Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
What place should sin have in a Christian’s life? Paul said in Romans 6:1, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?” Paul was a champion of grace. Grace is the theme of the book of Romans. Our righteousness is not based on works or ritual; it is based on the grace of God we receive through faith. That was Paul’s message of grace.
Because Paul was a champion of grace, he was continually battling the enemies of grace. Among the enemies of grace were those who denied grace. Paul was dealing all the time with people who said God’s grace was not enough. They said people needed God’s grace plus works or rituals or keeping the Law. So Paul spent the first five chapters of Romans saying, “We are justified by grace apart from the works of the Law.” Why does God refuse to allow us to have anything to do with our salvation? Because if our salvation were a result of our works or our rituals, then salvation would be a reward that God owes us rather than a gift He bestows upon us.
Other enemies of grace Paul did battle with were those who abused grace. These people said, “If I am saved by grace and my salvation has nothing to do with my works, then why shouldn’t I keep on sinning as a Christian? After all, if my sin causes God to pour out His grace, and if God is glorified when His grace is poured out, then shouldn’t I keep on sinning?” That was why Paul asked the question: “How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” (6:2).
Today we hear the same thing. Many people accuse those of us who teach salvation by grace as promoting easy believism. They say, “You are making it too simple for somebody to be saved.” Or they say, “If you are saved by grace and are eternally secure, then why not keep on sinning? The once-saved, always-saved doctrine encourages disobedience to God.”
But Paul said a true understanding of grace does not encourage sin; it encourages obedience to God. In Romans 6:1, he asked, “Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?” If we are truly saved, how could we continue to habitually sin? He answered in verse 2, “May it never be!” This Greek phrase is the strongest refutation in the Greek language. Then he asked a follow-up question: “How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” It is impossible. In 1 John 3:9, the Apostle John wrote, “No one who is born of God practices sin.” That word “practices” means “habitually participates in sin.”
This does not mean that Christians do not occasionally stumble, but sin is the exception in our lives rather than the rule. When you become a Christian, you are exposed to a new way of living. Why in the world would you ever go back to the old way? Sin has no place in a Christian’s life.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Christian, Thou Art Loosed” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.