The issue Paul is addressing in Romans 6 is our continual urge to sin. As long as we live in this age we will battle with the desires of our old nature. The big difference for those who are in Christ is grace. This grace is not as we see here in Romans 6 a license to sin and get away with it; a get out of jail free card, rather it is the power of God over sin. Grace is the only force that can render sin powerless. Without grace, man cannot overcome the urge to sin, they will give in to it, over and over again, no matter the consequence.
An acronym for GRACE is God's Riches At Christ Expense. We have the Holy Spirit the same source Christ had to live sin-free, in us, so, therefore, we can live sin-free. We have been crucified with Christ as it says in Galatians 2:20 and here in Romans 6:6, which means our sins are nailed to the cross, and just as Christ was raised from the dead, we have been raised to new life (Romans 6:7-9). No more excuses! We do not have to give in to sinful urges. It does not mean we won't be tempted, for Jesus Himself was tempted in all ways but did not sin (Hebrews 4:15). So the temptation is not what is wrong it is the act. So what do we do when we are tempted? 1 Corinthians 10:13 says God always gives us a way to escape. As long as we acknowledge God in every situation we will receive direction to do things His way (Pro. 3:5), and not fall into the trap of sin.
Romans 6:13 says do not let your bodies become instruments of sin but rather let them be instruments for His glory. Our lives are a song, they are either demonically influenced or heavenly inspired. When we surrender our lives into the hands of God we become His instrument to produce the songs of heaven that draw others towards Him. Nobody serves themselves, everyone serves somebody, so even when one thinks he is in control of his life, they are deceived for they are completely under the control of their sinful nature. We are either slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness. Someone is playing us, we are just mere instruments, a product of whoever is pulling the strings. I would rather have the person playing me be the one who makes the best music, where my life is an inspirational song rather than just the chaotic, disjointed noise of this world.
My prayer for each of you today is that you step into the grace of God and live under His power. All it takes is acknowledging Him and allowing Him to direct your life, then you become His instrument to play the music of heaven.
Sunday February 21st
You know it’s been over 50 years since Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon, but a lot of people still don’t know about the first woman astronaut to walk on the moon.
Here is the transcript of her talking to NASA after the lunar module had just landed:
"Houston, this is the lunar module - we have a problem."
Lunar module this is NASA. What is the nature of your problem?
Lunar module please repeat. What is the source of the problem?
Lunar module, if there is a problem you need to tell us.
Lunar module are you there?
"Houston, you should know what the problem is without me having to spell it out for you."
In Romans chapter 5 we aren’t going to talk about the first woman on the moon or the first man on the moon, but we are going to talk about the first man, Adam.
All of this will come in the context of a discussion about justification. Starting with the first two verses:
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we also have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we celebrate in hope of the glory of God.
Paul says “therefore” because the last word of Chapter 4 was “justification”. Justification is the process by which we are made holy and righteous – we are “justified” – not by anything we have done, but simply by what Jesus has done for us, by dying on a cross for the forgiveness of our sins.
And because of that justification we have two things, peace and hope. When we accept Jesus’ forgiveness, peace is established. We are no longer at war with God, no longer separated from God, and we now have access and are welcome to be in God’s presence.
And along with this peace we are given hope. Hope is the expectation and assurance of something not yet fully experienced. We know that this hope is guaranteed by the love of God that the Holy Spirit pours into our hearts. And this hope can carry us through the challenges and trials of life, so much so that rather than being frustrated by our trials, we celebrate them! What? Yes, that’s exactly what Paul says next:
3 And not only this, but we also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
When we have hope, we recognize that God is using our tribulations to teach us patience and perseverance, which builds godly character, which leads to even more hope.
Now look at what Paul identifies as our greatest source of hope:
6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
The nature of our hope is the tremendous love poured out by Jesus on the Cross. God acted to save us “at the right time,” in the moment of our deepest need, while we were “still helpless” and “still sinners”.
