“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?”
Paul boldly declares, because of the manifold grace of God, it is unreasonable for a Christian to continue living in sin. He explains why we should put our old lives behind us, and also gives practical steps on how that is to be accomplished. Notice, he explains what happened to us when we received Jesus Christ. Declaring, we were buried with Him through baptism into death.
We have seen, over and over, as we journey through the Bible, the result of receiving Christ is life. We become the partakers of eternal life as we follow Christ; we begin to experience abundant life. Here, Paul speaks of another truth. In addition to being made alive, he explains that coming to Christ also involves dying. The life lived for self, in pursuit of sin, and driven by fleshly desires, is crucified when we receive Christ. Paul declares, since we died to sin, it is unreasonable for us to live in sin. After laying down the doctrinal aspect of this truth, Paul gives some practical insights in how to lay sin aside, and live a righteous life.
He writes, “Reckon yourself dead Indeed to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:11). The word reckon is a thinking word, meaning to consider. Since you are dead to sin, consider yourself dead to sin. Treat sin the way a dead man treats food. It is no long driving him. Dieting is difficult, it seems the moment we decide not to eat something, it is the moment we find ourselves surrounded by it. Our senses step into hyper mode, and we can smell sweets from a mile away. The battle rages within us, like a soldier fighting off an enemy invasion. We battle against the sights, smells, and memories of the delicacies we are trying to avoid. But truth be told, the moment we die, that battle will be over. Dead men don’t diet, they don’t need to, because the cravings of the flesh are gone. In the same way, if we consider that we are dead to sin, it is something of the past life, then we have taken the first step toward overcoming it’s hold on our lives.
Next Paul writes, “don’t let sin reign in your life.” Reign means to rule. Sin has a way of getting a hold of us and forcing us to do its bidding. When we first begin to toy with sin, we think we are the master, and it serves our desire. But it does not take long before the roles are reversed, and we realize we are under the control of sin. Paul is warning of that danger, but also instructing us on how to overcome sin’s hold on us.
He goes on to say, “do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but as instruments of righteousness (Romans 6:13).” Our members are our body parts. Before coming to Christ, we used them to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin. We used our minds to think of clever ways to sin and avoid getting in trouble for it. We used our eyes to look at sin, our ears to listen to it, our feet to lead us into it, and our hands to accomplish it. Now that we have come to Christ, we should use our members as instruments for righteousness. How have you been using yours? In what way have you used your mind, eyes, ears, feet and hands for the Kingdom of God?
Practically speaking, there is only so much time in the day. If we are giving ourselves over to the service of the Lord, we are going to have less time to give to sinful folly. In addition, we will find, the grip sin’s hold on us begins to weaken, and we, like Paul, will be able to speak of many of our struggles as victories.