What shall we say then? WWJD?
Romans 6 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin.
8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. 22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In today’s text it says: You are not under law but under grace. Many people have established their doctrine around the idea behind those words. They have taken out of context, even from the full sentence in which those words appear. They have taken it to mean that because of grace, sin does not matter. Everything is okay. Paul doesn’t say sin no longer matters. He says: Sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. In the same way, they have taken the words: He died to sin once for all, and twisted them as if it is sin that is dead. They believe and teach that because all sins were paid for on the cross by Christ, that sin is no longer relevant. Again that is not at all what is being said here. What it says is: Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. It is not sin that is dead. It is that we are dead to sin and alive to God.
Although we live in the age of grace, no longer subject to the law but alive in Christ, it is still true that: The wages of sin is death. Jesus Himself says: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17) Jesus did not eliminate the penalty for sin. He paid the price for it. He fulfilled the requirement of death for sin. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 says: O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. We are victorious over sin and death through Jesus Christ. If we live to sin, we no longer share in the victory. Instead: Our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says of Jesus, that He : knew no sin to be sin. Hebrews 4:15 says: For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
There are many today, both within and outside the church who say that the love and grace of God means that we are to accept sin. They say that Jesus associated with sinners and outcasts; that He did not judge or condemn and that is true. There is a question, four words, four letters, which they say should be our guide concerning our interaction with the world. WWJD, what would Jesus do? Certainly that is a good and valid question to ask. If we would do what Jesus did, we too would love the outcasts of society. We too would associate with and not judge or condemn sinners. If we would do what Jesus did, we too would live without sin in our temptations. We too would live, not as though the law were abolished, but rather as the fulfillment of it, as Jesus says in Matthew 5:17-20: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” If we would do what Jesus did, we would not ourselves live to sin, nor would we teach others to sin. If we would do what Jesus did, we would say to the one caught in sin: “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” (John 8:11) If we would do what Jesus did, we would say what Jesus said: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be!... What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! May it never be that we would not do what Jesus did and may it never be that we would continue to do what He never did.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit thank You for Your love and Your grace. That by grace You gave us victory over sin and death. We are free from sin. May I never presume on Your grace, living to sin or teaching others to sin. May I instead live in You, as the fulfillment of the law of righteousness. May all that I do be a reflection of what Jesus did. Amen.