“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” – Romans 6:23

 

Are you struggling with sin? It doesn’t have to be that way. The person who trusts in Jesus as Savior is a new creation, their old sinful life record is wiped clean (2 Corinthians 5:17). Jesus paid our debt for sin on the cross. Jesus offers us His righteousness in exchange for our sins. All of this is offered to us freely by God’s grace. All we need to do is receive by faith what God offers (2 Corinthians 5:21). But that’s not all. There’s more, much more. Once we are saved from sin and its penalty, there is a new life to be lived out. God provides grace to be forgiven our past, but also grace to live a victorious future. God has a solution for those struggling with sin.

Sin causes death wherever it is found. Every hurtful, destructive, painful, broken part of this world is because of sin. Sin will destroy and damn you if you leave it in your life. Through Christ sin can be forgiven, our slate wiped clean, our sinful criminal record stamped “Paid in full.”. But what happens after that decision for Christ is made? The Christian still battles temptation. In this life we must contend with sin. That is true before salvation and after salvation. But there is a big difference. Before salvation sin dominates us. After we receive Jesus as Savior, sin is still around, but its hold on us, its tyrannical enslavement, is broken.

You might read that and think, “Well, I am still struggling with sin, even as a Christian! I still have sinful habits and I fall into sin regularly. In many ways, I still feel enslaved to sin. What’s with that?” Many Christians continue to sin in their new life in Christ because they are ignorant of the tools God provides for their battle against sin. God’s word has the solution to our sin problems. In Romans 1-3 we see that all humanity is lost and enslaved in sin. In Romans 4-5 we see God’s provision through faith in Christ to be forgiven our sins. In Romans 6-8 we are given the glorious truth that the chains of sin that shackle us can be broken. It is in Romans 6 that we are shown how the tyrant of sin can be subdued. If you’re struggling with a particular sin or sin in general, victory is just a few words away. If you want to overcome sin, read on.

The Romans 6 Principle. There is a fundamental principle to remember for Romans 6 and in our fight to overcome sin. That principle is what you feed will live, what you starve will die. If you feed your flesh or sinful nature by sinning, it will come to life and get stronger and stronger. But if you resist temptation and take God’s promised way of escape so you can stand up under it, you will put to death your flesh and sinful nature and live victoriously in the Spirit. The choice is up to you. This study will show you how to starve your sinful nature and feed your spirit. And if yo do that, you will live victoriously and defeat sin.

Sanctification. Sanctification is God’s work in the Christian to draw him close to Himself and further and further away from sin. Therefore, sanctification is an expression of God’s love toward us. God loves you so much that He has made a way to save us from sin, but also to save us from having to live in sin going forward. God’s gracious provision is always “much more” than we could have hoped for (Romans 5:9, 10, 15, 17, 20). God is so good!

Do not Settle for Sin. There are some Christians who teach that because we are saved by God’s grace and not our works, that it really doesn’t matter of we sin. Some have been so arrogant to exhort people to go ahead and “sin boldly!” Paul addresses such wayward thinking in Romans 6.

Romans 6:1-2 – “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” 

Paul is inspired to address anticipated responses to the gospel. He anticipates thinking such as, “If justification is not by keeping the law (3:21-22) but only through faith, if we are justified ‘freely by His grace’ (3:24), if we aren’t to do any works to be made righteous before God (4:4-5), then does it matter how we live at all? Doesn’t the more we sin provide more of an opportunity for God to demonstrate His grace? Shouldn’t we disregard any concern about sinning? In other words, “What happens after we’re justified?” Paul foresees those who would say, “Well, if grace abounds where sin abounds, then we should sin that grace might abound.” But this is totally contradictory to anything Paul was inspired to say. Paul says, “Certainly not!” Sin is never acceptable in the Christian life.

The Threefold Attack. The Christian comes under attack from three points: the world, the flesh, and the devil.

  • The world – 1 John 2:15-16 – “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.”
  • The flesh – Galatians 5:17 – “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”
  • The devil – 1 Peter 5:8 – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

We do not stop being human when we are saved from our sin. Prior to salvation the flesh (self-centered sinful nature of sinful humanity) dominates the will of the unsaved. The Spirit is not there to counter it. In addition to the flesh, the fallen world and the devil incite the flesh to sin all the more. When we come to Christ that changes.

