A major challenge in the body of Christ is acceptance of the Grace Doctrine. Humans have been programmed to work for things so they can claim credit for deserving them or can be justified in excluding others from them. Some assume that if Christians openly preach grace or promote liberty, people will take the faith for granted and go on a sinning spree. This could not be further from the truth.
Paul writes in the conclusion of Chapter 5 that, “But then Law came in, [only] to expand and increase the trespass [making it more apparent and exciting opposition]. But where sin increased and abounded, grace (God’s unmerited favor) has surpassed it and increased the more and superabounded…”
He then asks a rhetorical question in the first verse of chapter 6, “What shall we say [to all this]? Are we to remain in sin in order that God’s grace (favor and mercy) may multiply and overflow?” He answers, “Certainly not! How can we who died to sin live in it any longer? Are you ignorant of the fact that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?”
In essence what Paul is saying is that it is a conceptual impossibility for one to receive, embed and walk in grace and perpetuate sin! So the focus of Christianity should not be to regulate behaviour to prevent sin but to promote grace. The more a Christian is made aware of his new creation realities, the less sin consciousness he feels and the more Christ guards his heart. John supports this when he says in 1 John 5: 18, “We know [absolutely] that anyone born of God does not [deliberately and knowingly] practice committing sin, but the One Who was begotten of God carefully watches over and protects him [Christ’s divine presence within him preserves him against the evil], and the wicked one does not lay hold (get a grip) on him or touch [him].”
So the Christian community got it wrong with a regulatory and legalistic approach to sin. By focusing on legalism, they actually gave sin life and made men more conscious of sin, like Paul tries to explain in Romans Chapter 3.
If you see a life that is persistently taken over by sin, the problem is not liberty or lack of regulation. (Regulation can’t see the hidden desires of the heart nor can it take away the cloud of guilt legalism perpetuates.) What is required is instruction in the way of grace and a real personal acquaintance with the Saviour and knowledge of his words – a relationship. Look at verses 10 & 11 of Romans 6: “For by the death He (Jesus) died, He died to sin [ending His relation to it] once for all; and the life that He lives, He is living to God [in unbroken fellowship with Him]. Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus.”
The ultimate new creation reality is to refuse to be a slave to sin and to depend on grace to actively live for God. The energy to live right will come from grace and not fickle willpower. Paul sums it up in verses 14, 18 and 19:
“For sin shall not [any longer] exert dominion over you, since now you are not under Law [as slaves], but under grace [as subjects of God’s favor and mercy]. And having been set free from sin, you have become the servants of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in thought, purpose, and action). I am speaking in familiar human terms because of your natural limitations. For as you yielded your bodily members [and faculties] as servants to impurity and ever increasing lawlessness, so now yield your bodily members [and faculties] once for all as servants to righteousness (right being and doing) [which leads] to sanctification.”
If you currently struggle with sin, you are better than that and you are more than your sin. You are a beautiful, precious and noble child of God, washed by Jesus’ blood and empowered by his grace. You will beat it, with God’s help. My prayer for you is that as you spend time with God and his word everyday, your heart will be flooded by the light of truth and you will be set free from the condemnatory power of sin. Amen.
PS: If you’d like to learn about my personal God Walk, you should read this. To begin your own God Walk, simply say a short prayer now asking Jesus to walk with you and acknowledging him as your Saviour. Then, begin to read the Bible for yourself to become acquainted with God’s thoughts. (My Study Notes on my website may help.) Email me if you have questions or if you said the prayer.