Sin is still bad
Good Morning, please go ahead and turn in your Bibles to Romans chapter 6. If you do not have a Bible, we should have one left in the back table and will be getting more soon and we would love them to be our gift to you.
As we continue in Paul’s letter to the churches in Rome, are in the middle of a section of the letter dealing with sin. Last week we saw how through one man, Adam, sin entered the World and humanity. We also saw that through one man, God Jesus, sin was conquered and the death that came from sin was defeated. From that, we are all either in Adam, and therefore in Sin, or we are in Christ and therefore, in eternal life. Adam brought sin and death, and Christ brought life and forgiveness.
Before we jump into our section in Romans 6, I want to set the stage with the last two verses we looked at last week in Romans 5, verses 20-21. In those verses, Paul wrote:
Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now, as we finished up with last week, what is Paul’s point here? His point is that Jesus is greater than Adam. His point is that Jesus act of obedience is greater than Adams act of disobedience. His point is that The result of Jesus and his act, are far greater and trump the results of Adam and his act.
But Paul knew that one of his comments was going to bring misunderstanding, leading wither to mocking or to wrong application. Paul knows people. Especially the people who will be reading his letters and hearing his claims. He knows his audience. He has been doing this for awhile. I think I referenced this a few weeks ago, but the common assumption of biblical scholars is that this letter was written about 20 years after Paul’s conversion and therefore, likely about 15 years after the start of his ministry of spreading the Gospel.
And in that, he has heard the misunderstandings, the arguments, the hardened hearts, the closed ears of those around him and those whom he is talking to. So, when he said what he did in Chapter 5, verse 20, he knew what misunderstanding was coming next. He starts off this section by addressing that.
Lets go ahead and jump into todays text. Ill be reading Romans chapter 6, verses 1-14, and Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self[a] was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free[b] from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
The misunderstanding that Paul starts by addressing is that our sin longer matters and that we can continue to sin with no negative consequences because Gods grace is greater than sin and the more sin that exists, the more sin that Gods grace needs to cover and counter act, the more glory God will end up receiving. Similar to what Paul briefly addressed in Romans 3 as well.
Paul’s immediate response, aside from, “Of Course Not!” is that if we are justified, as we have looked at over the past couple of weeks, if we are in Christ, if we are new creations, if we have been changed by the Holy Spirit, if we are saved, then we are dead to sin. And If we are dead to sin, how can sin continue to live in us? If we are in Christ, we our bondage to sin is broken. We are no longer slaves to sin. Paul is going to say later in this chapter that we have now become instead, slaves of righteousness.
And so, with our changed hearts and changed spirits, we desire to serve God. 1 John 5:3 reads, For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” When we are in Christ, we have a desire to keep his commands, to do what he says and to present ourselves as pleasing to him.
We have been united with Christ. As Christ died and rose again physically, to pay the wages of sin and defeat death, we are baptized with him, which is another way of saying we are in him, or brought into union with him. But as he died and rose physically, we die to sin and rise again spiritually, living an eternal life with Him. Paul is also referencing what things will look like after this world is burned away and we will be in our heavenly bodies. He goes into greater detail n this in 1 Corinthians 15, which we will not be getting into today, but I recommend you reading this week, as it adds depth and fullness to parts of what Paul is saying here.
We were brought into Christ so that we would become like Christ. Paul writes a few chapters after this, Romans 8, starting in verse 28, And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[h] for those who are called according to his purpose. And that good, but Paul follows up with verse 29, saying, For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
We are born again, we are justified in order to be glorified and we are glorified when are like Jesus Christ. Now, it may not always feel like, which we will touch on next, but, we also need to remember and be encouraged that Paul writes in Philippians 1:6, And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. We will be conformed to the Image of the Son, Jesus Christ.
That process starts in an instant, when we are brought into Christ. If you continue in Romans 8, onto verse 30, it talks of us being glorified in present tense, because thats how sure this will be. The process is started and it will be completed.
