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Have you ever had a “make-over”? You can have a cosmetic “make-over” for your house, your yard, your face!
The best news: If you are a Christian, in God’s sight you have had an eternal, forever “make-over”. There is a “Before/After” for you. Before what? Before you came to know Christ as Savior = you were a “slave of sin” (Romans 6:16). Now, because of your spiritual rebirth (John 3:16) your after = “a slave to righteousness” (Romans 6:18).
Let’s review the Original outline of Romans.
I. Salutation - Romans 1:1-17. Paul’s testimony, introduction of the theme= gospel.
II. Sin - Romans 1:18-3:20. Paul establishes that all people, everyone, has fallen short of the God’s holy standards. We’re all under the penalty of sin=death, separation from God= bad news. Yet we are not without hope.
III. Salvation - Romans 3:21-5:21. God has provided a way for man to be redeemed-through faith, not works, in Messiah Jesus Christ. His death on the cross became our atonement, our perfect offering to God, our covering, the payment for our sin. Through His resurrection we are assured of our eternal life with God.
IV. Sanctification - Romans 6-8. This section will have the greatest meaning for us as believers. Now that we are saved, how do we live the Christian life? The new way that pleases God? Irving Jensen says:
A. Chapter 6 = Principles, key word = surrender
B. Chapter 7 = Practice, key word = self
C. Chapter 8 = Power, key word = Spirit
Outline of Romans 6:
I. Know that you are dead to sin and alive to God Romans 6:1-10
A. Baptism Romans 6:1-5
B. Crucifixion Romans 6:6
C. Slavery Romans 6:7-10
II. Reckon that truth to be personally Real Romans 6:11
III. Yield yourself to God’s control Romans 6:12-23
A. How we are to yield Romans 6:12-13
B. Why we are to yield Romans 6:14-23
A. Question. Romans 6:1 is rooted back in Romans 5:20 - “You’ve just said God’s grace is so great, forgiveness is for every sin, so if we sin more, more grace grows” Yes. “Grace is the most wonderful gift in the world” Yes. “OK, if that is true, let’s keep on sinning so grace can keep on growing” READ Romans 6:2 - NO. The first step in living as a Christian is knowing we are Dead to sin. Ie. We’re like businesses, restaurants, that put up new signs, “under new management”. Through faith we have passed from the old management (sin) to a whole new management headed by Christ. The sin nature we inherited from Adam that once ruled our lives, no longer has complete authority, no managerial power to keep making the directives of our lives. The new management brings new power to live a new way. It would be to Paul unthinkable for a Christian under new management to live as if sin is still in control.
Truth = Dead to sin but alive to God (6:11).
B. Three pictures that convey this Truth.
1. Baptism - Romans 6:3-5. Spiritual baptism. At conversion, when the Holy Spirit regenerates us He positions us “in Christ” We are identified with Christ. Water baptism is symbolic of this spiritual act. We need to know that when Christ died, we died with Him, when He was buried, we were buried, when He was raised, we too were raised to newness of life with Him. As far as God is concerned identifying with Christ resulted in our dying to the sin nature within us and living to the resurrected life of Christ (Romans 6:5).
2. Crucifixion - Romans 6:6. Sin is crucified, powerless, inoperative, no longer powerful, ineffective.
3. Slavery - Romans 6:7-10. Christians do not have to serve sin ever again. Instead this new life is empowered by God for the overcoming of sin in every aspect of our lives.
Truth = The Cross delivers us from Sin and gives the Power to live.
We are freed from sin (Romans 6:7) through our union with Christ. But you may say “I don’t feel freed from sin, I look at my life, I still have bad habits, thoughts. I’m still angry at my spouse, with my in-laws, I can’t control my eating. How can you say I’m delivered?
Truth = God’s truths are not dependent on our feelings, emotions.
Whether you feel like your sin nature has been made powerless or not, God’s Word says it has. We’ll see in Romans 7 what causes us to continue to sin but in God’s sight our sin nature has been crucified with Christ. The critical truth we need to understand is that
We don’t have to keep on living defeated or discouraged because of sin, we now have the power of the Holy Spirit to live alive to God and dead to sin.