In the death of Jesus, God has made available provision to have victory over the sinful flesh. When a person is saved the Spirit comes to reside within and take supreme rule. The flesh is proud and opposed to losing control and so the war is on. The bottom line from which the Christian cannot deviate is expressed in Paul’s rhetorical question, “How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”  The gospel of grace does not free us to sin but frees us from having to sin.

THE FOUR ASPECTS OF THE SANCTIFIED LIFE

There are four aspects of the sanctified life that the believer needs to understand and follow in the life of sanctification. These are:

    1. KNOW what you believe – 6:3-10.
    2. RECKON what you believe true by faith – 6:11-12.
    3. PRESENT yourself to God – 6:13-19
    4. SERVE the LORD/Bear Fruit – 6:20-23

These are the four aspects of the sanctified life that make it work. Understand that this is not keeping rules in one’s own strength (i.e., legalism); this is surrendering to Jesus in the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to work in and through you in life.

KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE – 6:3-10.

If you don’t know what blessing, gift and power God has made available to you in Christ, how will you ever be able to profit from it. If you win the lottery, but no one ever tells you about it or you never find out about it, how will you ever be able to cash the check? Therefore, what is it that we need to start off knowing in the sanctified life?

One commentator states:

The repetition of the word “know” in Romans 6:1, 6, and 9 indicates that Paul wanted us to understand a basic doctrine. Christian living depends on Christian learning; duty is always founded on doctrine. If Satan can keep a Christian ignorant, he can keep him impotent. [1]

In Romans, what is it that Paul says we should know to grow in the sanctified life?

Know That We Are Dead to Sin. Paul continues:

Romans 6:3 – “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

The phrase, “do you not know” here is translated from the Greek term agneo which means, “not to know through lack of information or intelligence; by implication, to ignore (through disinclination); (be) ignorant (-ly), not know, not understand, unknown.” [2] What do we need to know? We need to know that we are in a position of death to sin and alive to God. This is a position that we need to assume by faith. The flesh will still try to draw us out of position.

Baptism is an outward symbol of death to sin within. Now, when the fleshly old sinful nature rears its angry head, by faith, bring it to the cross and put it back in the grave, put it in the coffin and close the lid. As often as the flesh crops up, by faith “reckon” it by faith as dead based on your position and identification in Christ. Don’t justify your fleshly acts or thoughts, bring them to the cross and let them die.

Know Christ’s Resurrection Power. God has provided us with great power to live.

Romans 6:4 – “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” 

Baptism, the immersion under water and rising out of water symbolizes death to our old sinful way of life. Baptism is a burial. Coming up out of the water after having been immersed represents resurrection to new life. When a person is baptized therefore, they are testifying symbolically and publicly confessing that they have put their faith in Jesus Christ and in so doing, have died to their old way of life and have been raised to new life having been forgiven their sins and regenerated in the Spirit.

Just as Jesus did not stay in the grave, but rose from the dead, we too should also “walk in newness of life.” The believer is to live in newness of life that is dead to sin. And that new life is lived in the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The resurrection is at the heart of the gospel (Romans 10:8-10). By the resurrection God showed that the sacrifice of Jesus was acceptable and satisfactory to meet His just requirement of His Law in judging sin. But also, in the resurrection God showed that the power of sin, which is death, was overcome by the resurrection power of Jesus (Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15).

Power. “Power” is translated from the Greek term dunamis meaning, “ability, abundance, meaning, might, worker of miracle (-s), power, strength, violence, mighty (wonderful) work.”  [3]  “Power” (dunamis, also used in Acts 1:8; Rom. 1:16) means ability to overcome resistance. [4] We have power, resurrection power at our disposal in Christ. We need to know that.

Know the Old Man WAS Crucified with Christ. Paul affirms:

Romans 6:5-6a – “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, . . .”

Again, the word, “knowing” here and in verse 9 has the idea of to KNOW BY EXPERIENCE. The Greek form of this word (Present/Active/Indicative) has with it the idea of an ongoingness, a continual action. We need to know this and keep on knowing it. What is it that we need to keep in the front of our minds?