Why would someone do that? Why would anyone choose to die for helpless sinners, people who were literally God’s enemies? That incredible mystery is what Paul addresses next:
7 For one will hardly die for a righteous person; though perhaps for the good person someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
11 And not only this, but we also celebrate in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Never forget the powerful truth of these two simple words – Paul says that Christ died “for us” More specifically I want you to embrace the incredible reality that Jesus died “for you”! And by His death He achieved for us “reconciliation” by our broken relationship with God.
Our separation from God was erased by Jesus removing the cause of it (our sin and our guilt).
And in verse 9 Paul adds that we’ve actually received “much more” than just reconciliation. If God would do that “for us”, the work of reconciliation, at the cost of the suffering and death of His own Son, He surely won’t withhold anything else from us that we might need.
We’ll see this emphasized again later in Romans 8:32
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
Okay, so remember how I said this would all come back to the “first man” Adam? That connection starts with verse 12:
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all mankind, because all sinned— 13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not counted against anyone when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the violation committed by Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
Paul uses another “Therefore” just like he did at the beginning of the chapter. This indicates that what follows is connected in Paul’s mind with what has already been said regarding justification and reconciliation. Paul is now laying out a comparison between the “one man” Adam and the “one man” Jesus Christ.
In the case of Adam, the focus is on his “one sin” by which we all “were made sinners”. All of humanity had Adam as our representative before God, and that’s why his sin made us all sinners.
Keep in mind that Adam wasn’t meant to die. None of us were. Mankind was originally created to have eternal life.
Death is not a natural phenomenon, it is the direct result of sin.
Adam, the first man, was the divinely appointed representative of all of humanity, and his sin forfeited eternal life for all those he represented.
(Thanks a lot Adam!)
In the same way, Jesus, who was equal with God, became a man so that He could be the representative of a New Covenant with humanity so that His obedience would nullify or counteract Adam’s disobedience. And because of this we regain our eternal life through this thing called justification.
That’s what Paul addresses next:
15 But the gracious gift is not like the offense. For if by the offense of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many. 16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one offense, resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the gracious gift arose from many offenses, resulting in justification. 17 For if by the offense of the one, death reigned through the one, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
When Paul says that the free gift is not like the offense, he is pointing out the contrast and the significant difference between Jesus and Adam. Not only are the acts of these two men antithetical, or completely opposite in nature, but the grace of Christ is much greater than the sin of Adam in the way it brings new life to ruined souls.
It’s easy to cause death. It takes supernatural power to restore life! Jesus power beats the power of death!
18 So then, as through one offense the result was condemnation to all mankind, so also through one act of righteousness the result was justification of life to all mankind. 19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.
There is a parallel between Adam and Jesus in that condemnation (in Adam’s case) and justification (in Jesus’ case) are the direct results of their actions.
On the basis of the actions of “one person” “many people” are made either sinners or righteous. Adam is root of all sin, and we all sinned and fell when he sinned. In contrast, “by the one man’s obedience” those whom Christ represents are “made righteous”.
Adam ruined it for us all. Jesus fixed it for us all.
Keep in mind that Paul grew up as a Jewish man, under the Law of Moses, so he always wants to distinguish the role of the Law in God’s plan for reconciliation. And as Paul will point out over and over again, the Law has no power to justify or to forgive sin, it can only point out sin.
In fact, what he says next about the Law might really shock you:
20 The Law came in so that the offense would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, so also grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Did you see what he said there?
The Law came in so that the offense would increase!
Listen to this commentary:
The Law was given as an additional element in God’s dealings with His people, so “to increase the trespass.” While sin was in the world before the law was given, the law reveals sin in its specific character as trespass, lapsing from a set standard.
Let me explain this in a little more detail.
Stealing is wrong. Even if nobody ever tells me that stealing is wrong, it’s still wrong.
In our courtrooms there is a principle that says “ignorance of the law is no excuse”.
So I can’t escape the punishment for my crime by claiming that I didn’t know that bank robbery was against the law! (My bad)
But from a moral perspective, my guilt would be even greater if I knew that I was breaking the law and still did it deliberately.
That’s why God laid out the Ten Commandments and the Law of Moses. He wanted the people of Israel to understand that their behavior was clearly in violation of His standards, for their own good.
