Romans 6:1-2 — What Shall We Say Then? (Bible study notes)

 For the video teaching to these notes, click here: Romans Bible Study – Week 10 – What Shall We Say Then?
Recap:
  • Chapter 6 is not a new chapter in the sense of a new thought — rather it flows out of chapter 5 with Paul asking 4 questions
  • In chapters 1 -5 we learned that ALL humanity before the Cross was dead in sin because of Adam’s transgression — what we commonly refer to as an Adamic nature or sin nature
  • BUT at the Cross all of that changed
    • No part of Adam survived the Cross.
    • Mankind went from “in Adam” to “In Christ” at the Cross.
  • And the Cross was not a reaction to what Adam did
    • God did not react to the Fall by coming up with plan B – sending Jesus to the Cross
    • What Jesus had finished in time at the cross had been finished in eternity before the world began — sin had been dealt with before anyone ever sinned
      • We (mankind) was IN CHRIST long before they were ever lost in Adam
        • Ephesians 1:4: Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. (5) He predestined us for adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will.
        • v. 5 in the Mirror says it this way: He predestined us for adoption as His sons (sonship) through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will
    • The Cross is just part of the beautiful love story between God and mankind — it was God’s plan for us from eternity past fulfilled in Jesus.
  • God’s eternal plan which always included us in oneness with Him is important for us to understand
  • Although verses 1-4 is one long run on sentence in Greek, tonight we’re only going to look at the first 2 verses
    • Actually, we’re going to spend several weeks on chapter 6.
    • Because if we don’t get it, we’ll have a tough time with chapter 7 – seeing our new life in Christ as a constant internal struggle
I. Who is Paul talking To?
  • Remember here, Paul is talking to a transitional generation – those who lived on both sides of the Cross
  • At the Cross the body of sin was done way with and the old man was crucified 2000 years ago
    • We never had an old man because we’re born on this side of the cross
    • Adam (the old man) died at the Cross
  • Paul is not referring to old you and new you
    • He’s not referring to your experience before you accepted Christ as opposed to your experience after accepting Christ
    • You do not have 2 different identities
    • You were never a slave to sin… you may have lived a horrible sinful life before you came into the knowledge of Christ…. BUT you were never a slave of sin
    • Our death with Him 2000 years ago = free from sin; free from the nature of Adam
      • Col 2:11 In Him you were also circumcised in the putting off of your sinful nature, with the circumcision performed by Christ and not by human hands.
      • Mirror: You were in Christ when he died which means that his death represents your true circumcision. Sin’s authority in the human body was stripped off you in him dying your death.
  • Problem is the Church has embraced sin consciousness and it is defeating us in our everyday experience
    • we know we were co-crucified, co-buried and co resurrected but the experience of our life hasn’t reflected that.
  • In our Romans study we’re probably going to get really repetitive over the next several chapters because we (the body of Christ) haven’t really embraced the revelation fully yet that there was only one crucifixion (His) and we (ALL mankind) was crucified with Him (at His crucifixion)
    • Romans 6:10 – He died ONCE for ALL
  • We’re too focused on trying to crucify our flesh and die daily (to sin) NOT KNOWING that the Cross changed everything and everyone — we (ALL mankind) entered a new age, a new era
    • Where sin and death no longer have the power to abound or reign
    • GRACE now reigns
  • It’s critical that we get this — After the Cross, there was no reason to continue walking in the nature of Adam – of continuing to see ourselves in Adam instead of in Christ
  • in our study of Scripture we’ve forgotten to ask who was Paul writing to?
    • What generation of people?
  • Grace defeated sin and changed the nature of mankind eternally.
  • So with that as our lens… let’s look at verses 1-4 in chapter 6
Romans 6:1-2: What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may abound? (2) May it never be! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
II. Questions for a Transitional Generation
  • Verses 1-4 are actually one long Greek sentence
    • In this one long sentence, Paul uses questions to deal with our response to the fact that grace conquered sin and NOW reigns — that we are no longer in Adam BUT in Christ.
  • Romans 6:1 begins with “therefore” – pointing back to chapter 5:19-21: For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
  • Last week we learned that Paul is not talking about sins (plural) referring to our behavior but he’s talking about “the sin” referring to the sin of Adam which condemned all mankind to death
    • Paul had connected the law to sin abounding
    • Romans 5:20 tells us that the law was given so that the trespass (of Adam) would abound – increase
      • This was so that Israel would see their inability to attain righteousness through the law and recognize their need for a Savior – it was to point them to Christ (Gal 3:24)
      • And Galatatians 3 tells us that (for the Jews), the law was only to continue until Christ came
      • after Christ the law and it’s penalties was nailed to the Cross (Col 2:12)
    • And we also know the law was NEVER for the Gentiles – Lev 26:46; Rom 2:14
      • Remember he’s writing to a transitional generation — this wasn’t written to us – we can definitely learn from it but it was written to the church in Rome in like AD 57
        • 2 Tim 3:16 Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness, — Paul is writing to Timothy
          • All Scripture is referring to the Old Testament Scriptures
          • and verse 15 tells you why they are God-breathed, profitable for instruction, for conviction, for correction and for training in righteousness — give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
          • The Old Testament Scriptures were to point them (the Jews) to Jesus
        • Titus 2:12 tells US that grace trains us in righteousness – Jesus (Grace) – The Word teaches us how to live IN HIM – not the Old Testament Scriptures (the word)
        • It’s important to know who he was talking to and how we are to apply it to our lives in light of the finished work of the cross.
