Faith in Romans - Chapter 6 - Part 1: Since Believers are dead in Christ, should they continue in sin? - Let it not be; God’s Grace is not license to sin:Volume 5, Number 15
Created Date: June 15, 2020
Posted Date: June 15, 2020
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”. These rhetorical questions are a linchpin that transitions from doctrine in previous chapters to practical application that follows. The last three verses of chapter 5 somewhat recap the doctrine: “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover, the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” . These verses describe three contrasts summarized as follows: (I’ve added comments in parenthesis to point out doctrinal truths previously revealed in Romans.)
1. By Adam’s disobedience, many (everyone) since him were made sinners, contrasted with Jesus Christ’s obedience by which many (those who believe/have faith in Christ) are made righteous, Romans 5:19.
2. The Law of Moses was given to expose or lay bare the abundance of sin (in every person), contrasted with the abundance of God’s grace (bestowed on all who believe),.
3. Sin reigned unto death (as all die in Adam) contrasted with grace ruling on account of righteousness resulting in eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord (to those who believe/ have faith in Him),.
Based on these facts: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” Romans 6:1. Verse 2 in the King James Version (KJV) begins with the words “God forbid,” but the word “God” is not in the original manuscripts. The Greek words* beginning this verse mean literally “Let it not be!” - “How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”. Paul proceeds with another rhetorical question that I’ve paraphrased as follows: don’t you know that we (believers) who were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? . This baptism has nothing to do with water; it has to do with the believer’s identification with Christ in his death: “Therefore we are buried with him (Christ) by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” . The reason believers should not continue in sin is because as Christ died to sin and was raised therefrom by the glory of God the Father, even so we should walk (live, act, behave) in newness of life.
“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:”. The words “planted together” are translated from the Greek word “sumphutos,” which is found only here in the New Testament (NT), meaning: “of joint origin” or “grown together” or “united with” or “kindred.” This harks to the teaching of Christ Himself during His earthly ministry: “And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” . Christ’s point being that He came to die so He could be raised to new life, just as a seed must be planted in the ground and die before it can grow and produce new life/fruit. He died so believers will experience His new life with Him; He, having died, brought forth much fruit (all believers) with Him. Thus, anyone who believes in Him experiences with Him His new and everlasting life. The risen Lord Jesus Christ later revealed to the Apostle Paul for us today: “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, (made alive) except it die:” . Thus, Romans 6:5 teaches that we believers are united or kindred with Christ in His death, and His death (and resurrection therefrom) guarantees our resurrection to eternal life with Him.
“So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; (from) the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. (from ) Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” . In daily life, believers can say with Paul: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” .
Our sinful nature with which we were born, as inherited from Adam, is crucified with Christ on the cross so that our old sinful body might be destroyed and we should not sin any longer: “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”. “For he that is dead is freed from sin,” (a corpse is incapable of sinning). The next 3 verses can be paraphrased as follows: we believe we will live with Christ if we are dead with Him because the fact that Christ was resurrected from the dead indicates He is not going to die again because death has no hold on Him; this because He died unto sin once so that death has absolutely no power or control over Him, .
Therefore, believers consider themselves to be dead to sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord,. And because of this, believers don’t let sin reign/rule over our mortal bodies so that we obey the lusts thereof, . “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” . Since we are not under the law, but under grace, the next verse harks back to the same question asked in : “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” . Here again, the two Greek words translated “God forbid” in the 15th verse are the same two words found in Romans 6:2 and mean “let it not be.”
In closing, let’s contemplate the following: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he (Jesus Christ) also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” . God “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” . Amen, Amen, Amen!
*the original Greek translated “God forbid” is from two Greek words, “ginomai” (G1096) found 677 times in the NT primarily translated “be (is, being, been, was, were)” and “me” (G3361) found 675 times in the NT, primarily translated “not.” However, the KJV translates these two words “God forbid” a total of 15 times in the NT, once in Luke, 10 times in Romans, once in 1 Corinthians and three times in Galatians.