United with Christ Means Dead to Sin and Alive to God (Romans Sermon 34 of 120)
July 22, 2001 | Andrew Davis
War Against the Flesh, The Power of Sin, Grace
I. Dangerous Doctrine
I would like to ask that you take your scriptures and open to Romans Chapter 6. We're going to continue in our study in Romans, and we come this morning to a whole new subsection of this incredible epistle. Romans is a letter from the Apostle Paul, in which he's explaining the Gospel of our salvation. I think we could divide the Gospel into two main sections that we've seen so far. Romans chapters 1-5 lay out very plainly and very clearly the doctrine of justification by faith alone, apart from works of the law. But as we come now to Romans chapters 6-8, we come to a new section in which the Apostle Paul seeks to describe how we are sanctified. He teaches how we are carried on in our Christian life, how we are made gradually, little by little, by the power of the Spirit to be like Jesus. We are to walk as He walked, to think as He thought, to feel as He felt, to be in this world as He was. And this is a tremendous work, because we struggle with sin so mightily.
But the Gospel, the message in Romans Chapter 6 and the entire Gospel of Romans is sufficient for all of our needs. I titled the first section of this sermon Dangerous Doctrine, you know that doctrine is dangerous. It says that a preacher has to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. So sitting in front of me now are both afflicted and comfortable people. Now, I'm not sure which each of you is, you can apply that to yourself. Am I comfortable in sin? Am I ill at ease in my sinful life? And do I need to be afflicted out of that and convicted so that my life might be transformed? Or am I afflicted and harassed and do I need a message of comfort? And how can one mouth speaking into one microphone give both sufficient for all needs? But the Gospel message is able to do that. The Gospel message is sufficient for all of our needs.
Summary of Romans
The Power of the Gospel
We have seen that Paul is unfolding the only message of salvation that there is in this world. He says in Romans 1:16, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes." And so this Gospel message is sufficient to take you on an incredible journey. A journey from being dead in transgressions and sins, all the way to seeing Jesus face to face in His glory. Jesus prayed in John 17, He said, "I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, he glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world." So all of you who are called by His name, who are justified by faith, you will most certainly see the glory of Jesus Christ. You will see Him face to face.
And so this Gospel message is sufficient to take you from dead in transgressions and sins all the way to face to face glory with Jesus Christ. And what kind of message is that? But as we have looked at it we've seen unfolded our need for justification. You look in Roman 1 through 5, the first thing that Paul addresses is our need for justification.
The Universality of Human Sin and Depravity and the Consequent Wrath of God
In Romans 1:18 he says, "The wrath of God is being revealed from Heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness." And so we have a tendency to take the truth and suppress it, to push it down. We don't want to hear it. We don't want to know who we really are. It's somewhat like we're cancer patients and we go to the doctor and we want him to lie to us. We want him to tell us that we're fine, that we're well. But we are not well, and so we need to be cured. And so the Gospel message comes right straight at it and tells us that we are dead in transgressions and sins, that we're under the wrath of God, and that we must have a saving message.
And so in Romans Chapter 1 he describes Gentile pagans as under the wrath of God and he says, that because they have turned away from the truth, they have exchanged the truth of God for a lie. He says at the end of Romans 1 that they are "filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful. They invent ways of doing evil, disobedient to their parents, senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless." Now, that describes a gentile apart from the grace of God. But then in Romans Chapter 2, he describes self-righteous moral people, even Jews who have received the law of God, but don't obey it. And so he says in Romans 2:13, "It is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who keep or obey the law who will be declared righteous."
And no one does it, there's no one on the face of the earth that can perfectly keep the law of God. And so it is not only the pagans, the Gentiles, who are apart from God and who don't have the written word, and who sin against that light of knowledge and their conscience, just as they are under the wrath of God. But so are also the Jews or the moralists who seeks to live a righteous or upright life, but does not see the need for Jesus Christ are also under the wrath of God. And so in Romans Chapter 3, Paul takes it all and summarizes it, says that every single solitary person on the face of the earth, whether Jew or Gentile, all of us have sinned and lacked the glory of God, every last one of us. And he describes our situation in Romans 3:9 and following, he says, "What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all. We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin."
