The purpose of this Bible study is to understand that saving grace took sin off of our books and sustaining grace takes sin out of our lives
GRACE #7: INTRODUCTION TO ROMANS 6 –
Through Romans, Chapter 5, Paul has explained the first aspect of grace: For the believer, there is no punishment for our sins. We are totally forgiven and we are totally free.
Beginning in Romans, Chapter 6, Paul emphasizes the second aspect of grace: Grace is not only the basis for total and complete forgiveness, grace is also the power to remove sin from our actual lives.
We are often criticized for emphasizing grace too much, and for not presenting a more balanced view. We see here that Paul was criticized for exactly the same reason. And, as we have seen, the two churches to whom Paul emphasized grace the most were the churches at Corinth and Galatia—one was totally immoral and the other was about to go back to Judaism.
Paul always emphasized grace, but whenever he did, people would say You cannot just emphasize grace, because people will think it is a license to sin as much as they want without consequences. So, Paul was criticized for emphasizing grace for exactly the same reasons we are.
In Romans 6, Paul says:
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? (Romans 6:1)
If you are teaching grace and somebody says Based on what you are saying, people can do whatever you want, their conclusion is not correct, but the fact that they asked the question means that you have correctly taught the concept of grace. In fact, if they do not ask the question, you probably have not sufficiently explained the concept of grace. In that case—if you are teaching grace and no one asks that question—you should go back and explain the concept of grace again.
When someone asks if grace is a license to sin with no consequences, what is the answer? Paul answers: May it never be! That is a weak translation; actually, it is an expression of extremely strong indignation—
Of course not! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? (Romans 6:2)
Recognize that the way Paul answers this question is proof of the importance of grace alone.
Let us think about something. Paul has been emphasizing grace and someone says to him You cannot just keep preaching grace and only grace; people will think they can do whatever they want. If grace needed to be balanced, there is no doubt that this would have been the perfect opportunity for Paul to have said right here No, it is not just grace—but he did not. Paul did not back off one bit; he did not soften it; and he did not try to balance grace by mixing it with obedience and/or discipline. Paul has just taken five chapters to emphasize grace alone, and then here, in Chapter 6, he does not withdraw or back off—he holds firm on grace.
So, Paul says How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
Again, that is why we presented the first five chapters of Romans, so this will make sense.
Every human being:
q Is born a sinner
q Is born an absolute slave to sin.
And then, here comes Messiah Jesus:
q He has no human father; therefore, He was born without a sin nature.
q He lived a life of 100 percent righteousness, but our sin was put on Him.
q When He died on the Cross, our sin was killed off with Him and the power of sin was broken.
Now for all believers [in our flesh], we are in this position:
q In our lives, the power of sin is broken, and yet,
q We still sin—we will always sin, because in our flesh, we are natural born sinners.
In our flesh, we will always be just as much slaves to sin as we were before we were saved. Right now, our flesh is exactly the same as it was before we were saved, and it will always be that way until we get rid of this body. The difference is:
q We do not have to be slaves to sin, because grace broke that connection.
Now here are the two aspects of grace: Since we are believers, we are free, and, yes, we are free to disobey and God will not punish us. We are free to live a life like that. But a life like that for a Christian is incongruous—it is possible, but it is absurd.
KILLING THE WEEDS
This morning I noticed I have a good number of weeds in my garden. Some of them are fairly good sized and some of them are pretty impressive but they are ugly. However, I am free to have them; I will not be punished since I have them; no one will fly down from Washington and order me to get those weeds out of my yard; nothing will ever happen to me.
The shame is that in my garage, I have a container of weed killer that is earth friendly —I even think dolphins can drink it -sic! It gets rid of weeds—it does not just mask (hide) them—it kills the weeds by going right down to the roots and killing them off. So, I am free to have those weeds in my yard. Yes, they are ugly, they are unsightly, but I will not be punished for them. However, it is absurd that I do not use the weed killer that I have. Yes, I am still free, no one will punish me, but as I look at those ugly weeds I can see the real problem: they are choking out things that might be good.
This is a picture of a Christian who is a slave to sin. It is like having ugly weeds in our yard that can get rampant and out of control. For a Christian who lives that way, God will not punish him. He is free to keep living that way; he is free to disobey; he is free to have those weeds in his life that are choking out good things; but it is incongruous.
There is a remedy for sin —grace— and it is free.
Grace is like that weed killer. It does not mask over our sins like we try to do. That is what we try to do, correct? We deal with sin this way: we confess it, we sort of halfway forget about it, and we sort of halfway think God forgave us and we hope it is just kind of covered up. Grace does not deal with sin that way.
Grace goes down to the very root and kills it all.
So, a Christian can live under the bondage of flesh, under the mastery of sin, but it is incongruous for a Christian to not use the power of grace that is available. Again, that individual is still free to live that way and God will not punish him, but it is absurd because that is not the Christian life that is pictured in the New Testament.
The Christian who lives that way will suffer, not because God is punishing him, but because those weeds will be choking out all the good things that would otherwise be in his life. So, he is free, but he will have a miserable life.
By the way, this is where discipline comes in. Discipline is when we reach the point where those weeds are choking out every good thing in our lives and, finally, God reaches the point where He says I cannot stand to watch you having a miserable life with these weeds. You sit down here and I will go kill those weeds for you.
You may ask Why is it painful? The only reason it is painful is because we become so attached to those weeds that we start thinking they are pretty. Everybody else knows that they are ugly, but we think they look nice. So that pain comes after God intervenes These weeds are killing you, let Me sit you down here and I will go pull up those weeds because we have been attached to those sins for so long that it hurts for Him to pull them out. That is discipline.
In closing, let us remember that when we emphasize grace, we are not emphasizing that sin is okay. We are emphasizing grace in two aspects:
First: Grace is freedom from punishment for sins.
Second: Grace is freedom from the power of sin.
If we soften the first part, which is freedom from punishment, we will weaken the power of grace, which is to get sin out of our lives. The only way to reach the point where sin is not master over us is to rest in grace.
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