This week’s Bible study moves on the Romans chapter six

Eternal Life Through Grace

[Romans 6]

This week we will take up where we left off last week in our complete study of the Book of Romans. As you recall from the end of chapter five, the apostle Paul was in the process of giving a detailed explanation of grace through Christ, the renouncing of sin in our lives, and our aspirations of becoming more Christlike as we mature in the Lord. Paul wrote, “For just as through the disobedience of the one man were many made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will remain righteous.”

Whatsoever you do for the least of my brethren, you do for me.
Whatsoever you do for the least of my brethren, you do for me.

In the real world, when you have Jesus in your heart it doesn’t matter where you are from, where you have been or what you have done. What is in the past stays in the past. It doesn’t matter whether you have sinned a few times or many times, or to what degree you may have done something wrong in your past. Even if it’s the worst thing you can think of, Christ died for that sin so that we wouldn’t have to. That’s why I point out that the Bible says we who believe already have eternal life in our dear Lord Jesus. It doesn’t matter what we have done because Jesus died and rose again for all our transgressions. But this statement goes further than that. We aren’t just cleansed from unrighteousness, but “the many will remain righteous”. This is not a one-time occurrence, this is ongoing and working full time. So long as we believe in God through Jesus Christ and obey His commands, we can remain righteous in His sight. Paul then adds this clarification starting at the beginning of chapter six:

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? Or 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 in baptism unto 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. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we may also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once and for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 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.” (Romans 6:1-14 NIV)

If God’s grace abounds to cover up sin, should we sin even more to get more grace? No way! “We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” When we put aside our old ways and old habits, we put sin out of our lives permanently. As we mature as adults we put our childish ways behind us, understanding that this is for our own benefit. It is unhealthy to hold on to the mistakes of youth because it keeps us from functioning and growing in a mature way. The same thing goes for all our imperfections, shortcomings and inadequacies that make up the sin that exists in everyone’s life, and that includes my own. No one can measure up to God. So we bury those imperfections as a way of making ourselves worthy of being called God’s children in the same way that Jesus was buried after He was crucified. “We were therefore buried with him in baptism unto 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.” Just as Christ was buried and resurrected so that we could all have eternal life in and through Him, so in the same way we bury our old ways, the ways of the past, in order to have a new life through Jesus Christ. “If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.” This is the best news of all! We can stay in our old ways and stagnate, or we can be united with Christ in His resurrection so that “we too may live a new life”. There is nothing difficult about this so long as we keep ourselves focused on Jesus Christ. Find a way to live a new life through Christ. Bury your old ways, the ways of the past, and get raised from the dead to live a new life by embracing Jesus.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we may also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once and for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.” Jesus was only crucified once because that’s all that was necessary. That’s why I am sometimes puzzled over certain churches that have “revivals”, as they are called. We are already risen with Christ. So why do we need revival, excluding those who have strayed away from Jesus and realized their error? Even while our bodies are slowly dying, our spirits and souls are already raised to eternal life just as Jesus was – and who will be forever and ever. So let’s all acquire the resurrection of Christ by simply stepping forward and staking our claim. And, let’s take this faith of ours in Jesus’ resurrection for the free will offering of salvation from the risen Christ which truly is free to all.

“ … 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.” Make yourselves into living sacrifices for Jesus Christ by claiming your inheritance as a part of God’s kingdom, the kingdom of the universe. We have been brought from eternal death to everlasting life by no other means except for the supreme sacrifice made by the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are not under law, Paul wrote, but we are under grace. There’s that word again, grace, which is defined as unmerited favor from God through Jesus and only through him. Being under law meant being under the traditional Hebrew law known today as the Old Testament, where animal sacrifices were required as atonement for sin. But in these latter times in which we live just prior to Christ’s return, we are under grace because Jesus has already made himself the living sacrifice for us all. As such, it is now our responsibility as Christians to spread the good news as far and wide as we can so that others may also share in your newly minted immortality. As we hold that thought, let’s now finish the second half of today’s study, starting at verse 15.

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one you obey – whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness, which leads to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6, verses 15-23, NIV)

Just because we are under grace rather than the Old Law doe not give us an excuse to do whatever suits us at any time. Under no circumstances is grace considered to be a spiritual “get out of jail free” card in some heavenly Monopoly game. “But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” Why be a slave to a sinful, miserable, unhappy and unfulfilled life when we can be adopted into the Family of God and become Spiritual slaves to Christ? But even slavery to sin is loosely interpreted here because of the word ‘slavery’, which has a strongly negative connotation throughout the world, and particularly in the US due to slavery issues stemming from the US Civil War of 1861-1865. Human slavery is oppressive, but slavery to Jesus is liberating. Jesus said it best when he said, “Come to me, all of you who are heavily laden, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Under the Old Law, there were a lot more than ten commandments, which is an oversimplification, because there are actually over six hundred commandments that had to be followed to the letter. This is exactly what Jesus was referring to when he spoke those most encouraging words 2,000 years ago. Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law of Moses, replacing it with himself for the justification of us all in God’s sight.

Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness, which leads to holiness.” The human body is the Lord’s temple and the heart is the place in which God dwells. Slavery to sin and wickedness leads to eternal death, but that same slavery leads to eternal life when it is directed toward Christ rather than toward the world, which is passing away even as I write this. What are some basic steps that we can take toward righteousness that leads to holiness? First, unplug your boob tube. Why are you wasting $100.00 per month subscribing to cable TV when there is nothing but trash and stupidity being shown on your screen? It’s a lot easier to follow Christ if we first disconnect ourselves from this wicked, evil world in which we live. Second, we can do as the apostle Paul did, which is to be full-time ambassadors for Jesus Christ. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself”, as Jesus taught us so well so long ago. It still applies today, and nothing regarding this essential commandment ever goes out of style.

now thatyou have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” There it is again, the holiness that leads to eternal life by being slaves to God instead of our old ways, which was slavery to sin. We can choose eternal death – and a disturbing number of people have chosen exactly that – or we can choose eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. People choose death because they would rather live freely and wantonly without taking any responsibility for themselves, or they can throw away their foolish pride and live for Christ instead of only for themselves. What it all boils down to is this: Is Jesus in charge of our lives or are we in charge? As the prophet Jeremiah wrote, “As for me and my household, we will worship the Lord.” What’s it going to be, people? Him or us? It’s up to you.

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