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Read Introduction to Romans

 

1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?

 

Chapter six begins a major section of Romans (6-8). This part of Romans deals with how to live the Christian life with sanctification. Chapter six demonstrates how to live the Christian life, chapter seven portrays what depending on self does to that life, and chapter eight shows the power of the Holy Spirit in Christian living.

We can break chapter six into two main sections:

Christians died to sin and are alive to God, vv. 1-14

Christians are liberated from enslavement to sin, vv. 15-23

Paul opened chapter six with a number of questions that require thought for a serious Christian. These questions arise out of the end of chapter five, which deals with the climax of God’s super-abundant grace. Most people cannot get their minds around a God who gives super-grace. The implications are staggering.

Ro 5: 20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more . . .

The abounding nature of sin does not daunt God’s grace. He has more than enough to overcome any sin, yet there is something else to consider.

Chapter six is not dealing with the kind of life a believer should live but with how he should live it or by what method he should live. New life and continuance in sin is inconsistent.

1 What shall we say then?

This is a rhetorical question. The “then” here harks back to the end of the previous chapter that has to do with how God deals with man in super-abundant grace no matter to what degree man may sin. No matter what expanse sin may have, God’s grace abounds “much more.”

Ro 5: 20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more . . .

Paul knew some people would try to distort super-grace toward their own ends, so he drew a false implication that some might take from God’s grace. True grace does not allow for ongoing violation of God’s standards.

Shall we continue [abide] in [the] sin

The word “sin” in the singular here refers to the sin capacity, not to individual acts of sin. The definite article “the” before the word “sin” in the Greek is a reference to chapter five, to sin reigning as king (5:21). This is personification of the sin capacity as a dominant, reigning king. Note the usage of sin in the singular in chapter six: vv. 1, 2, 6, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 20, 22, 23.

The word “continue” emphasizes persistence. This is an intense word conveying the idea of persistent fellowship with something. The issue is whether the principle of grace necessarily implies sinning more to increase grace more.

that grace may abound?

The idea of God’s super-grace has serious implications about how to live the Christian life. Does the Christian life depend on us and a legalistic approach to spirituality, or is it contingent on God’s provisions? The question is even more precise—should we sin more so that God’s grace can increase more or even “abound”? In other words, according to some, we should sin more to magnify the greatness of God’s grace.

The idea in the question is whether we should sin carelessly to manifest God’s grace. That is, if God’s grace is more greatly demonstrated the more we sin, should we then sin more to experience more grace?

PRINCIPLE:

Legalism is not the remedy for libertinism.

APPLICATION:

Intentional misunderstanding of the marvelous doctrine of God’s super-grace as libertinism is an intentional distortion of the grace principle. Our new man motivates us to a godly life.

God saves believers “in Christ” and not those in Adam. Those “in Christ” have a new capacity (“new man”). He does this by giving Christ a new position or status before Him. Adam’s posterity no longer reigns in us, but we hold status in Christ. That status produces a new way of life.

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