You do not have to keep sinning. I know so many of us use the excuse that we can’t help it, can’t control ourselves, or are compelled to sin. But the truth is, if we are believers that is just a cop out. We do not have to keep sinning. Self-control is an ability the Holy Spirit gives us, it is a fruit, a result of having Him in us making us over (Galatians 5:22-23). Sin no longer holds the sway over us in any way at all. You were once a sinner, but now you are under God’s overflowing beautiful grace. Jesus gave you a new life. That new life is not about law, sin, and death; it is about grace, righteousness, and life.
To begin Romans chapter 6 in context we need to read the last verses of chapter 5. Romans 5:17-21 reads,
For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God, our Holy Righteous Lord forgives sin. There is no sin too big for Him, no sins too many for Him. Sin cannot overcome grace because God’s grace is boundless. So does grace give us free reign to sin? Since we do not follow the law, does that mean we can just do whatever we want and then proclaim God’s grace to the world as an excuse for our debauchery? Chapter 6 verses 1-4 say,
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Jesus didn’t go to the cross as a pretty little picture, He died quite horrifically and painfully in order to put sin to death. When we believed, we died too to our old lives, identities, and nature. Jesus resurrected to end death forever and give us a new life, identity, and nature. When we believed we raised up to a new life. We were re-born. To continue to walk, act, and be the sinful person we used to be just trashes what Jesus did for us on the cross. We are new! We are born again! We are alive! We have the promise of unity with God and the hope of eternal life. We have His Holy Spirit within us working out our sanctification, that is He is making us into Jesus’ image. Verses 5-11 read,
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
To be saved, to call ourselves believers means we call Jesus our Lord. We give him dominion (rule, authority, and power) over us. He is in charge, the king, master, and owner of our lives and hearts. Jesus put sin to death, He even put death to death! (Revelation 20:14). In Revelation 1:17b-18 Jesus said,
“Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”
Do you understand that when Jesus laid down His life and rose from the dead, He made it so we do not have to be under sin’s rule any longer? We don’t have to sin! Sin is a choice, not a compulsion. Verses 12-14 read,
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
We are not under the law now, sin does not have to rule over us. There are so many people who call themselves Christians and yet still live as citizens of the world. They give in to sin constantly, they are bitter, wrathful, and hateful. They revel in depravity, drunkenness, and decadence and claim freedom in Christ. But their lives don’t reveal freedom, their lives reveal the chains holding them to sin. Their lives do not show deliverance from sin by Jesus Christ, they show bondage to sin. Who would ever choose to follow such a weak god who cannot liberate a person from the mire of wrongs she lives in? Who would follow a god who makes his followers no different than anyone else on the earth? Just because we are not under the law, does not mean we should flaunt it by sinning and acting like the rest of the world. Verses 15-16 say it this way,
What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
If we keep choosing to sin, we are proclaiming sin as our master. We cannot claim Christ as our Lord and yet obey the basal desires, gratify our every whim, and exalt our selfishness. We are not slaves to sin if we call Jesus Lord and mean it. We are free from the tyranny of self-seeking, self-gratifying, life-killing sin. Freedom in Christ is much more than liberation from the law; it is more profound than escape from wrath and Hell. If Jesus has ahold of your heart, will, desires, and soul, if His Spirit reigns in you, you are free to live in love, conform to His image (be like Him), and be who you are meant to be. You are free to do good, free to glorify (reflect and direct attention to) God, and free to enjoy the world on a level people without Christ cannot imagine. We are free to give our lives completely to God and let Him do with us as He chooses. Verses 17-19 read,
But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
If the idea of being sanctified does not flood you with joy, then perhaps you are still enslaved to sin. Being sanctified, conformed to Christ’s image is wonderful, it is being made into who you were made to be. The more you grow, the more you mature in Christ, the more wonder and joy you find in this life He has given you.
What good did sinning ever bring you? What good did it do you to satisfy your urges, fill your stomach, or vent every capricious thought? It did you no good, and it did no one else any good. Those nights of drunken partying may have been fun in the moment but the celebration of Jesus is so much better, eternal, and purposeful. The old party led to death, the new celebration brings life. Verses 20-23 read,
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Believer, do not give into the excuses, the lies of sin. You are freed from sin, free to be the righteous child of God you were born to be! You are free to live this amazing life for God. Choose life.