“Crucified with Him” – A Completed Work. We need to constantly know and remember that the “old man was crucified with him.”” “Was crucified with Him,” grammatically, are an Aorist/Passive/ Indicative meaning an action has taken place. We don’t need to keep bringing our flesh back over and over again to be crucified at the cross of Christ, it has been done. We simply must keep in mind WHAT IS ALREADY TRUE FOR US IN CHIRST, THAT OUR FLESH IS CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST.

Know That the Flesh Is Out of Business. Paul states:

Romans 6:6b – “. . . that the body of sin might be done away with, . . .”  

“The body of sin,” is another way of referring to the flesh. “The flesh” is that part of our being that is sinfully self-centered and self-serving in nature and attitude. Now any living Christian will tell you that even after they have accepted Christ as their Savior, their flesh is still a problem. The Christian continues to think about themselves, pamper themselves, look at the world around them through the lens of self and serve themselves. This is not God’s will for the Christian, but it is a reality nonetheless.

The phrase “done away with” is translated from one Greek term katargeo means, “to be (render) entirely idle (useless), abolish, cease, cumber, deliver, destroy, do away, become (make) of no (none, without) effect, fail, loose, bring (come) to naught, put away (down), vanish away, make void.”

Katargeo here is in the Aorist/Passive/Subjunctive form. Greek verbal terms have a Tense which defines the time represented by the verb (e.g., past, present, future, etc.) In this case the Aorist tense represents an action that has been completed with no reference to when it has been completed. The Greek term also has what is called a Voice which tells us the role of who is doing the work. The Passive voice in this term tells us that the object of the verb is being acted upon from outside itself. Lastly, Greek terms have what is called a Mood which conveys information about the action of the verb. The Subjunctive mood carries with it the idea of possibility of an action happening, it represents potential. Therefore, katargeo in this form conveys the thought of the possibility of a completed action performed by an outside agent on a person. Here, more particularly, katargeo represents the POSSIBILITY OF GOD PUTTING THE “BODY OF SIN” THE FLESH OUT OF COMMISSION.

The idea of this truth is well conveyed from the following commentator:

Sin wants to be our master. It finds a foothold in the old nature, and through the old nature seeks to control the members of the body. But in Jesus Christ, we died to sin; and the old nature was crucified so that the old life is rendered inoperative. Paul was not describing an experience; he was stating a fact. The practical experience was to come later. It is a fact of history that Jesus Christ died on the cross. It is also a fact of history that the believer died with Him; and “he that is dead is freed from sin” (Rom. 6:7). Not “free to sin” as Paul’s accusers falsely stated; but “freed from sin.” Sin and death have no dominion over Christ. We are “in Christ;” therefore, sin and death have no dominion over us. Jesus Christ not only died “for sin,” but He also died “unto sin.” That is, He not only paid the penalty for sin, but He broke the power of sin.”  [5]

We no longer have to be at the mercy of our flesh. The flesh is like a dangerous tiger. We can keep it in a cage and starve it to weakness, or we can feed it and let it out every once in awhile to hunt and prey on us. Remember, what you feed will live, what you starve will die.

Know that We Who Have Died with Christ Have Freedom from Sin. Paul states:

Romans 6:6c-7 – “. . . that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.”

Based on what Jesus has done on the cross the potential and possibility is there that, “we should no longer be slaves of sin.” Sin is no longer to be the ruler in the life of the one who is regenerated and saved. What does this mean? Those who die with Christ are freed from sin. Sin no longer dominates us like it did prior to conversion. You can’t tempt a corpse, and we need to see our “old man” like a corpse in Christ.

Know Life in Christ. Paul continues:

Romans 6:8-10 – “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion 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.”   

There is no life without Christ. But we can know life in Christ. We “died with Christ” when we put our faith in Him. Our old way of life, all our sins, everything associated with our old sinful way of life is counted dead in Christ when we accept Him as Savior by faith. Just as surely, we receive His life, we “live with Him.” Jesus defeated sin and death on the cross and that victory is put to our account when we accept Him as Savior by faith. We live on in the knowledge of this great truth. Sanctification is knowing, experiencing this truth by faith in our lives.