Now, that is a very important phrase, under sin, under the dominion of sin. Sin is the emperor, sin is the ruler, sin is the king of that lost person, and sin will lead that lost person to death and to eternity, and judgement in hell. All of us, Jews and Gentiles alike, are under sin. As it is written, "There is no one righteous, no, not one. There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they've together become worthless. There is no one who does good, no, not one." And you say, "Surely, Paul, this is an extreme statement. This must be an exaggeration. I know that I do many good things, and I hope on the basis of these good things to stand before you, to stand before God and to give an account for myself on the basis of my good works. I know that I commit sins, but I'm sorry for my sins and I would like to present all of these many good works." How far will those good works get you on Judgement Day?
Recently I was in a distant country and we went through the streets and there were people selling things. And they were looking to sell us many, many things. And some of them, they had made with their hands and some of them we bought. Actually, many of them we bought. But after a while, I was getting a little bit fatigued with buying things. My luggage was getting heavy and there wasn't any more room, and I was just done with buying things. And I came down one particularly run down street, and there was somebody there trying to sell these trinkets that they had made and I noted that they were of a relatively low quality and that they also were dirty. And furthermore, the mannerism of the salesman bothered me. He was very arrogant. He stood up and started forcing them into my face, "Take them. Take them." He couldn't speak a word of English but, "Take them." And it was just a sense of revulsion in me. There was nothing about those trinkets that interested me. And his whole manner put me off as well.
And it was at that moment that I began to think that this is how it will be for the person trusting in good works on Judgement Day. They'll stand before God and say, "Here are my trinkets, take them in payment for all of my sins and let me into heaven, I demand." What will that person find on that day? God demands a broken and contrite spirit, a yearning heart, being a spiritual beggar, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, not this kind of confidence in works. But Paul already told us in Romans Chapter 3, "There is no one who does good." No, one not one, even our righteous acts are like filthy rags in His sight. So we have no foundation. We have no basis. We're under the wrath of God.
The Gospel: Christ as Propitiation
But then, right there, in the middle of Romans Chapter 3, comes a brilliant light. Those walking in darkness have seen a great light and those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned, and that light is Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ and Him crucified, for it says right there in the middle of Romans Chapter 3, "But now righteousness from God has been made known apart from the law to which the law and the prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and lack the glory of God and are justified freely." That means as a free gift, "are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a propitiation through faith in His blood." Now, what is a propitiation? It's a sacrifice that absorbs that wrath of God. Jesus got up on the cross and just, He absorbed our wrath for us. He took it into Himself like a lightning rod, He absorbed it. The wrath of God. And so we can stand free and clear of the wrath of God on Judgement Day. We will be free of it forever.
Appropriating Redemption: Justification by Faith Alone
And then in Romans Chapter 4, he gives us the example of Abraham. He'd already told us that justification, that is where the judge declares us not guilty of all of our sins. Oh, how valuable and precious is that? That the judge of all the earth should look at you on Judgement Day and declare you not guilty of all of your sins. What would you give in exchange for that? What would you trade of all your trinkets for that? Would you give the whole world that the judge would look at you on Judgement Day with the court seated and the books opened of all your records, everything you've ever done and said, all the things you haven't done and haven't said, all of it right there, and for the judge to declare you not guilty of all of your sins, what would you give? Well, you can't give anything. You must simply receive it as a gift, justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus whom God presented as a propitiation, one who absorbs the wrath of God.
And so therefore it says in Romans 3:28, "We maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law." No good deeds could ever do this, but simply by receiving it by faith. And in Romans 4, he gives us the example of Abraham. We've talked about it before, but I want to burn it into your mind, that night, that starry night that God took Abraham out and said, "Look at the stars. I know, Abraham, that you don't have a child. I know you're 99 years old. I know your wife Sarah is 90 and she's barren. But look at the stars." And then He made him a promise, "So shall your offspring be." And Abraham heard that promise in words and believed it in his heart, and God saw his faith and declared him at that moment not guilty of all of his sins. That's all it is. You hear a promise, a promise from God. A promise of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. You hear it and you acknowledge that apart from that promise, you're lost. You have no good works. You have no hope, no standing, you're lost. If it weren't for Jesus, you'd be going to hell, no question about it.
But there is Jesus. He has come. He has died on the cross. His blood is sufficient for you. It's enough. And you hear, and you believe and it's credited to you as righteousness. You're justified by faith. Oh, how beautiful. How joyous is that message of justification by faith alone apart from works of the law?
The Results: Peace with God and Assurance of Salvation
And so in Romans 5:1-11 we get this incredible string of verses giving us incredible assurance. One chain and then a link after another. Romans 5:1, "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Peace with God, God is at peace with you forever. And nothing can take that away. Justified by faith alone, declared not guilty and now you have peace. An access by faith, an introduction by faith into this grace in which you stand. Remember, we used to be under sin, and now we're standing in grace. We're in a whole new country, and that's going to be important for understanding Romans 6. You've been transferred into a whole new region, a whole new country.