Because the process is started, and we are no longer enslaved to sin. We have died to sin, and if we are dead with Christ, then we will also be alive with him as well. Christ defeated death. He came back, physically, to be alive again. He cant and wont die again. He has eternal life. If we are in Him, with Him, we too will, after we physically die, have eternal life with him. We will be given our new, heavenly bodies and we cant and wont die again. We will be glorified and live forever in the image of him and with him.
And with that, because we, as Christians, starting the moment we become Christians we are now becoming Christ-like, our lives are now not our own. We belong to Christ and we are to do what Christ has called us too. And he has called us to get the sin out of our lives. 2 Examples of this.
First, 1 Peter 1:15&16, Peter writes, as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” Jesus said similarly and first, in Matthew 5:48, You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
We are called to God’s Holy Standard. Paul says that we are not to let sin reign in us. One time sins, actions or thoughts that happen in the Heat of the moment, these things will happen and we need to work on limiting them as much as possible. The author if Hebrews writes in chapter 12, verses 1 & 2, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,
The picture that comes to my mind is that we, when we are walking with Christ, we are on a path in the woods. As long as we stay on the path, as long as we stay in focused on Christ, there is not much to worry about. But, if we take our focus off of him, even for a moment. If we step off the path into the weeds and trees, and brush, its easy to get tripped up, to stumble, to fall, to sin. That’s going to happen. That’s not permission, that’s not enabling, unfortunately, its fact.
But what the author of Hebrews is saying is that we don’t let ourselves get tangled up in that sin. We don’t let ourselves fall down and stay down. A vine wraps itself around our foot, we don’t just sit down and stay there. We repent, refocus on Jesus and we break the vine and we continue walking.
In addition to our call to come as close as we can to Gods Holy Standard, there is another reason why we cant let this occasional, one time sin be permitted or be allowed to sit and fester without snuffing it out. We need to repent because if we don’t, sin will creep back in and it will grow. Sin is very much like a weed. If you do not pull it our by its root, it will continue to come back forever and ever. Remember what God told Cain in Genesis 4, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to[c] you, but you must rule over it.”
Specific, habitual sin very much becomes like an addiction. The best example I’ve heard explaining this is like sugar. Sugar is addictive. When you have had it a lot, you keep wanting it. Often, when you have had it a lot, you don’t realize how much you want it or that you are having so much of it. Then, you are able to stop having it for awhile. And its hard at first, you realize that you want it, crave it even. But after a while it gets easier and easier. One day, you slip and have some. Now those cravings are back, and if you are not careful, its easy to slip back into old habits and let sugar consume you. That’s sin.
And here is one of the problems. We like our sins. They feel good and they make us comfortable. We don’t particularly want to stop our sins. And since we wont do it ourselves, it takes the Holy Spirit changing us, convicting us, enabling us to repent, to repent of the fleshly desires that we have grown accustomed to and that we have come to rely on. And we do, we rely on our sins and the feelings they give us when things get tough, when things are stressful, when we are bored, when we are sinned against, when we are attacked by the enemy, and when we are convicted of the sin we are already committing.
But while we are just fine to stay in our own sins and to try to keep them in our back pocket, we sure are quick to point out in others those sins and how they need to stop what they are doing. Others sins are what make us uncomfortable. When we see people struggling with sins we don’t understand, or that we don’t struggle with, we see them as weak, or lazy, or not really saved, or whatever. And yet, its our own sins that we try to justify and continue to allow.
But as we grow in Christ, as we continue to walk with him, that sin will be rooted out and we will see progress in resisting the temptation of sin. The promises that sin makes are lies. The fulfillment of those promises are, at best, temporary, or cover ups. They are nothing compared to the total and eternal fulfillment that we have in Christ. As we grow more and more like Jesus, we see more and more what that ultimate fulfillment looks and feels like.
This process is called Sanctification. Wayne Grudem simply defies Sanctification as: A progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and like Christ in our actual lives.
Sanctification is incredibly practical because it is how we live everyday. You can look back at your Christian walk and you can see the growth, see the sanctification as it happens over time. It ahs a definite beginning, and end, and it very active in between. It begins the moment we are regenerated, the moment the Holy Spirit takes hold of us and changes us into the new creations that we are now. It ends at physical death. By saying it ends, what we mean is that it is instantly compete then. When we stand before him at the end, Paul writes in Philippians 3:21, Jesus will, transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
That’s when our journey ends. Between the beginning and the end, we live a life of continual sanctification. Not a straight line upwards. Not completed so that we are sinless or perfect in this life. But like the stock market. Constantly going up, with some dips, some dips bigger and more of a drop off than others, some dips take longer to recover from than others. But despite those dips, our sanctification is always moving upwards towards being conformed to the image of Christ.
Take heed and be encouraged, as I said earlier, I say to you again, that that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. I cant say it any better than Paul himself, Im not that creative, and trust me, that s a good quality in a Pastor, let the Bible say it best, but Paul says here, the end of the passage we are looking at; Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
We are free from the chains of sin. Do not pick those chains back up and wrap your self in them. We will trip over the chain occasionally, but it no longer binds us. It does not have dominion over us. It is not our master, but we have one master, our LORD and savior Jesus Christ. Our forgiveness, our regeneration, our justification, our active sanctification, and our future glorification, have all been already given or promised to us by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, to the Glory of God alone and revealed to us in one way, through the scriptures alone.
And we are his alone. Our lives belong to him and to nothing else. One of the things that I have not focused on, or made entirely clear yet today, needs to be said. Yes, we are dead to sin and alive in Christ. Yes, we will stumble and we will still sin in this life. We will not be able to always resist temptation because we are comfortable with them. But, when we become knew creations, when the Holy Spirit changes us, not only is sin rooted out and eliminated but our desires change too. We have a continually growing desire to please God and to do his will and to eliminate those sins that grieve him so. Charles Spurgeon says this:
“The believer, if spiritually buried with Christ, is dead to the desire of any such power. “What!” say you, “do not godly men have sinful desires?” Alas, they do. The old nature that is in them lusteth towards sin; but the true man, the real ego, desires to be purged of every speck or trace of evil.”
That’s one of the great signs, one of the ways we can have some assurance, that we hate the sin that we used to love. That we hate the sin that we commit. That we hate the sin and we turn from it, repent of it and turn straight into the arms of the God that loves us. How much does he love us? God loves us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Now, this is the first Sunday of the month. We are going to celebrate communion this morning. Jesus not only knew ahead of time, the trinity planned before the creation of the World that this sacrifice, his death, this act of perfect love would be required and how it would take place, but Jesus told his disciples that it was about to happen and instituted this sacrament as a remembrance of it.
We remember the sacrifice, the blood shed. We remember what that means to us, as those who have turned to follow Jesus Christ. It means that we have been declared righteous in his sight and we get to spend eternity with Jesus Christ and God the Father.
We often take this time somberly and soberly, because of what it cost Jesus, what he had to go through. We celebrate because Jesus is alive and we get to partake in eternal life with him if we chose to follow him.
Now, Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 11 some things about partaking in communion. First of all, this is for those that have made a commitment to Jesus. This is a celebration and remembrance for what he won, what he purchased when he paid the penalty for our sins and rose from the grave. If you have not made that commitment, out of respect, please pass the plate.
Paul also makes it clear that we need to be in the right state of mind, that we need to be honest with ourselves and with God and about our sins.
I greatly encourage you, as we are passing out the items for communion, take that time to talk to God. Make sure you are examining yourself and you are taking it for the right reasons. Again, please do not be afraid to pass the plate along. There will be no glances, no judgments. Whats important is for each of us to make sure that we are in right standing with God.
Paul gives us a picture of Communion in 1 Corinthians chapter 11. In verses 23-25 he writes:
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for[f] you. Do this in remembrance of me.”[g] 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
So, what we are going to do here, is Mike and Jim are going to come up here. One will pray for the crackers, which symbolize the broken body of Jesus on the cross. They will pass them out and when we are finished we will take the cracker together as a church family.