As we consider the work of sanctification in our lives, there is a part of it where we are to obediently work out salvation with fear and trembling, we are to take it very seriously. But the other part of that to recognize is, “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13).

RECKON WHAT YOU BELIEVE TO BE TRUE BY FAITH – 6:11-12

Romans 6:11 – “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

When confronted by sin, we need only reckon by faith that we are dead to sin based on our position in Christ. Knowledge is nothing without a reckoning. To reckon is to trust as true.

The word “reckon” (logidzomai) means,  “to take an inventory, i.e. estimate and conclude, take account of,  esteem, impute, lay, number, reason, reckon, suppose, think (on).[6]  The word “reckon” is used in the New Testament to refer to, a  “numerical calculation,” (Luke 22:37); metaphorically (Romans 2:26; 4:3, 5, 6, 9, 11, 22, 23, 24); “to count or to impute” (Romans 4:4; Galatians 3:6); “to consider, calculate,” “to reckon” (Romans 6:11; 8:36; 2 Corinthians 10:11); “to suppose, judge, deem,” (Romans 2:3; 3:28; 8:18; 2 Corinthians 11:5; and  “to purpose, decide,” (2 Corinthians 10:2).  [7] To reckon is to know your spiritual bank account is filled with sufficient spiritual resources to live out God’s word. TO “RECKON” IS AN ACT OF FAITH BY THE BELIEVER TO TRUST GOD AND ACCEPT AS TRUE AND A REALITY THE PROMISES HE GIVES IN HIS WORD.

Reckon. In 6:11 the grammatical form of the word “reckon” (Present/Middle/Imperative) conveys the thought of a constant imperative action. When Paul uses this word “reckon” he is stating that this is something the believer needs to always do.

The word “reckon” is a very important word because it serves as a conduit for what we know and having what we know applied to our lives. Reckon is a word of faith. It is a position we take by faith despite temptation. It is a position we take even if things around us seem otherwise (see Romans 4:20-22).

The KJV Bible Commentary states:

“The word reckon . . . means that we know something is true and then, moment by moment, day by day, consider it to be true. We take as a solid reality that which God has promised. Therefore, not only do we know what has been accomplished in our justification, but we continue to live as though we had already entered into the resurrection presence of our Lord.” [8]

What is it that we are to reckon by faith as true and a reality in our lives?

Reckon Not to Let Sin Reign in You. Paul explains the result of such reckoning:

Romans 6:12- “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.” 

The first thing we need to reckon by faith as a true reality in us is that sin will not reign in us. We know that that in Christ we are dead to sin (6:3), that the old man was crucified with Christ (6:5-6), that our flesh is out of business in Christ (6:6),  and that those who have died with Christ are freed from sin (6:6-7) and these are the things we need to reckon as a true reality in our lives by faith.

The word, “reign” is translated from the Greek term basileueto from basileo which means, “to rule as king, reign.” [9] The verb form implies an imperative assertion (Present/Active/Imperative) and therefore this is something that absolutely should not be allowed to happen. BY FAITH IN CHRIST, RECKON TO NOT LET SIN REIGN AS KING IN YOUR BODY OR LIFE. This is the assertion we are to make by reckoning in faith. When sin comes knocking, take a stand by faith and reckon, “No, sin, you will not reign in me! In Christ I have power to resist and not let sin reign in me.” When lusts of your flesh tempt you, reckon them dead and out of business in Christ. Don’t give in; take a stand in Christ by reckoning in faith and applying the resurrection power of Jesus in your life. Call out to God in faith and He will help you.

How can this be fleshed out (pardon the pun) in life? How does our faith become fact; our talk become our walk?

PRESENT YOURSELVES TO GOD – 6:13-19

Romans 6:13 – “And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” 

The word “present,” here is translated from the Greek term paristemi meaning, “to stand beside, to exhibit, proffer, recommend, . . . or . . .to be at hand (or ready), aid; assist, bring before, command, commend, give presently, present, prove, provide, shew, stand (before, by, here, up, with), yield.” [10] The grammatical form of this word (Present/Active/Imperative) conveys the idea of a persistent, ongoing absolutely essential action by the believer. In other words, know what resources God has put at your disposal, reckon them true by faith and don’t lean, give, or offer yourself to be tools of evil and sin, but always absolutely offer yourself to God to use. TO PRESENT YOURSELF TO GOD IS TO GIVE YOURSELF ALWAYS TO GOD BY FAITH.