And he goes on through one chain after another, one link after another of assurance in Romans Chapter 5. We're assured in the middle of our sufferings and our trials, that even our trials produce a greater hope. And hope does not disappoint, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by that indwelling Holy Spirit that we have. And we have this act in history. Jesus Christ and Him crucified up on the cross, and no one can take Him off there. No one can say it didn't happen. No one can say the resurrection never occurred. It's an act in history. God demonstrated His love, and He demonstrates it now through the preaching of the word that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
The Difficult Doctrine of Original Sin
And then in the rest of Romans 5, we see a very difficult doctrine. But if we understand it, we see the assurance that we have. That every single person on the face of the earth, whether American, or French, or Canadian, or Latin American, or Chinese, it doesn't matter where they are from. Every single solitary person on the face of the earth is born naturally in Adam. And that we all are condemned in Adam, that when Adam stood at that tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we stood there with him. And when Adam sinned, we sinned with him. When Adam was condemned and judged by God, we were condemned and judged with him. And that explains how sin covers the earth. How it is that a child grows up out of innocence and as soon as they understand right from wrong, as soon as the law comes, they die. They understand right from wrong, and they sin.
The Glorious Doctrine of Union with Christ
And so we're born in Adam, but now, by justification, by faith alone, we are now born again in Christ. He's our covenant head now. He represented us at a different tree, the tree of Calvary. And Jesus Christ is our head. And so where we once were dominated and tyrannized by sin and death, so now we have the reign of life. It says in Romans Chapter 5:20-21, "Where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that just as sin reigned in death, that wicked tyrant sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord."
II. The Question Posed: Shall We Keep On Sinning?
And so now we come to this dangerous doctrine. Somebody is going to say, "Now, wait a minute. What you're saying to me is that no matter how much I sin, I'm going to heaven? Is that what you're saying to me?" Well, if you're justified by faith that's exactly what I'm saying. You cannot out-sin the grace of God. It is impossible for you to do so.
Where sin abounds, where it's even a river, God has an ocean to cover the river. Where sin abounds, Amen. Where sin abounds, say it again, "Praise God." Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more. Give Him your highest mountain of sin, and He'll cover it to a depth of 20 feet. That's the way it is. Well, that's kind of dangerous, that doctrine, isn't it? What is it making you think? "Well, then, let's have a sin party. We'll all come on Friday evening, and you all bring your favorite sins, and we'll have a sin party." Now, you all know what's your favorite sins are. They're all different, but they follow the same kind of pattern, lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, boastful pride of life. Whatever you want to bring, you bring, and we'll have a sin party on Friday evening. It'll probably be a first here, at First Baptist Church, but we're into new things from time to time. We'll have a sin party.
Now that we have finally understood justification by faith alone apart from works and law, we can have a sin party. Is that the case? Well, that's what Paul's adversaries thought he was teaching. They said, "Your doctrine leads to lawlessness. Your doctrine leads to sin. Paul, if what you're saying is true, if the whole point is the glory of God's grace, if it's true that where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more, then by that same logic, God will get even more glory if we sin even more, right?" And so that's what he says.
Now, listen. Read along in Romans 6:1-4, and we'll see how he answers this question. "What shall we say then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means, we died to sin. How can we live in it any longer, for don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death. We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." So we have this question, and it's interesting how Paul, as he unfolds his doctrine, he brings against the doctrine, the very question that you want to ask. He's going to do it again and again. He's going to do it later in Chapter 6. He's going to do it in Chapter 7. He's going to do it again in Chapter 9. He's going to bring questions against the doctrine, and then answer them.
And so I think it is, when you're preaching the right Gospel, when you're preaching the Gospel of free grace, of justification by faith alone apart from works of law, you must answer this question. It will come up every time. "Well, then, let's sin all we want." It's amazing how this doctrine produces this question. And it's really a test of the doctrine that we're teaching to see if this question comes. Suppose Paul were teaching a works righteousness, suppose he were teaching that you need to walk the aisle, sign the card, be a part of a committee, come in to a church again, and again, be a deacon or whatever good works you want to do. And on the basis of that, you're going to stand before God on Judgement Day. Would he ever have to face this question?