The word “reckon”= count, consider, regard, think, look upon. It’s the same word used in Genesis 15:6 when God reckoned Abraham righteous. In this context, reckoning goes one step further than knowing. As Christians we need to continually take into account, in our thinking, that sin is no longer our master, but Christ is. We need to know the facts stated in Romans 6:1-10. Count them as true and act accordingly. When sin tempts us, we should act as though we were indeed dead to it, giving absolutely no response to the temptation. But when God speaks we should act as though we are very much alive, giving instant, absolute obedience (Abraham). Reckoning is a matter of faith that issues in action. It’s like endorsing a check if we know that there is money in the account, we will sign our name and collect the money. Reckoning is not claiming a promise but acting on a fact. God does not command us to be dead to sin- He tells us we are dead to sin and alive to God and then expects us to act upon that fact. Listen, even if we don’t act that way, the potential of that fact is true.
Truth = Reckoning sin dead in our lives is the beginning of experiencing God’s power to make sin dead and Christ’s life within me REAL.
When I count myself dead to: worry, anger, losing my temper, demanding perfection in my children, overeating, recreational drugs or misuse of prescription drugs, excessive drinking, breaking the law, smoking, gossiping, criticism of friends or family, flirting with a wrong relationship, stealing, little white lies, self-pity…then I will choose not to let that sin be part of my life.
Ie. Maybe you have someone in your family who likes to control, you and everyone else. A situation comes up and they exert their power, they want their way totally insensitive to others. You are tempted to be angry, and resent them. That’s when you can say to yourself: I’m dead to responding that way, I choose instead to exchange bitterness for Christ’s attitude. I can handle this another way. Oh confrontation may be necessary and boundaries may need to be set, but not done in anger or frustration.
Application: What sin are you going to reckon dead today? Do you have a habit, attitude you’d like to see changed? Name it. Tell God you know it’s wrong, you know that according to the Word of God that sin has been made inoperative, it is powerless to control you anymore because of the Cross. Consider, count it dead from today on, it has no power to rule your life. Trusting not on your feelings but on faith that He will help you and make this real. Paul’s first instruction (Know) focuses on our Mind. His second instruction (reckon) focuses on our Hearts. His third instruction (Yield) focuses on our Will.
READ a modern translation like the Living Bible or The Message. Yielding = giving up the right of way. Up to now Paul has been talking about what we must THINK, internalize. Now he tells us what we must Do to put this truth into practice. Surrender our bodies to Jesus.
First, he gives a negative = Romans 6:12 DO NOT LET SIN REIGN then Romans 6:13 DO NOT YIELD, do not go on presenting, offering yourself to sin. This passage assumes we can quit sinning and calls on us to do that. When we sin, the responsibility is put on our doorstep. No one caused us to do wrong except ourselves. James 1:13-15. In practical terms; don’t put yourself in a position, a situation, a place where you know you’re going to fail. Ie. If you deal with lust, a wrong desire for the wrong person, don’t go to movies that have sex, nudity and approve of extramarital affairs. Don’t present your eyes to see that. If you deal with gossip, you find yourself talking about others and very easily slip from just the facts to judging their motives, behavior, dress or Christian walk, then don’t let yourself bring up other people’s names, don’t present your ears to hear, stop information before it gets to gossip. Don’t present your tongue to spread gossip to others. If you battle with dieting and are tempted to overeat, don’t bring certain foods into your house, avoid the “all you can eat” buffets, don’t present your body to be tempted. If you’re trying to give up smoking, don’t buy cigarettes, don’t hide them in the bottom drawer just in case.
Truth= you will never be dead to the temptation to sin, it’s always there.
Ie I used to smoke but gave it up. Occasionally I smell it and it smells really good (to me) and I want a cigarette. But I know that it’s not good for me, linked with cancer, I need to take care of myself. So I don’t buy them, avoid being around smokers, don’t put myself in a place to be tempted. I don’t have any control over someone else but according to this passage I can choose to do certain things that will result in my victory over smoking.
This passage says we can stop yielding, we can stop giving in to what is incompatible with our new life in Christ.
Second step is positive = Romans 6:13b. Present, offer, yield yourselves to God. Start living in a way that shows to yourself and others your right standing with God. Be Christ-like in what you say, think and do. And as you denied yourself those things, places, people that would cause you to stumble, now put yourself in places that will build you up, be around people that will encourage your faith. Because the best defense is a good offense, protect yourself by NOT doing certain things.