His goal was to increase their awareness of their sinfulness so that they would recognize their need for a savior and cry out in repentance.
That’s the biggest reason why the Pharisees had such a hard time with Jesus. They didn’t want to admit their own sinfulness.
So Jesus turned up the heat even more, saying that hatred is just as bad as murder, and lust is just as bad as adultery. The simple fact is, the sooner we accept the truth about our own sinful nature the better.
But here’s the good news. In the face of this increased awareness of sin, we see those wonderful words in verse 20 “grace abounded all the more”.
The grace of God is able to not only keep pace with the offenses of sin, but grace outdoes sin, overrules sin, erases sin by way of the great work of salvation accomplished through Jesus Christ.
Have you had enough of Sin? Ask for more grace!
Nobody wants to be alone, we all want friends, people that will accept us for who we are. Most of us can remember as insecure teenagers trying so hard to fit in with our peers. Often this need for acceptance transfers right into adulthood. Even as Christians we can be so different in thinking than other Christians that we feel on an island all alone. It would be easier to just agree with a mixed, diluted form of Christianity in order to remain in fellowship.
What often gets people to like us is how well we are at something. When I was great in High School football people liked me despite how different I was from them. Now as a preacher if I just speak what people want to hear I will be liked. The world is so much about performance that it is easy to develop a works mentality even regarding our relationship with God.
Here in Romans 4, we have an example of Abraham who was accepted by God simply because he believed in Him. It reminds me of the moment I saw Loraine and just knew she was the one for me and when I told her even though to many it would have been crazy, she accepted it. I had not yet proven to her my love, I had nothing to offer her, but yet she believed.
The Issue Paul is addressing throughout Romans is Works, the Jewish Leaders thought they were justified by God because of the Law. The truth is by grace we are saved through faith, it is a gift of God, not by works so that no one can boast (Eph. 2:8-9). Abraham is the ultimate example of this and Paul knew that the religious leaders he was addressing would have a hard time arguing against the father of their faith.
It says in verse 3 that “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him for righteousness.” So what had Abraham done? Nothing, the law had not yet even been established. He just believed! The question is, do we believe?
Nelson's Bible Dictionary defines faith as a belief in or confident attitude toward God, involving a commitment to his will for one's life. Nelson also says belief is to place one's trust in God's truth. A person who believes is one who takes God at his word and trusts in him for salvation.
To say I believe in God is easy to say but much more difficult to walk out. We must make sure that our belief in God is not just as far as it fits our will, but rather it is accepting His will no matter how we feel or think about it, we just believe.
One usually gets credit and therefore paid if they do their job right. Abraham was credited as righteous for doing nothing but believing. When one believes in God their sins are forgiven for they are believing that Jesus covered their sin by His sacrifice on the cross. Abraham was not even circumcised, as it says in verses 9-12, yet he was credited as righteous.
The Religious leaders looked down at the world as unholy, uncircumcised, sinners. Yet Paul was making it clear that being religious meant nothing if one has not been circumcised in heart by the Holy Spirit. It is only through Holy Spirit that one can be Holy. When we believe in God, Holy Spirit goes to work. It is not our works but God’s works through His Spirit that clothe us in His Righteousness.
Paul encourages his listeners not to follow in the footsteps of leaders who are works-oriented but to follow the example of Abraham who is the father of our faith. Works produce wrath because they can never live up, we always fall short and therefore feel condemned and reap what we sow, unrighteousness.
Our American culture is obsessed with stardom! We try so hard to find a talent that will cause others to idolize us. The sad thing is most stars eventually fall, it is so hard to maintain public approval, one wrong word or act the world so easily turns.
Abraham was told that his inheritance was like the stars in the sky, we who have faith in God are stars! Stars light up only because they are a reflection of the sun. We can not get credit for the light we are just a reflection of the Son, and if we forget, we quickly will fall.
As Proverbs 16:18 says “Pride goeth before destruction, haughtiness before the fall,” and as it says in Luke 14:11 “those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
The key to reflecting the Son is humility, as long as we remain humble we will continue to light up a dark world as God’s stars.