Well, Paul, I guess, based on all you're saying that we can sin lots and lots, and that wouldn't make any sense. If Paul were teaching a works righteousness, this question would never come up. But instead, Paul is teaching a grace righteousness, a righteousness given to us just as a free gift. And so he must answer this question that comes up. But the beauty of the Gospel is not only does it produce this question, it also answers this question. It refutes this whole mentality, so that we can understand it properly. And, I don't know if you heard, we are not going to have a bring-your-own-sin party on Friday. Don't misunderstand me; that was just rhetoric. We must not sin that grace may increase. And that's how Paul answers. This is the wickedness of the human heart.
We take the grace of God and what do we do with it? We turn it around into a license for immorality. We turn it around so that we can sin as much as we want. Sin is always seeking an opportunity. Sin is a relentless force. Sin did not let you go lightly. Sin was overcome by a greater force. The strong man, when he's powerful, he binds up his possessions and keeps them in his power, but when someone more powerful than him overtakes him, the possessions are taken out of his house. That's what Jesus did to the devil. And he stole you from the devil's kingdom. He didn't let you go lightly, and he wants you back. And he's going to be calling out commands to you. Sin is going to be calling out like you're still under sin, but you're not under sin anymore, you're free. Jesus has set you free. You're a new person.
But sin is still relentless; it's seeking an opportunity. There are even false teachers who will teach this. They'll say, "We are totally forgiven in Jesus Christ. So therefore, it doesn't matter how you live. It doesn't matter. You can't lose your salvation," that's true, "So therefore, you can live as you please." Jude Chapter 4 speaks of these false teachers, it says there are godless men who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality, and deny Jesus Christ, our only Sovereign and Lord. So these false teachers change the grace of God into a license. Here's a certificate, go sin as much as you want. And whenever conviction comes and bothers your heart, show the certificate, like an indulgence; "I've paid for this. I can sin as much as I want." Changing the grace of God into a license for immorality. But this isn't so distant from us, is it? Have you ever been tempted by the devil? Tempted to sin? And then along with the temptation comes this word, you can always confess it later, God will forgive. Has that ever happened to you? Or am I alone the one that's faced that? God will forgive. You've confessed that before and He forgave it that time. God is gracious, so go ahead. It's the voice of the devil. And it's the very same thing that Paul is dealing with us here.
That evil philosopher, that French philosopher Voltaire said this of God. He said, "God will forgive, it's His trade." That's what He does, His métier. It's kind of His... Like somebody makes shoes, has got a little sign out with the shoes. You want to go buy some leather shoes, that's the shop you go to for the shoes. Or you want some furniture, there's a sign hanging outside that shop, and you know that you can buy a stool or a table there. The tradesman makes a good table there. Or maybe some ceramics; you can go over here and you see the sign hanging outside that shop, and you can go and buy some high quality ceramics there. But here's God's shop, and He's got grace hanging outside, and what He does, it's His trade, He forgives sin. So just go in there and get your sins forgiven and go on in your life. And when you need to come back, you come and buy some more forgiveness. That was Voltaire's attitude. WH Auden said this, "I like committing crimes. God likes forgiving them. Really, the world is admirably arranged." Shall we sin all the more so that grace may increase?
And then there's that man, Grigori Rasputin, that famous depraved monk. Do you remember the story Anastasia? It was made popular by Disney recently. Well, Rasputin was a counselor to that final Romanov family, the last Tsars. And he was a deranged man, a debauched and sinful man, who had lived a debauched life. And then he stumbled across some doctrine, a branch of the Orthodox faith in Russia that taught that you must sin to expel sin. That the more you sin, the weaker sin gets in your life. Is that true? Absolutely not, but that's what he did and that's what he taught. Sin to expel sin. So he was a depraved and debauched man, and he died that way.
But all of these are manifestations, and we can multiply it. It's taking the grace of God and turning it into a license for sin, giving yourself permission.
III. The Answer Declared: Dead to Sin
Well, what is Paul's answer? Look at Verse 2. He says, first of all, "May it never be." How can we sin? He says, "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may increase? May it never be." The first answer is one from the heart, it's one from the gut, really. It's a passionate answer. There's emotion involved in Paul's response, isn't there? He's almost angry about it. It just comes out passionately, "May it never be." One translation says, "God forbid." Now, the word God isn't in the Greek, but there's a sense of that urgency. God forbid that you think that way. Absolutely not. We will not think that way. If I can just stop and give you an application right here in the middle of this sermon.