You might ask: why is God so interested in our bodies anyway? I Corinthians 6:19-20 reminds us our bodies are the temple of God and He wants to use them for His glory. He wants to use you to build His Kingdom. The Bible gives numerous examples of people who have permitted God to use their bodies to fulfill His purposes. God used Moses’ hands to hold a rod and deliver His people from bondage in Egypt. He used Paul’s feet to travel across Europe from city to city, and his mouth to proclaim the good news of the gospel. He used John’s eyes to see visions of the future, his ears to hear God’s message, his fingers to write the various books he penned. God wants to use our bodies in the same way- to minister, to love, to teach, all to accomplish His will and purpose on earth. Psalms 24:4 to be right before God, to be used of Him, to have “clean hands, pure heart.”
1. Favor - Romans 6:14,15. It’s because of God’s grace that we yield ourselves to Him. How foolish to think that being saved by God’s grace could be a reason for living as if we had not been saved at all! Remembering that we have a new master who is holy and righteous and expects us to live in a way that reflects His character gives us the reason to live a new life. Love for Him gives us the motivation. God did not save us so that we could continue sinning. As believers we come to know that continuing victory over sin DOES NOT DEPEND on our own efforts but on the abundant supply of God’s grace, his favor toward us, His power in us, that He says is sufficient for all our needs.
2. Freedom - Romans 6:16-20. Paul uses the illustration of master and slave. It’s obvious that whatever you yield to becomes your master. The basic truth is: ultimately there are only 2 masters = we can choose to obey sin or the Lord. When we yield (surrender, give in) to our sin nature, we are not simply sinning but we are developing sinful habits (Romans 6:16) When we obey sin we get enslaved to a lifestyle that leads to death. Death not a loss of our salvation but alienation from God. We lose our fellowship with Him. We lost our joy, peace, spiritual growth, our clear conscience. It leads to more sin unless we turn to God in genuine repentance, confess, then He forgives and restores and helps. If we choose to obey God, submit to Him, develop habits of holiness, those will lead to purity in our lives. Paul speaks of our PAST condition (Romans 6:17) We used to be slaves to sin, but now we that we have obeyed and trusted Christ we are free from sin and bound to righteousness. An unsaved person is free from righteousness (Romans 6:20) Slavery to sin makes it harder and harder to do right.
Ie Example of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-24).
When the son was at home he wanted his freedom, so he left home to find himself, to be free. But his rebellion only led him into deeper slavery. He was a slave of wrong desires, wrong deeds and literally became a slave who took care of pigs. He wanted to find himself and he lost himself in the process. What he thought was freedom turned out to be slavery. It was only when he came home and yielded to his father that he found true freedom and love.
QUESTION: If we are freed from sin, no longer slaves to unrighteousness, why do we keep on sinning?
Why does Paul have to tell us (Romans 6:19) present, offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness?
a. We still have our old sin nature, it has been rendered inoperative by the cross but it is still there as long as we are alive on planet earth. It no longer has authority over us in that we can overcome but its potential is there until we are with the Lord
b. We still have free will. Our salvation from sin has given us the freedom and desire to live righteously but we are not forced to do so. We make choices. We can choose to obey sin when it tempts us or reckon it dead and refuse to respond. Every day we come to forks in the road. One path is labeled RIGHT and the other WRONG. The Lord calls us to make the right choice and through the power of the Holy Spirit He enables us to carry through with that decision. However we have to first choose right.
3. Fruit - Romans 6:21-23
If you work for someone you can expect wages. Sin pays wages=death. God also pays=holiness, eternal life. In the old life, we produced fruit that made us ashamed, guilty, or happy for a short time until that guilty feeling came. In the new life, we produce fruit that glorifies God, gives purpose to our lives and causes lasting joy.
Truth = It’s possible to be free and still live like a slave.
Believers can realize intellectually that sin is no longer their master, they can know this truth and yet fail to reckon or consider it true in reality. Maybe that’s you. You know you need to change. Name that sin. Consider today that God has freed you from it and given you the power to overcome. Pray and commit to begin developing new, right habit, attitudes, behaviors. Trust God to help you.
Truth = It’s possible to be a slave and think you are free.
This is only true for those who have not trusted in Christ. You are not free until you come under new management, until you have changed masters. This chapter of knowing, reckoning, yielding applies to Christ-followers. God calls us to Himself first. “Now is the day of salvation”. Is God calling you?
God wants us all to have His “make-over” whether it’s to receive Him as Savior and Lord or as a believer to live free.