Daily Devotion – Day 358
“For the death that He [Christ] died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:10-11, NKJV).
In the entire chapter 6 of Romans, Paul has but one message for Christians: You can live sinless, so live that way. Recall that at the beginning of this series (Part 1), I briefly mentioned Romans 6:1-2 and recommended that everyone take a look at it. I said at that time that we would return to that passage later. The time has come, so to refresh our memory, this is what Paul said: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”
Everything Paul said in this chapter is held together by the first two verses (which we have just quoted) and verse 14 where he writes, “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” In Paul’s mind, those who have died to sin can no longer live in sin. In other words, they can no longer sin. That is what he implies by the rhetorical question, “How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”
Some would say that there is a difference between living in sin and merely committing a sin. But this is just another way of avoiding Paul’s point. The Bible makes no distinction between committing sin and living in sin. When someone sins, in that moment the person is living in sin, even if the sin lasted for one minute. The one whose sin lasts one minute and the one whose sin lasts one month both lived in sin at some point. Hence, attempting to draw a distinction between committing sin and living in sin amounts to splitting hairs. The implication of Paul’s rhetorical question (“How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”) is obvious: Because believers have died to sin, they can no longer continue to sin; the only life befitting their status as God’s children is a life of righteousness, a life without sin.
Paul knew believers were (are) fully capable of living without sin because of the abundance of grace available to them. In case people had any doubt about this, he emphatically stated, “For sin shall not have dominion over you . . . for you are under grace.” Notice Paul’s choice of words. He did not say, “Sin shall have dominion over you from time to time.” Rather, he says that sin will have no dominion at all. This means Jesus has opened the door for every believer to live sinless. What remains is for us to take advantage of the opportunities grace has set before us.
Not only is it possible for a Christian to live without sin, it is the expected normal life of the believer. The believer has no other life. This is good news, that we can live righteously as Jesus did. Therefore, we need to preach a Gospel that includes the cessation of sin so that Christians can experience the joy that comes from reigning over sin.
To be continued tomorrow, God willing. Until then, meditate on Romans6.
For further study: Romans 6:1-3