Why Do Christians Continue to Sin? (Pt 8)

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 studyRomans 6:1-3

Three Signs You Are Reigning in Christ (Pt 1)

Daily Devotion | Day 301

“For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17, NKJV).

In Chapter 14 of the Book of Romans, Paul responded to questions about which foods to eat and which ones to avoid. Apparently, some in the community preferred to eat vegetables only (v. 2) for reasons of conscience. Paul referred to such people as “weak in faith” (v. 1). Others, however, had no scruples about food. This offended those who were weak in faith. To resolve the problem, Paul urged everyone to follow his conscience regarding this matter. Then, he appealed to those who were strong in faith to bear with those who were weak and not do anything that might jeopardize their fragile faith. This is the context within which Paul made the statement you find in today’s opening passage (Romans 14:17).

What Paul said, especially the second part of his statement, is true for all Christians of every epoch. Starting with this passage, we will talk about three signs which show that we are reigning in Christ: righteousnesspeace and joy. This will be a three-part series. Today, we will focus on righteousness and how it enables us to reign in Christ. 

The Bible calls Christians “a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9). God calls us so because He wants us to reign (as priests) in His kingdom. God’s kingdom is a kingdom of righteousness. Where you see the kingdom, you see righteousness.  The kingdom and righteousness are inseparable because righteousness is the primary defining characteristic of God’s kingdom. Therefore, without righteousness no one can reign with Christ.

It is with this understanding that Jesus urged us to prioritize righteousness: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Notice how Jesus tied righteousness to the kingdom. Righteousness gives you the keys to the kingdom. All blessings flow from this point. As the Book of Proverbs says, “blessings are on the head of the righteous” (10:6). This is how righteousness enables you to reign in Christ and appropriate the kingdom blessings.

To help us reign, the grace of Christ produces a two-fold (inseparable) action in the life of a Christian. First, it blesses you with the gift of righteousness: “For if by the one man’s [first Adam’s] offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17). Second, the grace of Christ empowers you to stop sinning: “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14). You are reigning when you are not sinning. You are reigning when you are walking in righteousness.

Therefore, grace is about receiving righteousness and walking in the righteousness received.

As John rightly put it, “whoever says he abides in him [Christ] ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1 John 2:6, ESV). Righteousness is not just a concept. It is a lifestyle. It is the dynamic power of God which enables you to take your rightful place in the Father’s kingdom.

Be righteous. Stay righteous. Reign.

Blessing: May the Holy Spirit power destroy every plot of the enemy against you. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further studyRomans 6:5-23

Created Special

Daily Devotional: Day 110

“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Genesis 1:26, NKJV).

From Genesis 1:3 the Bible begins to tell us about the order in which God created the world. God created in six (6) days, starting with the creation of light and finishing with the creation of man. We can observe an interesting difference between the first five days of creation and the sixth day. During the first five (5) days, God creates by commanding things into existence. But on the sixth day, when it came to the creation of man, God did not command, “Let there be man. . .” This brings us to today’s Scripture reading. Look at the Scripture again.

When it was time to create man, God called for a special ‘council,’ so to speak. He said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.” There was a personalloving and deliberate decision to create us. This means we are special and dear to the Father. It also means we are not the product of evolution or some random set of meaningless, impersonal events.

You are made by a loving Creator, who took time to fashion you and put together your beautifully complex human structure, and He gave you the ability to love and be loved. You are made in the image and likeness of God Himself. Do you realize what this means?

You are God-like.

When God looks at you, He sees His own image and likeness in you. If you remembered this truth every moment of your life, how amazing your life would be! You would live differently. You wouldn’t get depressed when your ‘friends’ don’t accept you. You wouldn’t give in to worries and anxieties. You wouldn’t live in fear. You wouldn’t even live in sin. In fact, you wouldn’t sin against your neighbor in whom is the same image and likeness of God. When you remember your origin, your calling and your destiny, it changes how you approach life; it also changes the moral choices you make and how you serve God. It would make you worship the Father with burning reverence, gratitude and holiness. God made you special, so live the special life. Amen.

Pray to the Father about what you’ve heard today. And may He answer your prayers.

For further study: Romans 1:18-22