE BEEN SET FREE from Sin! (18a) 18 and, having been set free from sin,
-Freed from the power and penalty of sin. Sin is NO LONGER our master or Lord.
-Note: we still are tempted, and still fall. But are not longer enslaved: 1 Cor 10:13
-CHRISTIANS HAVE A NEW MASTER (18b) have become slaves of righteousness.
-We have not been freed from serving, but serve in a new way: slaves of righteousness.
-God’s ways are the way of righteousness. Now we want to obey and follow Him.
*ANOTHER SECULAR MYTH: Christianity is immoral in its refusal to embrace LGBTQ and transgender. TRUTH: God’s way are the ways of righteousness. As we follow God’s ways we walk in righteousness.
Since this is true, let us offer ourselves to God (19)
Paul now helps us see how these truths should be lived out by the Christian: Live out our new identity!
-Clarification on the analogy (19a): 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations.
-We have natural limitations as fallen humans, but this analogy of slavery is still helpful.
–Our Old Life (19b): For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness,
-Before we were in Christ, we presented our members (all of ourselves) as slaves to impurity and lawlessness
-this led to more lawlessness.
-That was our old life. (Remember this when tempted to covet the non-Christian experience)
-Our Right Response Now (19c) so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
-Present ourselves as slaves to righteousness
-We offer up our whole selves to do God’s will.
-Thumbs (phones), Tongues (speech), Lungs (time and resources)
-Obedience to the Great Commission (Sharing the Gospel; Making disciples)
-Leading to sanctification: We are led into holiness. We become more and more like Jesus.
A right understanding of grace leads us into MORE obedience to God, not less.
God really is a much better master than sin (20-22)
The passage concludes with a reminder that God is such a better master with much better rewards.
-Considering our life before Christ (20-21).
–We had a KIND OF SLAVERY AND FREEDOM: For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness
–ROTTEN FRUIT: But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed?
-Our old ways are SHAMFUL. I think of some of things I did and prayed for before I became a Christian.
–DESTRUCTIVE END: For the end of those things is death.
*ANOTHER SECULAR MYTH: True Freedom is following my heart and doing what I want to do. -Considering our new life under the Lordship of Christ (22)
–Better FREEDOM AND SLAVERY: But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God,
-BETTER FRUIT: the fruit you get leads to sanctification
-BETTER END: and its end, eternal life.
-It really is better to have Jesus has our Lord: Matt 13:44BEAUTIFUL CONCLUDING VERSE: TWO KINDS OF REWARDS
1. DEATH: For the wages of sin is death,
-Wage=paycheck. You earn it the more you sin.
-Death is what we get. Spiritual death in hell.
2. ETERNAL LIFE: but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord
-Free Gift of God=You don’t earn it, but receive it. And it is “of God”=from God.
-Eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Starts now and goes into eternity.
A right understanding of grace leads us into more obedience to God, not less.
1. How is it for your soul? Is Jesus your lord and king? He is much better master than sin. Come to Him in faith today.
2. Isn’t Jesus a much better master than sin? We won’t follow Him perfectly, but he saves us by his grace and freely gives us eternal life. We get to serve today and be used by Him in the lives of other people for glory. May God empower us to remember that Jesus is our Lord and to give him the love and obedience he deserves.