Not all the applications are at the end; sometimes, they're right in the middle. Do you have a passionate, almost heated response to temptation? You should. How does God feel about sin? When I used to work as an engineer, I had a little piece of paper up on my wall with a Scripture verse. It wasn't John 3:16 or Psalm 23. It was a little off the beaten path. It was Psalm 97:10. It says, "Let those who love the Lord hate evil." And so you'd see people looking and the wheels would be turning. They'd be thinking as they looked at that verse. It was so brief that it got in before they could do anything about it. And then they'd start thinking and they couldn't stop themselves, so they'd start thinking about it. And it was beautiful to see the look on their faces as they would mull on this. "Let those who love the Lord hate evil." Because God hates it. And so Paul has a passionate response. There's a sense of unthinkability to the sin. Is sin unthinkable in your life? Or is it just something you deal with, something you tolerate?
In Habakkuk 1:13 it says of God, "Your eyes are too pure to look on evil, you cannot tolerate wrong." God will not tolerate it. Do we tolerate it? And so Paul has a passionate response, and then he makes a declaration, it's in question form, but it's really a declaration, "How shall we who died to sin live in it?" But NIV breaks it into a statement, and then a question, the statement being, "We died to sin, how can we live in it any longer?" So the key fact is, if you are a Christian, you died to sin, you're dead to sin, you have a new identity in Jesus Christ.
The doctrine of sanctification is not that you must progressively die to sin, the doctrine of sanctification is you are dead to sin so live like it. And there is a world of difference between being dead in sin and being dead to sin. It's the difference between hell and heaven, being dead in sin is where you were, being dead to sin is what you are in Christ. You died to sin once and for all, the old man, the old person that you were in Adam is dead, and therefore, sin has no authority over you whatsoever. We're going to be talking about this in Romans 6. But this is the first foundational doctrine to sanctification. You are dead to sin, how can we live in it any longer?
And then he says in verse 3-4, "Don't you know that all of us who are baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death. We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death." So he's saying that the moment that Jesus Christ died, if you're justified by faith, you died too. You know that African spiritual, "Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?" What is the answer? If you're a Christian, yeah, you were there. That was you nailed to the cross, you died with Jesus spiritually. You're united with Him in the same way that you were united with Adam when he sinned at the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Yes, you were there. Paul says it this way in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ." I have been crucified with Christ, that was me on the cross. That's what I deserve, all of the beatings and the spitting and the scorning, and the nails, and the blood, the crown of thorns, all of it is what I deserve. And now by faith, I'm united with Jesus and His death has become my death. Yes, I was there. "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And 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."
Now, Paul is very eager that you understand this doctrine. As a matter of fact, it's not going to be for another 10 verses that he finally tells you to do anything. It's one of the things I've noticed, it's very interesting. You go through Romans Chapter 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, all that doctrine that I covered at the beginning of the message today, you go on into Chapter 6, the teaching of sanctification, it's not until you get to Verse 11 that Paul tells you to do anything. Up to that point, he's only been telling you what is, what is true about the wrath of God and about the Gospel being a power of salvation, and about Jesus being propitiation and about Abraham looking at the stars and about your assurance in Adam and Christ, all of this and he didn't tell you to do anything.
IV. The Answer’s Foundation: Union with Christ
He just told you what's true. And then in Chapter 6, he tells you 10 more verses of what's true before he finally gets in verse 11, go ahead and look at it. What's the first thing he tells you to do in verse 11? In 6:11, he tells you in the same way, "Count yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus." Think of yourselves a certain way. And so therefore he's going to teach you to live based on your doctrine. In Verse 3, he says, "Don't you know, don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?" You were united with Him in baptism, united with Him at the cross, and also united with Him in His glorious resurrection.
Now, at this moment, I want to stop and say a word about baptism. Next week, I'm going to preach a whole message on baptism, water baptism. I know that we're Baptists, that means we believe in believer baptism. And so Romans 6:1-4 will be one of our key doctrines to teach, believer baptism, but I actually don't believe that this is about water baptism. I think that the verses say too much for that. According to the baptism that happens here, we are, in this baptism, united with Jesus in His death, and in this baptism united with Him also in His resurrection.
Does that happen at the water baptism? That's just an outward symbol of something that's already happened to you. Well, remember what John the Baptist said about water baptism, "I baptize with water, but after me will come one who's more powerful than I, His sandals, I'm not worthy to untie, He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." And so that baptism, I believe, is in view here, that union with Jesus, by the power of the Spirit where you are united with Him in His death, and then you are raised to a whole new life.