The KJV Bible Commentary states:

As those who have been justified, we are not to allow our members (i.e., our hands, our feet, our tongues, etc.) to become the instruments or weapons of unrighteousness. In the original language, the words “neither yield” carry the idea of a continuous yielding. Knowing of our justification and reckoning ourselves dead to the penalty of sin, we are to continually keep ourselves from yielding to sin. But, on the other hand, we are to once for all, as the Greek implies, yield to God. Although we will yet sin, by yielding ourselves to God we will never again be caught in the trap of continuing in sin. Our life and all that we have will be given over to the One who has spiritually raised us from the dead.[11]

We need to come to a decision to by faith, commit ourselves to God in our lives. We may subsequently sin, but we will never allow ourselves to live lives of sin. The prostitute will stop prostituting; the thief will stop stealing; the adulterer will stop cheating; we will no longer live lives of sin. This truth can be applied to every life dominating sin we face. To present yourself to God means to accept His word and promise by faith and stand in them before Him.

Present Yourself to God and His Grace. Paul continues:

Romans 6:14 – “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” 

This is God’s promise to the believer. God has promised us that sin will not dominate us. To those who take by faith, the position that they are dead to sin, to them, sin shall not dominate them. Our first response to temptation and sin is to present ourselves to God and His grace.

The word “dominion” is translated from the Greek term kurieuo meaning, “to rule: have dominion over, lord, be lord of, exercise lordship over.” [12] Sin is not the master or lord of the believer, Jesus is the Master and Lord of the believer. Sin will not have dominion over the believer, on what basis? On the basis that the believer is not under law but under grace.

Don’t Think it’s Okay to Sin. It’s never okay to sin:

Romans 6:15- “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!”

Paul comments on those who would misinterpret God’s gracious provision as a freedom to sin. If you have experienced God’s grace, you won’t want to sin. WE ARE NOT FREE TO SIN; WE ARE FREE NOT TO SIN! We are not free to continue in our sins. Jesus frees us from our sin. Sin always works death in the sinner. Whoever sins will experience deadly effects of the sin they indulge in. Sin is not something you can play with or dabble in. Any definition of “grace” that condones or conveys the thought that it’s alright to continue in sin, is a false definition and misrepresents grace. While God’s grace covers us as we endure the inevitable struggle against sin, it does not condone or minimize the seriousness of sin. We should always be moving away from sin. We should always make every effort, in the Spirit, to rid our life of sin. Sin put Jesus on the cross. The cross is meant to deal sin a death blow. Do not ever accept the lies that it is ever all right to sin.

Presentation Involves Decision – Your Presentation Determines Who Has Power Over You.

Romans 6:16 – “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” 

Presentation is a faith decision, and the above verse shows there is a consequence of our presentation. A choice is ever present, either present yourself to sin and becomes its slave; or present yourself to God and become His slave. The nature of sin is such that if you present yourself to sin, you come under the power of sin. Jesus said:

John 8:34-35 – “Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.”

If you offer yourself to sin you will become a slave of sin. If you are a drug addict and hang out with junkies, you are in effect presenting yourself to their cause. If you are addicted to porn, part of the problem is you’re presenting yourself to porn sights instead of to God. When the alcoholic walks in that store and purchases liquor, they are presenting themselves to liquor. A person cannot move in two directions at once. To present yourself to God is to turn to Him and walk toward Him and resultantly, move away from sin. When we present ourselves to God, we are always moving away from sin.

Obedience from the Heart is Important. There is no getting around the importance of obedience. Paul expresses his thanks to God for this truth.

Romans 6:17 – “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.” 

This battle is a matter of the heart. Who will rule your heart? That is the question. God’s love, poured out into your heart by the Spirit (Romans 5:5) compels the believer to obey and live for Him (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). The sanctifying process is at its heart, about love.

