The Way - Day 113 (Romans 6)

Daily Reading:
Romans 6
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
Does your daily life reflect Christ living in you? Where is there room for improvement? What could be the result in your life and in the lives of those around you? Share with your group any testimony or encouragement.
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 37:23-24
OPTION 2: Proverbs 15:22-23
OPTION 3: Matthew 5:47-48
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for Romans 6 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
Romans 6:1-14
At the beginning of Romans 6 we have a major shift in topics, although it is closely related to Paul's discussion on a sinner being declared righteous through Jesus Christ (Romans 1:18-5:21). Paul has already established that all men are sinners deserving of God's judgment (1:18-3:20) and are in need of righteousness for salvation, which is only found by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (3:21-4:25). When a person expresses faith in Jesus Christ as his substitute for sin, he experiences peace with God (5:1), access to God through Jesus Christ (5:2), hope during trials (5:3-4), and the assurance of God's love (5:5). The man of faith is no longer an enemy of God, but instead is granted a right standing before Him without fear of future judgment (5:6-21).

Some of Paul's readers may have thought that this free grace of God to all who believe would result in an abuse of that grace; however, Paul silences his potential critics by beginning to instruct them regarding the process of sanctification. Sanctification is an act of God within the life of a believing sinner to produce obedience to God's ways. Paul begins his teaching by presenting a series of thought-provoking questions, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (6:1-2) The very first thing Paul "set straight" was that grace is not a license to sin, but instead meant that a believer does not have to continue living in sin. Paul presents another question to his readers, "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (6:3-4). When Paul mentions that we are baptized into Christ and His death, he is not referring to water baptism but rather a uniting or identifying with the reason He died on the cross, which is to pay for sin. However, we also identify with Christ's resurrection, as the power and penalty of sin over us is put to death and we are raised to "walk in newness of life" (6:4). Paul further explains this concept of new life to the church at Corinth when he writes, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). Paul was clearly teaching that when a man has been declared righteous by God, he will also experience life change. Sin is a part of the old man but holiness should define the new man.

The next statement by Paul is worthy of our thoughts and attention: "...our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin" (6:6-7). Our old, sinful nature was put to death when Jesus Christ died on the cross, so we are no longer under sin's control. It is so important that we are aware of this freedom we have! Does this mean that a person with genuine faith will never sin? No. Our old nature will exist until the time when our bodies are forever changed (1 Corinthians 15:51-58), but the reality is that we do not have to give into sin.

Paul challenges his readers to consider themselves "to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (6:11). Understanding this truth would give them confidence to live a holy life through the power of Christ. He did warn them that sin would do its best to gain control over them, but they did not need to obey it (6:12). Victory over sin could be accomplished if they would not present themselves with opportunities to sin, but instead present themselves "to God as being alive from the dead, and your members [body] as instruments of righteousness to God" (6:13). Pursuing the ways of God would leave a person with no time to give themselves over to sin. What a reality!

Romans 6:15-23
The first major topic change has just transpired in Paul's writing to the Christians at Rome. He had spent the first five chapters helping his readers understand that they were condemned to die because of sin. Not one person avoids this future punishment due to their sinfulness and natural rebellion against God (Romans 3:10-18). The only remedy which can appease the wrath of God upon sin is righteousness, but since no man can attain it on his own he needs to acquire it somewhere else. John writes that God loved mankind so much that He willingly sent His one and only righteous Son, Jesus Christ, to provide the righteousness man needed in order to be spared the judgment of God (John 3:16). All those who will recognize their sinfulness and turn to Jesus Christ in faith will receive His righteousness as their own (2 Corinthians 5:21). Paul's teaching on this free grace from God without human effort would probably spawn some questions from his readers about the abuse of that grace. People may feel as though they could do whatever they wanted since God's grace was free; however, Paul is quick to reveal that this acceptance of grace through faith will result in life change, not a desire to live life haphazardly. Herein lies the topic transition - being declared righteous (justification) will naturally lead to living righteously in everyday life (sanctification). Justification is instantaneous while sanctification is a process. Paul will use Romans 6-8 to instruct his readers on the subject of sanctification.

Paul made a huge statement in the first part of Romans 6 that should be remembered as we move into the later part of the chapter: "...our old man was crucified with Him [Jesus Christ], that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin" (6:6-7). Through Jesus' sacrificial death, the sinner has been declared righteous and is no longer "under law but under grace" (6:14). The law is still valuable in that it provides a written record of what is right and what is wrong, but it can never bring salvation from sin, only condemnation. But what does it mean that we are now under grace? Being under grace carries the idea that obeying the law (which is impossible) is no longer the condition for God's favor, but instead God's undeserved favor (grace) is granted to the believer so that he can now follow God's ways. Grace frees the sinner to obey the law's moral aspects, whereas before he was a slave to sin and the law without hope of salvation.

In Romans 6:15-23 Paul reminds his readers about the control sin had over them prior to being freed from it, but then points out that their new life in Christ makes them slaves to righteousness. As they were coming to understand this change, Paul presents a question to them to cause them to realize how justification has changed them, "Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace?" (6:15) Answering his own question Paul says, "Certainly not!" Forgiven sinners should not return to their previous lifestyle of sin, but instead they should live in obedience to truth (6:16-19). Paul repeatedly refers to the Christians at Rome as being "slaves to righteousness" meaning that Jesus Christ is their new master, as opposed to their old master - sin, and He compels them to live in obedience to God's ways.

Paul is teaching a major truth here. When they were under sin and the condemnation of the law, the best that could happen would be death (6:21). "But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life" 6:22). At the conclusion of Romans 6, Paul contrasts this truth in a very simple way, "For the wages [penalty] of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (6:23). Those who have been justified (declared righteous) are being sanctified (made righteous in daily life) and those who are being sanctified will receive eternal life with God in heaven. What a promise!

Dear God, I am overwhelmed that You have declared me righteous and are in the process of making me holy. Thank You for Your grace and the hope of eternal life.