And so we go to Paul's question, "Shall we continue to live in sin so that grace may abound?" Absolutely not, because we have a new life in Jesus Christ. Christ died forever to sin and so, also, must we. Now, as I mentioned next week, we're going to talk more about water baptism. It's important to understand it, but you say, "Why are you doing that here?" Well, just because you think that these verses talk about water baptism, so it's a good time to stop and talk about water baptism. We'll do that next week. But I believe that instead this is talking about a deeper union, a union with us by the Holy Spirit, where we died with Jesus Christ, and we were raised to newness of life.
V. The Answer Applied to You
Now, how can we apply this to ourselves? Well, first I want to speak to the unbeliever. Now, what is an unbeliever? I believe an unbeliever is somebody that's never come to understand that their good works aren't going to save them. They've never come to understand what it means to worship by the spirit of God, to glory in Christ Jesus and to put no confidence in your natural abilities.
That's what an unbeliever is, it's somebody who's never come to personal faith in Christ but rather is trusting in their own good works. To you may I say that you're still under sin. You're under the dominion of sin and none of the things that we're going to talk about over the next number of weeks in Romans 6 apply to you. You're still a slave to sin and you can't stop, you can change the flavor of sin from day to day, but you can't stop sinning. It's impossible, because sin is still your master. But if you come to personal faith in Jesus Christ, Jesus will free you forever from the power of sin and you'll be able to tell sin, "Absolutely not, you have no authority over me. I'm free forever from sin. I'm going to walk in newness of life because Jesus has raised me from the dead." So come to faith in Christ. That's all I can say to you if you're not a believer. You have only one thing to do, and that's come to the cross. Come to Jesus Christ.
But if you are a Christian, I want to say five things to you.
First, begin by understanding your total security in Christ. Realize as I've told you this question would never come up if you didn't understand salvation by grace alone. You cannot out-sin the grace of God. No matter how much you sin, God's grace is sufficient to cover all your sins. But I want to urge you if you have an attitude or a thought that I can sin all I want, it may be that you've never been justified by faith. Be concerned about that. Be concerned. If you can live in sin comfortably, if sin is your friend and you don't see any real problem with the sins in your life, be very afraid that you have never been justified and you're still in your sins.
And so I urge you, secondly, to grow to hate sin more passionately than you do. Paul said, "May it never be." Can you say that with every temptation? John Bunyan put it this way, "Sin is the dare of God's justice. It is the rape of His mercy. It is the jeer of His patience. It is the slight of His power and the contempt of His love."
Aren't you done with sin? Don't you want to be done forever with sin? Grow to hate sin more and more. It is a bitter, implacable foe. It will be pursuing you to the day you die. You must fight it and hate it with all of your heart.
And thirdly, especially beware of Satan using grace to stimulate you to sin presumptuously, to say, "Because I'm a Christian, I'm okay. I can sin as much as I want." Beware of this. This is a lie from the devil. Thomas Adams put it this way, "Despair is assurance stark dead, presumption is assurance stark mad." It's assurance gone insane. To take assurance and turn it around is a license for sin, is a form of insanity. It's not what God meant to give you Romans 5 for. Romans 5 is meant to make you realize you're going to heaven so therefore fight sin the rest of your life. That's what Romans 5 is for.
And number four, realize that the issue here is not a matter of perfection. We're going to be talking more about that in Romans 6. It's not a matter of you must be sinless and perfect the rest of your life, but rather that sin shall not have dominion over you. You're going to make excursions into the old place where you used to live, but you're going to hate every moment and there's a principle of turning inside you saying immediately, "I want to come back. I hate that place where I lived so long." William Gurnall put it this way, "A sheep may fall into a ditch, but it is the swine who wallows in it." So, you grow quickly to come out of it and say, "This isn't my home. I want to live under the grace of God."
And then finally, take Paul's practical advice. I'm just going to read it, we'll unfold it more later, in Romans 11-14. Read along with me, if you would, in your text. It says in Romans 6:11, "In the same way count yourselves or think of yourselves as dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus." Verse 12, "Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life and offer the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness, for sin shall not be your master because you are not under law, but under grace." Please close with me in prayer.
Father, what can we say in response to these things? We thank you so much for the final word in verse 14, "Sin shall not be your master." And then in Vverse 2, "We died to sin." Oh, we praise you that we've been freed forever from that tyranny of sin and we thank you that we never have to sin again ever for the rest of our lives. Sin has no authority to compel us, but rather we're free forever. Everyone who sins, Jesus said, is a slave to sin, but if the Son makes you free you will be free indeed. Oh, Jesus, thank you for making us free indeed. Help us to walk in that freedom, in that newness of life. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.