You've been set free, but be careful your freedom doesn't drag you right back into slavery to sin.
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Romans 6 (ESV)
1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
2 By no means!
How can we
who died to sin
still live in it?
3 Do you not know
that all of us who have been baptized
into Christ Jesus
were baptized into his death?
4 We were
buried therefore with him by baptism into death,
in order that,
just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,
we too might walk in newness of life.
5 For if
we have been united with him in a death like his,
we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
6 We know
that our old self
was crucified with him
that the body of sin might be brought to nothing,
so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
7 For one
who has died
has been set free from sin.
8 Now if
we have died with Christ,
we believe that we will also live with him.
9 We know that Christ,
being raised from the dead,
will never die again;
death no longer has dominion over him.
10 For the death he died
he died to sin,
once for all,
but the life he lives he lives to God.
11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Let not sin therefore
reign in your mortal body,
to make you obey its passions.
13 Do not
present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness,
but present yourselves
to God as those who have been brought from death to life,
and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.
14 For sin will have no dominion over you,
since you are not under law
but under grace.
15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace?
By no means!
16 Do you not know that
if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves,
you are slaves of the one whom you obey,
either of sin, which leads to death,
or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
17 But thanks be to God,
that you who were once slaves of sin
have become obedient
from the heart
to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,
having been set free from sin,
have become slaves of righteousness.
19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations.
For just as you
once presented your members as slaves
and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness,
so now present your members as slaves
leading to sanctification.
20 For when you were slaves of sin,
you were free in regard to righteousness.
21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed?
For the end of those things is death.
22 But now that you
have been set free from sin
and have become slaves of God,
the fruit you get leads
and its end, eternal life.
the wages of sin is death,
but the free gift of God is
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6 Summary
The key teaching in Romans in the first five chapters has been that we are saved fully by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone. All our own efforts can do is sink us farther into the sinful mess God pulled us out of.
So it's easy to understand why some people may conclude that since our actions don't matter, why make any effort at living righteously? Thankfully, Paul saw this objection coming and he preemptively heads it off here in chapter six.
Follow the logic he lays out:
You've been joined to Christ
This means you were baptized into
His life, but also:
Since Christ in His death overcame sin,
He has been set free from it
You also have died to sin and are set free from it
do not: let sin reign in your body
do not: use your body as an instrument of unrighteousness
From the beginning, sin has been sold as the ticket to freedom. 'Eat this,' said the serpent, 'and you will be freed from your limitations and will be like God.'
Of course this was a lie. Ever since that first bite, Adam and all of his offspring have been sold into slavery to sin. As the first three chapters of Romans pointed out, this slavery only goes one way: down. The more a person clings to sin, the more God gives them over into it.
By God's grace, we've been freed from this initial slavery. But understand, you've not been set free just to wander around and follow your heart's desire! Rather, you now belong to God! As v18 says, having been set free from sin, [you] have become a slave of righteousness.
Consider this paraphrase of v23, one of the most famous verses of the Bible:
As a slave to sin, your wage is death.
As a slave to righteousness, your wage / God's gift is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father God, who has bought us out of our slavery to sin so that now we belong to Him;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray for the strength and wisdom to resist the temptation to live according to your own ideas and desires.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: