The book of Romans is a book that is full of the theology of the gospel. Throughout the book, we see a discussion about what the gospel is and its implications for our life. We know that the gospel is the truth that through the perfect life, painful sacrifice, and glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can have our sins forgiven and a reconciled relationship with God. This is great news! But the great news is not just that we are saved from our sin, but that because of the gospel, our entire life is now transformed into the image of Christ.
A common question that could arise when thinking about the gospel is: “Since I have been saved and my status before God is not based on my works but on Christ’s work, does that mean I get to do whatever I want? Afterall, I’m saved by grace and any sin I will commit is covered by grace.” Apparently, this was a struggle in the church in Rome, because Paul addresses this in chapter 6.
Verses 1 & 2 set the tone for the rest of the chapter: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” There are a few things to notice from this chapter.
- We don’t desire sin because we have been given a new life. (v. 3-4) When God saves someone, that person is a given a new heart and a new life. This new life is one that is not marked by desires for sin, but desires for Christ.
- We don’t desire sin because we are united with Christ. (v. 5-11) When God saves someone and that person is given a new life, their identity is now placed in Christ instead of in sin. Because of this unity, we begin to take on the character of Christ, who was sinless.
- We don’t desire sin because we are not enslaved to sin, but to Christ. (v. 12-23) Before we knew Christ, sin was natural for us. But when Christ comes into your life, that slavery is broken and our desires begin to change.
Because Jesus has given us a new life, we are united with him in our identity, and he has freed us from the bondage of sin, we no longer desire to pursue sin because that desire has been replaced by a desire for Christ. This doesn’t mean we never sin, but that when we sin, we would rather repent and turn to Christ than to keep pursuing that sin. So, the mark of the true believer in Christ is a growing desire and treasuring of Christ instead of sin.
By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Apprentice