Here’s the outline from my sermon Romans 6:1-14, preached at Cross of Christ Fellowship in Naperville Illinois.
Romans 6:1-14 “Rightly Understanding Grace”
INTRO: Last week we considered this amazing truth: where sin increased, grace abounded all the more! God’s grace is far greater than all of our sin. It overcomes our sin, changes us, transforms us, and brings us back to God. This grace is astonishing: it is unearned and it not based on any good works we do. Grace reigns over lives and gives us hope. But a possible misunderstanding arises: should we continue in sin, that grace might abound even more? If God is going to show us grace, why not sin?
-One skeptic of Christianity once said, “My job is to sin and God’s job is to forgive. It works out pretty well!”
How do we work out this fact that we are saved entirely by grace but still have to deal with sin in our everyday life? Won’t grace enable a kind of carelessness toward holiness? Won’t it enable what Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace”?
Today we hear the answer from this challenging question from the apostle Paul. And the answer is this: A right understanding of grace leads us away from sin and not into more of it. Really understanding what has taken place in the gospel of grace leads a person not to a careless, causal attitude toward sin, but a fight against sin, and SURE hope that in Christ we have victory over it.
The grace we experience in the gospel, RIGHTLY UNDERSTOOD, should lead to less sin, not more.
REMINDER OF WHERE WE HAVE BEEN:
-The theme of Romans is the GOSPEL
-Gospel explained in Romans 1-4
-Gospel unpacked in Romans 5:1-11 (peace with God; grace; joy in trials; love; assurance of future salvation)
-Jesus is the better Adam 5:12-21 (overcame sin and death that 1st Adam brought)
ROMANS 6-7: Paul deals with two topics (SIN and the LAW).
-If we are saved by grace, what do we do with sin? (Ch 6)
-If we are saved by grace, how do we make sense of the law? (Ch 7)
TODAY, we look at Romans 6:1-14, and we see Paul teach us that a right understanding of grace leads us away from sin and not into more of it.
1. Paul addresses a possible misunderstanding of grace (1-2)
2. Paul explains his answer (3-10)
3. Paul shows how this right understanding of grace leads us away from sin and not into more of it (11-14)
A Possible Misunderstanding of GRACE is Addressed (1-2)
There are A LOT of misunderstandings of the gospel today. Yesterday I heard two at Meetup (we’re all part of God; Jesus was not really human). The apostles encountered misunderstandings of the gospel as well. Today Paul addresses one.
MISUNDERTANDING GRACE (1): What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
-Context is Romans 5:20-21. We are under the REIGN of grace, and grace abounds more than sin
-QUESTION: Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
-LOGIC: If grace abounds more than sin, why not keep sinning?
-NOTE: A right explanation of grace will lead to this kind of question.
RIGHT RESPONSE (2): 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
-BY NO MEANS! This means: certainly not! NO WAY!
-ANSWER: How can we who died to sin still live in it?
-WE who DIED TO SIN… This is the Christian.
-How can we still live in it??… If we have died to a thing, how could we still live in it?
-It would make no sense to willingly choose sin, because we have died to sin.
SUMMARY: Should a Christian continue in sin because God’s grace will abound anyway? Of course not. We have died to sin when we were converted, so how could we continue in it?
The Answer [Dead to Sin] Explained (3-10)
The answer has to do with our UNION with Christ. When we came to faith in Christ, we experienced a kind of union with Jesus’ death and resurrection which makes our continuing in sin inconceivable, incongruous, and absurd.
UNION WITH CHRIST IN OUR BAPTISM (3-5)
-Baptism is the outward expression of our inward faith. It does not save us, but is an expression of our faith.
-Here, MOO: “Baptism…functions as shorthand for the conversion experience as a whole.”
-Union with Christ’s death (baptized into his death) v3
-Union with Christ’s burial (buried with him) v4
-Union with Christ’s resurrection (just as Christ was raised from the dead…we too might walk in newness of life) v4b
-Our union with Christ’s resurrection has led us to spiritual life right now!
