What About Sin?
As soon as Paul wrote in Romans 5 that where sin increases, grace abounds all the more, the questions arose, “What about sin and the Christian? Does a Christian continue in sin in light of God’s grace? Do we sin as a way of showing how abundant is God’s grace?”
That is the question being addressed in Romans 6. The short answer is, “No, may it never be.” The longer explanation is that the person in Christ is now in a different relationship to sin because he is in a new relationship with Christ.
What, now, is the Christian’s relationship to sin?
It will first be helpful to understand the nature of sin. Sin is the inclination of our nature away from God and toward ourselves, the attitudes from our nature that are contrary to God’s will, and the actions that follow that are disobedient to God’s commands. Sin is our natural attitudes and actions to love ourselves more than God and others, therefore violating the most basic commands to love God with our whole selves and our neighbors as ourselves.
Since Romans 6 says that in Christ we are now united with him in death to sin and resurrection to new life, what is our relationship to the sin that we still fight to overcome?
The old, sinful self was crucified with Christ and now we are new selves in him.
The condemnation for sin was charged to Christ in our place and now we are justified in him.
The death that results from sin was experienced by Christ on our behalf and now we have life in him.
The dominion of sin over our lives is broken by Christ and now we live bound to him and truly free.
Today, you will read and hear thousands of words informing you of the events in the world and the opinions of others. You will talk to people and interact with them on many levels. As you do, you will be tempted to sin. Your heart attitudes will lean in a direction and be shaped for something, and your actions in word and dead will follow their lead. While this is happening, you will also be tempted to focus more on the sins of other people instead of your own.
But, Christians have a different relationship to sin now that they are new in Christ. We affirm that we are dead to sin, it’s condemnation and the death that follows. We cast off sin’s dominance over us by considering ourselves dead to it and by refusing to present our minds and bodies to it. On the positive side, we affirm that we are alive to God and we present our minds and bodies to him for righteousness, to love him and others.
We do this while we read the news, post on social media, muse over the events of the week, and share our opinions. In all things we cast off sin in our attitudes and actions. In every way we present our minds and bodies to God for what pleases him.
If we separate this biblical teaching from the everyday experiences of life, we will live in sin. But, if in the most real and practical ways, we watch over our attitudes and actions and submit ourselves to God, we will prove the power of his grace to save us to sin no more.
This Sunday we plan to take up Romans 6 again and rejoice that grace abounds all the more. Until then, watch and pray.