Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Romans 61a (Holman) What should we say then
Paul knew his emphasis on Justification by Faith would bring a howl of protest from many. He realized some of his critics might try to trap him with his own words.
Anticipating what they would probably say, Paul answered the detractors in advance. He wanted everyone to draw the right conclusions from his teachings.
Romans 61b Should we continue in sin in order that grace may multiply
Paul knew evil people might pervert his previous statement, where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more (520). It is possible someone will say, Lets go on sinning, because it gives grace a chance to show off its full potential, and be more conspicuously displayed.
The Devil loves to pervert the doctrine of Justification by faith and to undermine the true intent of eternal security. He tries to accomplish these goals by whispering to us if these two doctrines are true, then why not live in sin to the full
Satan says, One who has been saved by faith can never be lost, no matter how he or she lives. The Devil heavily accents the last phrase. The Holy Spirit says, The one who has been saved by faith can never be lost and will live as a believer should.
Justification by Faith produces moral character. Gods righteousness, which is imputed to the believer, proves its existence by working itself out in our everyday lives. The greatness of grace is it provides us the power to be delivered from sin.
The act of salvation itself implies a desire to turn from sin, not to continue in it. A Christian must never look on the cross and interpret it as a license for sinful living. The sacrifice of Jesus was not intended to create a harbor for sinners who want to enter it with all their sins still on board.
There will always be those who misinterpret truths of Scripture. When we preach on free grace, there are those who abuse it by advocating free living. When we preach on morality and godly living, there are those who abuse it by saying we advocate Pharisaism and salvation by works.
However, we must not avoid truth because it is liable to distortion by evil people. Though others abuse these teachings, we stand by both blessed doctrines without apology.
We preach free grace, which means sinners are saved by grace through faith, apart from any works of the flesh. We preach godliness, which means anyone who has been saved will demonstrate it through godly living.
These two themes we must ever emphasize. Both must be unapologetically proclaimed. A balance has to be maintained between the two, or we will lean too much toward being Libertines on the one extreme or Legalists on the other.
The story is told of a Pastor whose preaching emphasized free grace, but neglected the call to holiness. One day after his sermon, a stranger thanked the preacher energetically for the comfort he had derived from the message, and placed some money in his hand. The preacher was surprised, and more so as it continued to happen week after week. The pastor decided to sift out the matter and investigate who this stranger was that so enjoyed his messages. Lo and behold, the man was at that very time openly living in abominable wickedness without any tinge of remorse or repentance. This discovery jolted the preacher into admitting Certainly there must be something essentially wrong in my preaching when it can afford comfort to such a profligate as this The pastor reviewed his messages, saw how lopsided they had been, and changed to a balanced pulpit ministry. Soon the stranger quit coming.
Romans 62 Absolutely not How can we who died to sin still live in it
A Christian should not live in sin, because we die to sin when Christ is accepted. At conversion, the new believer is immediately separated from the everlasting penalty, and controlling power, of sin.
The believer is dead to sin, and when a person dies, he is no longer subject to former relationships. He is separated from those things that had sway over him. Believers have the right to be like a corpse to sin, unable to be affected by it.
Jesus death and resurrection brought the reign and tyranny of sin to an end in the believer. We are delivered from its realm, its rule, its control, and its dominance. Sin has lost its power over us, except to the extent we allow it to harass us.
The only reason believers still sin is we do not reach out through faith and claim what is rightfully ours. We have received much more than merely forgiveness of sin. We have been transferred to a realm of power. We live in the realm of grace (52). This means ample power is available for us to overcome any temptation we might face. This is our birthright
No believer will ever be perfect in this life, but neither should any believer be living in sin. By this we mean no believer should feel comfortable in sin. It should not be our element or our common atmosphere.
Believers must not be cordial with sin. It should grieve us, hurt us, and pain us. We had best search our heart if we can sin without remorse. The latter is a very dangerous thing, usually bespeaking lostness.
The believer should never give in to sin, and come to terms with it. We should ever be at war with evil, and one of our strongest weapons of war is to know who we are and what is ours.
We are citizens of a celestial kingdom. Our citizenship is in Heaven (PH 320). Believers are a colony of heaven here on earth. We are like a United States embassy located in another country. The embassy is located within the territorial confines of a foreign country, but it is still counted as American soil.
Even so believers live on earth, within the territorial domain of Satan. However, sin no longer controls our destiny. The Devil cannot force evil on us, or coerce us to do wickedness.
He can only harass us. We live in a new realm, but Satan still taunts us and calls to us from the old realm. He reminds us of the pleasures of sin, and makes sure temptations are placed in our path. As he intimidates us, it is easy to forget who we are and what we have. When we do so, we fall into sin. This is sad because it is unnecessary. When we yield to Satans taunts, no power is available to us to send Satan running. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (JS 47).
Do not make Satanic confessions, such as saying it will be impossible for you to overcome a particular sin. When you are tempted, pray, I am dead to this evil. It has no authority over me. Jesus, give me strength to be what I really am.