-FUTURE resurrection is coming (united with him in a resurrection like his) (5)
-Very physical future for the Christian.
UNION WITH CHRIST’S DEATH RESTATED (6-7)
-Old Self was crucified with Jesus (6a)
-PURPOSE: “in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing” (6b)
-RESULT: “so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin” (6c)
-WHY THIS IS POSSIBLE: death to a thing frees us from it (7)
UNION WITH CHRIST’S RESURRECTION RESTATED (8-10)
-LIVE WITH HIM: Spiritual resurrection now [one day future resurrection] (8)
-JESUS’ VICTORY WAS CERTAIN: death has no dominion over him (9)
-Once and for all death to SIN (10a): Jesus never sinned, but he paid for our sins.
-A life that continues and carries on (10b): he lives to God, and leads the way for us.
SUMMARY: The Christian has experienced a UNION with Christ’s death and resurrection. He died for our sin and we are united to that death; he rose to new life and we experience a union with that spiritually. Christians are spiritually alive and one day we will be physically resurrected.
FOLLOWING the LOGIC: SINCE WE HAVE EXPERIENCED A UNION WITH CHRIST, WE ARE DEAD TO SIN AND SPIRITUALLY ALIVE, WHICH MAKES CHOOSES TO SIN ABSURD.
-Before Rachel and I were married, we video calls online. After we got married would I choose that over sitting next to her?
-God’s grace brought about a union with Christ, which has given us a new relationship with sin—dead to it—and also
a new relationship with God—alive to God. That is why we should not sin that grace would abound more.
GRACE-Shaped Lives (11-14)
This new reality now has to be lived out in practice through a new way of thinking and living. Like a husband learning to live out that he is a married man with new joy and responsibilities, a Christian is one who is in union with Christ (dead to sin and alive to God) who now has to put truth into practice in his mind and life.
IMPERATIVE #1: THINKING DIFFERENTLY (11)
-CONSIDER yourselves… Part of growing in Christ is see the world/God/selves through the truth of Scripture
-Dead to sin.
-Alive to God in Christ.
THIS WEEK… Consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God. Preach this to yourself.
IMPERATIVE #2: REFUSE TO LET SIN REIGN IN YOUR LIFE (12) -LET NOT SIN REIGN IN YOUR MORTAL BODY: We still face sin, now we have to refuse to let it rule over us.
-REMEMBER WHERE IT LEADS: “obey its passions”
QUESTION: What sin have you let reign in your life lately?
EXAMPLES: Idolatry; Sexual Sin; Jealousy; Rage; Self-Pity;
THIS WEEK… In the power of the Spirit, refuse to let sin reign in your life. Say no it. Remember your dead to it.
IMPERATIVE #3: DO NOT PRESENT YOURSELVES AS AN INSTRUMENT FOR SIN (13) -Active refuse to give ourselves over to sin.
QUESTION: How have you presented yourself as an instrument for sin this week?
-THUMBS; TONGUES; LUNGS
IMPERATIVE #4: PRESENT OURSELVES AS INSTRUMENTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS TO GOD (13b) -Actively offering ourselves up to God be used by Him for righteousness.
-Praying; Serving; Sharing our faith; Giving our resources
-NOTE: Living out who we are: “as those who have been brought from death to life”
THIS WEEK: Present your whole self to God as an instrument of righteousness.
A WORD OF ASSURANCE (14a) – For sin will have no dominion over you: Sin’s power has been broken!
–since you are not under law but under grace.: New era, the era of grace that Christ has brought about.
CONCLUSION:Should we continue in sin because God’s grace will abound? Of course not. We don’t want to, because we have experienced a union with Christ that has made us dead to sin and alive to God. Now, we have to put this into practice in our thinking and living. Remember this: a right understanding of grace leads us away from sin and not to more of it.