Follow me here. I am reading Romans in this way:
Chapter 1 - split in three different ways:
- 1-15: Introduction and Greetings
- 16-17: The righteous shall live by faith
- 18-32: The depravity of mankind
Then proceeding into chapters 2, 3 and 4 can be summarized in this way: you are not saved in the way you think you are
- Chapter 2: it was never by the law
- Chapter 3: no one is righteous
- Chapter 4: you cannot boast in your obedience
Or to put in another way: the children of Abraham believed God and it is counted to them as righteousness. Full stop.
Paul then hard pivots into a harder yet a good and more glorious truth: you are justified by God by God for God.
Let us review Romans 5:
- 1-5: God gives us faith, justification, righteousness, peace, grace, hope, glory–Father, Son, Holy Spirit–and we get to boast in our circumstances
- 6-11: We are weakest, vulnerable, ungodly, sinful and infinitely far from God, enemies of God–yet, God loved us so much Christ died for us
- 12-21: As sons of Adam, we were destined to death; As sons of God, we are forever, fully alive in God!
If you are believer in God–that is, if you trust the word of God and obey his word, then these declaration is right for you.
If you do not, this declaration is not right for you–the wrath of God remains upon you.
Now, we believe? How are we to live? Paul will go on…
Romans 6:1-14 (CSB) What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply?
2 Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
As believers, we don’t get the grace to sin all the more
1 Timothy 6:3-5 (CSB) If anyone teaches false doctrine and does not agree with the sound teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the teaching that promotes godliness, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing, but has an unhealthy interest in disputes and arguments over words. From these come envy, quarreling, slander, evil suspicions, 5 and constant disagreement among people whose minds are depraved and deprived of the truth, who imagine that godliness is a way to material gain.
Galatians 1:6-9 (CSB) I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from him who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—7 not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, a curse be on him! 9 As we have said before, I now say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, a curse be on him!
Matthew 18:5-6 (ESV) “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
Anybody that gives you the permission to sin against God–it would be better for your soul to walk away from that conversation.
Some people, Christians, and pastors are trying to weaken their resolve against sin in order to appear more loving and kind and gentle with our fellow man. No! Don’t do it! Go deep in relationships and love one another. But in doing so, you have to call sin a sin. Call each other to true repentance and know that the moment we give our sins over to Christ, he is just as quick to forgive our sins.
Why would you let your loved one be burden with soul crushing load of sin? When the sweetest relief is right there–in the loving arms of Jesus Christ.
Let me ask another follow up question:
Where do you think your sins go?
3 Or are you unaware that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we were buried with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in newness of life.
Psalms 103:12 (CSB) As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed
our transgressions from us.
If you are wanting to know is it by water baptism or by the baptism of fire that John the Baptist speaks about in John 1, the answer is yes.
Without faith, your water baptism is nothing. (I know my Presbyterian siblings would adamantly disagree.) The baptism of water is a proclamation that you actually know and trust God has cleansed you of your sins–you now trust and obey him.
But the baptism of fire by the Lord? Oh, that will refine your soul and heart 7 times over–you will be pure, you will be holy, you will look like your Lord because God has promised so.
Now you will look like our Lord Jesus Christ
5 For if we have been united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be in the likeness of his resurrection.
Romans 8:29 (CSB) For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
Bank on the promise of God–you put your trust in him, he will carry you to the end.
Don’t confuse this with oversimplification of “Once saved, always saved.” Hey, step number one–you first have to be saved by God before you can forever be saved by God.
And don’t tell me of what someone did a long time ago growing up in church. I grew up in church and ended up working in the porn industry. Don’t tell me nothing. But do you see that person repenting of sin? Do you see then crush under the weight of sin and turning to God for freedom and rest?
Am I a Christian? You tell me. Do you see fruit in my life? You tell me.
6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be rendered powerless so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, 7 since a person who has died is freed from sin.