You can’t separate obedience from love. Obedience is a key indicator in determining whom a person is presenting himself or herself to. To those who live by law, obedience is a burden. But to those who live by grace, by knowing God’s love, obeying is a privileged offering to the One who loves them and is loved by them.

See this in the following verses:

John 14:21 – “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”  (See John 13:34-35)

John 15:9-10 – “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

1 John 5:3 – “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”

Living under the principle of grace does not give a person license to sin. Far from it, we demonstrate our love to God through seeking to obey Him. We seek to obey Him not to become righteous, but because He has made us righteous in Christ. We seek to obey God because we love Him and appreciate all He has done for us.

Choose: Flesh or Spirit? We read:

Romans 6:18-19 – “And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.” 

When you accept the Lord as Savior, you are “set free from sin.” For the first time in our lives we are in a position to resist temptation to sin. But this does not mean we have clear sailing without any potential problems. There are still choices we need to make each day.

That which you feed will live. That which you starve will die. When faced with temptations to sin, the believer should contemplate in the moment what they want to live and what they want to die. To resist sin feeds the spirit. To give in to sin feeds the flesh. Flesh or Spirit, hollowness or holiness, death, or life, which will it be? This principle cannot be emphasized enough.

“For just as.” Just as a sinner indulges in their sin, so now, in the newness of life, the believer can choose to present him or herself to walk after the Spirit to follow God. What we need to do is present ourselves to God to serve Him. Just as the sinners yielding to sin led to more and more sin, so too when the believer yields to God, he or she will build momentum in the positive way of sanctification in life. That is a very practical truth! We get the ball moving in the right direction by presenting ourselves to God.

But how can we keep it going in the right direction? Serve the Lord! That is our last step in the sanctifying process to which we now turn.

SERVE THE LORD/ BEAR FRUIT – 6:20-23

Romans 6:20-22 – “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.” 

The life of sin doesn’t care about righteousness. There is no spiritual fruit in the life of sin. The unbeliever may have a casual concern to be good or religious that is motivated by guilt or a desire to do something that enables them to rationalize a belief that they will go to heaven when they die. But the “righteousness” they seek is not God’s righteousness in Christ but a false righteousness of their own making, a righteousness that is comfortable for them and costs them nothing. Such a righteousness is a religious pursuit of God often rooted in worldly philosophy that is doomed to fall short because it is powerless against the slavery of sin. It is only in God that a person, as a believer in Christ, can be set free from the dominion of sin and open the door to bear spiritual fruit and experience eternal life. The end result is everlasting life with Him.

The word “slaves,” here is translated from the Greek term doulos meaning, “a slave; bond servant.”  [13] A slave is one who takes orders and obeys orders from a master. A slave is one under subjection to another. Notice the contrast here. The choice is being “slaves of sin,” or “slaves of God.” We have already seen how Jesus said that the person who sins is slave of sin, sin is their master, their tyrannical overlord. But when you put your faith in Christ God sets you free from sin and he becomes your new Master. Salvation and the sanctification process begin as a person declares Jesus as their Lord (Romans 10:8-10). It is not enough to know about Jesus or know facts about Jesus or even believe that He was a real historical figure who performed miracles. Salvation comes to the one who believes in their heart of hearts that Jesus rose from the dead and is then confessed as Lord.

“Having been set free,” is translated from the one Greek term eleutherothentes (Aorist/Passive/Participle) and refers to a past completed action. “Having become slaves,” is translated from the Greek term doulothentes (Aorist/Passive/Participle) is also a completed past action. With these two truths in place, the believer then progresses onward in them; “you have your fruit” is translated from the Greek terms echete ton karpon. “You have,” (echete) implies an ongoing process of fruit bearing in the life of the believer (Present/Active/Indicative). We have been set free from sin through faith in Christ; we are slaves now of God; and we need to continually live this out by faith in Christ in the power of the Spirit.

The word “holiness” (6:19, 22) here is translated form the Greek term hagiasmos meaning, “purification, the state purity; a purifier; holiness, sanctification.”  [14] The idea of holiness therefore involves being cleansed of those things which challenge the lordship of Christ in your heart.

