Monday, August 5, 2013

Grace And Sin’s Senselessness by Martin Wiles

Romans 6:1-10
A. Even though you are a believer, have you ever struggled with a particular sin?

B. Are there areas of sin you feel powerless over?

C. These verses address how sin’s power is broken for the believer, for the one who lives in us is greater than the enemy we do battle with.

D. Up until this point, Paul has been dealing with salvation by grace regardless of one’s ancestry or anything else we might appeal to.

E. Now he will move to the subject of sanctification. This term is understood differently by believers. Some see this as an event that happens after salvation wherein the Holy Spirit comes upon the individual and they are baptized with the Spirit. This is normally evidenced by speaking in tongues. The individual is then sanctified. This may or may not be followed by a sinless life. Some believe such a state is attainable in this life while others maintain it is only a goal but will never be a reality.

F. Other believers maintain the Spirit is given at salvation but that possessing the Spirit and being filled with the Spirit are different states. Sanctification becomes the process that begins at salvation and is our growing into Christlikeness. We are learning to follow his commands and guidelines for living. Believers grow in practice to match who they are in position.

G. Paul began by dealing with how we are justified. Now he will investigate the process of sanctification and what that entails.

H. Sanctification is not about being delivered from sin’s presence but rather from its control.

I. Paul’s words will remind us that even though we have a new nature given to us at salvation, we still do battle with the flesh-those old ways of acting we learned before coming to Christ.

J. Whereas before Christ we did not have a choice about sinning, now we do.

I. Sin Is Senseless Because We Have Died To It And Been Forgiven (vv. 1-2)
A. If our sin resulted in God manifesting his grace through Christ, then it seems that continued sin-and more of it, would make his grace even more manifest to people.
1. If our sin results in God’s forgiveness, then why not give him more opportunity to forgive?
2. If sinfulness results in God showing kindness in spite of evil, then why not give him the opportunity to show more kindness?

B. If our forgiveness is guaranteed in Christ, then does that mean we can simply sin as much as want?
1. A person who has such an attitude has not appreciated the seriousness of sin or the majesty of grace.
2. If they are indeed a child of God, they have a monumental misunderstanding of what the Christian life is about.
3. When we truly understand sin and its consequences, we will never desire to take advantage of God’s grace by sinning so we can experience more of his grace and forgiveness.
4. Being assured of God’s mercy is not an excuse for careless living.

C. Paul asks a very pointed question-if we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?
1. A Christian who does this is living at the very least a contradictory life and at the most demonstrating their misunderstanding of God’s grace, the seriousness of sin and possibly even demonstrating their true lack of a relationship with Christ to begin with.
2. Paul recognized that his statement in 5:20 would probably result in the above conclusions by some in the church.
3. This question Paul asks touches the matter of how many of our sins were forgiven at salvation. If we believe all our sins were forgiven, then we could well reach this conclusion. If they are all forgiven anyway, why does it matter how I live. Again, this reveals a misunderstanding of the seriousness of sin and what has taken place in a person’s life.
4. We can still believe-and should, that all our sins have been taken care of without going to this extreme.
5. An accurate understanding of sin will enable us to avoid two extremes in our thinking: that it is permissible to sin and not worry about it or to become so legalistic that the Christian life loses all meaning and joy.
6. We live in a world that is constantly pulling us toward tolerance in our views, attitudes and decisions about many matters. And while we must love all people, we are never instructed to tolerate sinful situations in order to do that-at least not in the sense that we accept them without trying to change the status quo.

D. Why will the Christian have a different attitude about sin?
1. Paul maintains it is because we have died to sin-not to acts of sin but to it being the norm and practice of our life.
2. Not only did Christ die for our sins, but in accepting him, we agreed to die to sin.
3. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German Lutheran pastor, theologian and martyr, said, “What has cost God much cannot be cheap for us.”

II. Sin Is Senseless Because We Were Baptized With Christ (vv. 3-4)
A. There is some disagreement among Christians as to the proper form of baptism or even if there is one as well as to what form was used in the early church.
1. The Greek word for baptize is baptizo (bap tea’ zo) and means to dip repeatedly, immerse or submerge.
2. For our purposes, we are going to conclude that immersion was the practice of the early church and was performed on those who had believed and not on infants.
3. Some denominations practice infant baptism, and this is somewhat a counterpart of Old Testament circumcision-bringing the child into the covenant community of believers but not necessarily bestowing any grace on the child (saving them). However, there are some who believe that it carries the power to save.

B. Paul now introduces baptism as an argument against the senselessness of sin in the believer’s life.
1. He speaks of the literal act as well as what it symbolizes.
2. At the moment of our belief in Christ, we were baptized with him in his death. This precedes our actual act of baptism which is symbolic.
3. Not only were we baptized in his death but we were also baptized in his burial.
4. Paul refers to a mystical union and we should respond as we normally do after seeing a magic trick; “How did he do that?”
5. The actual act of baptism symbolizes our death to sin and being raised to new life in Christ.
6. In speaking of sin as a practice in the believer’s life, Paul uses the practice of baptism to remind us that sin has died and been buried as it relates to our life.
7. To say it another way, we should consider our life of sin dead and buried.
8. If immersion was practiced, then the word buried would carry even more significance for Paul’s hearers.
9. For the believer, sin is no longer desirable or necessary.
10.  Nor are we any longer under condemnation for our sins. Neither do we have to worry about having to face God in judgment.

III. Sin Is Senseless Because We Have Been Raised With Christ (vv. 4-11)
A. Paul introduces not only Christ’s death but also his resurrection as it relates to sin’s senselessness.
1. In another epistle, Paul emphasizes the importance of the resurrection. (I Corinthians 15)
2. If Christ only died for our sins but was not resurrected, then the payment was no good, not accepted by God, we are the most miserable people because we have hope only in this world, and our faith is useless.
3. Thus it is not only important that we died with Christ on Calvary but that we were raised with him as well for this shows God accepted his payment for our sins.
4. The lives we now live are new for they are controlled by new desires and a new energy to live above sin’s power.
5.  Our sinful nature was crucified with him on the cross which has led to sin losing its power over us. We are no longer slaves to sin.
6. The utterance of Christ that “It is finished” was not simply a statement that he was about to die. It was a commentary on his work on the Cross-he had paid for our sins.
7. A slave is only allowed-and can only do, what his master tells or allows him to, and such is the state of every person apart from Christ.
8. Lack of knowledge can lead one to continue living as a slave even though they no longer are. It is similar to a dog accustomed to life on a chain. The master may unleash him but he continues to roam within his circle because he does not know he is free.
9. It is vitally important for successful Christian living to understand what has happened to us.
10.  A radical change happens after salvation. Sin is no longer our master but Christ is.

B. Our freedom affects everything we do.
1. We no longer live with fear, worry or anxiety. This in turn changes our attitude and perspective.
2. We do not have to fear death. Though we may physically die, we have been delivered from spiritual death.
3. This absence of fear helps us experience new vigor in life. Awareness of your position is vitally important for abundant living. We have goals to pursue and plans to make, for God has both of the aforementioned in mind for us.
4. An absence of fear, coupled with the knowledge that God is in control of your life, gives a different perspective on work, worship, play, Bible study and our service for others.

A. As believers, we have died and been buried with Christ.

B. Further, we have been raised to new life with him.

C. Therefore, sin no longer has power over us. We are more than conquerors in him.

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