Your old self has died–sin and old sinful selves do not get resurrected because they are not holy unto God
Christian, stop living in sin. Stop hanging onto sin and idols and philosophies thinking that they are going to save you. No one else saves but by the blood of the Lamb!
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him, 9 because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over him.
In other words, I have been crucified with Christ
Galatians 2:20 (CSB) I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Let me ask you: have you been crucified with Christ? Let me say it another way: when God saved you, did your life completely change? Or for you kids who were so blessed to know God’s love at an early age: how quick are you to confess? How quick do you run to God’s love? Or are you being poisoned by a past hurt or wound and you refuse to forgive.
Are you crucified with Christ?
10 For the death he died, he died to sin once for all time; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
You are alive to God, you are dead to sin
There is no middle way. There is no neutral way. There is no easy peasy soft way. There is either the wide road of destruction leading to straight to hell or there is that glorious narrow gate that leads straight to the fullness of joy in the presence of the Almighty.
We don’t get to keep sinning as we want.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires. 13 And do not offer any parts of it to sin as weapons for unrighteousness. But as those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness. 14 For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under the law but under grace.
John 8:3-11 (CSB) Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, making her stand in the center. 4 “Teacher,” they said to him, “this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery. 5 In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 They asked this to trap him, in order that they might have evidence to accuse him.
Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with his finger. 7 When they persisted in questioning him, he stood up and said to them, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Then he stooped down again and continued writing on the ground. 9 When they heard this, they left one by one, starting with the older men. Only he was left, with the woman in the center. 10 When Jesus stood up, he said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, Lord,” she answered.
“Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus. “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.”]
Christ has completely taken care of sin
Psalm 103:11–13 (CSB) For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his faithful love toward those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.
Or one of my favorite late 19th century English preacher once put it:
Now, by the sacrifice of Christ all the sins of the Church are entirely put away. He, the sinless Lamb of God, took them up and bore them away into a land of oblivion, whence even the Divine mind fails to recall them.
- Octavius Winslow, No Condemnation in Christ Jesus.
All you got to do is trust and obey
What is God like in all of this?
Per John Stott, God is high above, far from, exposes, burns, and vomits out sin. That means he does all of these things to my sin. In his holiness and righteousness, he has every right not only to reject me but to vomit me out and spit me out. More so, he has the right to pour his wrath upon me. If the Son of God were to ever hunt me down, I rather to have a mountain be thrown on me than to face the Almighty God himself.
Jesus Christ is perfectly that for us
Hebrews 7:26-28 (CSB) For this is the kind of high priest we need: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He doesn’t need to offer sacrifices every day, as high priests do—first for their own sins, then for those of the people. He did this once for all time when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak, but the promise of the oath, which came after the law, appoints a Son, who has been perfected forever.
But here is the good news: God did not do the sin. God does not do evil. Yet, God does not lie. God desires his people. Therefore, God does whatever it takes to save his people.
Go and sin no more.
Kill off sin.
Repent. Kingdom of God is here.
That is all well and good. But if you actually been plagued by ongoing, the worst thing you can do is give up hope. No. The Bible tells us to trust in Jesus Christ. That is our hope. When we hope in him, that marks us as Christians. Not our works. Not what we say. But where we put our hope in when everything is good and everything has gone to crap.
Trust in the Lord.
I have failed at killing sin all of my life.
But your mercy, grace, and steadfast love is always upon me.
Continue your work in. Draw me closer to you. Keep the world dim to my sight as I continue to try to see you with bleared eyes.
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Holmon Publishing. 2020.
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by John Calvin.
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by Octavius Winslow.
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Romans: An Expositional Commentary.
by R.C. Sproul.
Reformation Trust Publishing. 2019.
The Letter to the Romans (New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICNT)).
by Douglas Moo.
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by William Hendriksen.
by William S. Plumer.
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by Robert Mounce.
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Edited by Gerald L. Bray.
IVP Academic. 2005.
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by Martin Luther.