Holiness is not closing yourself up in a cloister so that the world can’t influence you; holiness is living in the world and influencing it for God. Isolation leads to anemic Christianity because there is no service and no opportunity to see the reality of God’s word in practice. Separation on the other hand is living in the world but not of the world; it’s experiencing the reality of the truth of God’s word and the reality of God’s power over sin. Therefore, isolation stifles faith; separation strengthens faith.

What is the “fruit of holiness”? The fruit of holiness is being separated from the world, the flesh, and the devil and to God. To be separated to God means to present yourself to Him to be used by Him first and foremost. By faith we present ourselves to God to be used by Him in the midst of a sinful and lost world. This is the product of the Holy Spirit working in the believer. Therefore, we can say that sanctification is the purification of the believer’s heart from the impurities of worldliness, fleshly lusts and devilish attitudes.

Sanctification is a Step of Faith in the Spirit. It would be a tragic mistake to allow such a work of God in a person’s life to degenerate to a work (of the flesh). Sanctification, as we have already stated, is a work of God in the believer. And as a work of God in the believer, it is accepted by faith just as salvation is accepted by faith.

In Acts this work of the Spirit in the believer is stated to be by faith in the following words:

Acts 15:8-9 – “So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us,9 “and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.”

The purifying work of the Spirit in the believer is something done as the believer simply in faith surrenders to God (cf. also Acts 26:18).

What God does for and in us is appropriated by faith. That is true in our initial salvation. That is true in our sanctification. This is the “from faith to faith” that Paul opened his letter to the Romans with (Romans 1:17). Faith is integral to God’s work in us. This is why without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

The Consequence of Sin is Death – God’s Gift is Eternal Life in Christ. The climax of this great chapter has one of the most powerful verses in the entirety of the Bible:

Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

Sin always produces death. If you indulge in sin, something dies, your sensitivity to sin, relational ties, spiritual sensitivity, your concept of God, your sense of closeness to God. Wages are something you’ve earned and worked for. The wages of sin is death! If you choose to sin, you earn your eternal dead destiny. What is death? Biblically, death is the separation of the soul or consciousness from God (e.g., Luke 15:24). Sin distances the sinner from God. That is why sin is so dangerous; because the more we sin, the further from God we get until we can’t even hear Him.

“But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” A gift is always related to God’s grace; and God’s grace produces eternal life in the believer by the Spirit who produces fruit in us (Galatians 5:22-25). God loves to give. The Bible is filled with the giving of God. Grace is a way of describing the giving nature of God. Grace is entirely from God. There is nothing in us that warrants or deserves God’s grace. Grace proceeds from God’s good nature.

Eternal life begins with our first breath of faith in Christ. God looks into our heart and at the first sign of trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit is dispatched to indwell us giving us spiritual life. That life in the Spirit is eternal. That eternal life in the Spirit begins now and will never end.

Know, reckon, present, serve, these are the keys to overcoming sin. Are you ready to overcome that sin that has been dogging you in life? Do you know how much God loves you and what He has provided for you to live victoriously? Do you believe it? Will you present yourself to God and for His will to be done in you? Will you obey Him and serve Him as He ordains for you? If you say “Yes” to these questions, your future is bright, your victory is at hand, and your hope of living to the glory of God is within grasp. May Jesus sanctify us through and through, for His glory! “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

 

 

 

 

[1]Wiersbe, W. W. 1996, c1989. The Bible exposition commentary. “An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire ‘BE’ series”–Jkt. (Ro 6:1). Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.

[2]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[3]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[4]Walvoord, J. F. 1983-c1985. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Php 3:10). Victor Books: Wheaton, IL

[5]Wiersbe, W. W. 1996, c1989. The Bible exposition commentary. “An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire ‘BE’ series”–Jkt. (Ro 6:1). Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.

[6]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[7]W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine’s complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[8]Jerry Falwell, executive editor; Edward E. Hinson and Michael Kroll Woodrow, general editors, KJV Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1994.

[9]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[10]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[11]Jerry Falwell, executive editor; Edward E. Hinson and Michael Kroll Woodrow, general editors, KJV Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1994.

[12]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[13]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[14]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

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