This is the outline from a teaching I gave on Sunday a few weeks ago (Aug 25th) on Romans 6. This is just an outline, not a full manuscript. But I added a few extra sentences to fill it out a little. I recommend reading Romans 6 first and then going through the outline with the passage open next it.
Romans 6 – Forgiven and Free:
Three motivations to keep battling our sin even though our sin has already been forgiven
First, some context. Romans 5 teaches us about justification through the cross of Christ and how “where sin increased, grace increased all the more” (5:21). Paul teaches that the gift of Christ is not like the trespass of Adam. The grace of God is not given to us in an even trade. God does not give us an “amount” of grace equal to the amount of sin we committed; he gives us all that and more. He gives us an abundance of grace (5:17, 21).
But then, this raises the question of what motivation we have to stop sinning if we are already forgiven in Christ. Paul approaches that question through three other questions and presents us with three motivations to keep battling our sin even though our sin has already been forgiven.
Question 1: “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” (v. 1)
Why should we stop sinning? If God gives us so much grace, why does it matter if we sin or not? Doesn’t it make sense to just keep on sinning so we can keep getting more grace?
Motivation 1: We died to sin (v. 1-14).
A. Sin no longer has power over us (v. 2-4).
1. This is the opposite of saying to somebody, “You’re dead to me!” which is a graphic image of disowning somebody; it basically means “As far as I’m concerned, you don’t exist!” Paul is saying the opposite about us and sin. We are dead to sin. As far as sin is concerned, we don’t exist. Sin can’t touch us anymore; sin has no power over us anymore.
2. All of us died to sin, not just certain Christians (v. 3).
3. We died to sin with Christ so that we may live a new life (v. 4).
B. Christ didn’t just die to forgive you of your sins; he died to set you free from your sins. Eph. 1:19-20 (v. 5-10).
1. Our death to sin already happened (v. 5-6).
2. Our new life with Jesus is certain (v. 8).
3. Death no longer has mastery over Christ, and therefore sin no longer has mastery over us. In his death and resurrection, Christ is both our example and our deliverer (v. 9-10).
C. Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God (v. 11-14)
1. This does not mean we will be perfect in this life or that battling sin is easy. We still need to actively combat sin and remind ourselves that we are dead to it. 1 John 1:10; 1 Cor. 9:24-27.
2. The reminder itself is powerful in fighting temptation. “I am dead to sin. I have don’t have to sin anymore.”
3. “Mortal body.” Don’t give up on fighting sin just because you are weak or just because your life is short; rather, offer the parts of your body to God as instruments of righteousness (v. 12-13).
4. This is indicative; it describes something that is already true. Sin is not our master because we are not under law but under grace. (v. 14)
Question 2: “Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?” (v. 15)
Isn’t grace freedom from the law, and if grace is freedom, shouldn’t we feel free to do whatever we want?
Motivation 2: We have become slaves to righteousness (v. 15-20).
A. Although we are free from sin, we are still slaves, but now we are slaves to God and righteousness instead of to sin (v. 15-16).
1. This is part of what it means to become a Christian. When we gave our lives to Christ, we gave ourselves over to him as slaves (v. 16).
2. Since we are slaves, we need to obey our new master (v. 16).
B. Be thankful to God! Rejoice that you are slaves to him instead of sin (v. 17-18).
1. You don’t have to sin anymore. You can have real, substantial, life-changing, liberating victories over your sin. Let this encourage you in your struggle with any besetting sins. Praise God!
2. “Wholeheartedly.” The Christian life is not just about external actions or going through the motions; it is about a change of heart that results in other changes. When we became Christians, God changed our hearts. Ezekiel 36:26. Praise God!
3. Slavery is only a metaphor (v. 19). That doesn’t make it any less true, but we need other metaphors to get the full picture of our relationship to God (e.g. sheep, children of God, brothers and sisters of Christ, bride of Christ).
4. Sanctification is a process. “Righteousness leading to holiness” (v. 19).
5. Before we were in Christ, we were slaves to sin. We had no power over sin and could not please God. Romans 3. (v. 20).
Question 3: “What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of?” (v. 21)
Is there any benefit from sinning?
Motivation 3: We gain nothing from sin except death but from God we gain eternal life (v. 21-23).
A. There is no benefit. Sin results in death! (v. 21)
1. Mouse trap analogy. There may seem to be benefits. Sin tastes good like cheese in a mouse trap, but it will kill you in the end; sin will always get you. (Ps. 73; Prov. 1:20-33; Prov. 16:25; Prov. 9:17-18).
2. When you are tempted to sin, remind yourself: Those things result in death!
B. The benefit from God is eternal life (v. 22-23).
1. When you are tempted to sin, remind yourself not just that sin leads to death but that slavery to God leads to life.
2. For the Christian, we don’t have to fear God’s wrath and punishment, but we may still suffer God’s loving discipline and the consequences of our sin here in this life.
3. For the non-Christian, the situation is much worse. If you are not in Christ, you are a slave to sin, and your sin will bring you nothing but death. Worse than that, your sin will bring God’s wrath upon you for an eternity. But if you repent of your sin and offer yourself as a slave to Christ, the gift is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.