    • So, the law was only for the Jews, until the Cross, to point them to Christ and it was given so that the sin (the trespass of Adam – not sins/behavior) would abound
  • Chapter 6 begins with four questions to the Roman Jews that Paul is writing to, dealing with their response to the fact that grace conquered sin and now reigns… that the sin of Adam no longer has the power to abound
    • We’ll look at it first in context and then look at it in application to our lives.
  • Paul says “should we continue in sin so that grace may abound?”
    • Since Paul had just connected to the law to sin in 5:20 it looks like their question may be should we continue living under the law so that grace may abound?
    • Paul answers them Absolutely Not!!
      • How can you who died to sin still live in it.
      • It’s not possible to live under the law, which caused the sin to abound, so that grace can abound — you are now dead to “the sin” – dead to the sin nature of Adam
III. It’s Not About Sinful Behavior
  • So, how do we apply that to our lives since:
    1. he’s talking to Jews about not continuing in the law that was never for us (Gentiles)?
    2. he’s talking to a transitional generation who’s nature was in Adam until the cross and then became in Christ.
    3. because mankind’s nature changed eternally at the Cross, the sin of Adam no longer had the power to abound
  • I believe the way we apply these verses to our lives is by seeing what Paul is saying through the lens of past tense fact — through the powerful finished work of the Cross
    • we have died (past tense fact) to the sin nature of Adam
      • sin before the finished work of Christ reigned in death
      • But now death no longer reigns – it reigned only from Adam to the Cross
        • At the Cross, Adam has passed away – no part of Adam remained – it was a FINISHED work!
        • And now the Last Adam alone remains — mankind was crucified with Him and risen with Him
        • Jesus restored to us what Adam lost — our identity as sons – made in the image and likeness of God
        • He did it ONCE FOR ALL –
    • Then we believe what He did – changing our nature from Adam’s to His
      • Our nature isn’t changed when we believe — it was changed regardless of our believing
        • But our believing simply allows us to experience the benefits, the joy, the victorious life of that nature change.
        • in believing it, we begin living our lives in His identity rather than living our lives from a wrong identity not realizing we are (and always have been) sons bearing the image and likeness of our Daddy.
        • Believing is an effortless response to revelation that brings you into a conscious awareness of what you had always possessed.
  • The problem is, we (the church), have made the mistake of looking at these verses through the lens of sin consciousness instead of through the revelation of the nature change that took place at the cross for all mankind.
    • We read this verse with the understanding that it is saying we should not go on sinning once we are saved.
      • This interpretation is fueled by translations like the NIV, which says: What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?
    • Paul’s not talking about sinful behavior though — he’s talking about a position – “in” sin (singular not plural)
      • he’s making a statement about a position that man had occupied by virtue of his relationship with Adam
      • He lived in a place or a condition called sin
      • this has nothing to do with man’s activity or behavior
      • in is a word of position not behavior
IV. What Shall We Say Then?
  • I love that chapter 5 begins with “What shall we say then”
    • I’m big into words — and I believe in the power of confession
    • Not confessing it to possess it BUT rather confessing what I already possess! Confessing who I am IN HIM
      • confession is homologeos is homo meaning “together” and légō, “speak to a conclusion”; it means to speak the same thing; to agree; to profess in FULL agreement;
      • one of the definitions of together is “co”
      • I love the co-words — co crucified, co buried, co resurrected, co ascended, co seated
      • and now here co-speaking – speaking what He says in FULL agreement
  • So what shall we say then?
    • What is our response (our confession, our co-speaking) to this revelation of grace reigning and sin no longer having the power to abound!
    • What is our response to be to the truth that at the Cross Adam completely passed away
    • What are we to co-speak about the truth that after the Cross, there was no reason to continue walking in the sin of Adam – the distorted identity – a wrong identity of who I am (made in the image and likeness of God)
  • Should we continue in the sin (the nature of Adam) so that grace may abound?
    • continue is epimenó from 2 words epi which is a preposition denoting continual influence upon and meno meaning to remain or persist
    • Should we remain or persist under the influence of the sin so that grace may abound – continue to increase?
    • under the influence of a distorted mindset of a wrong identity — should we persist in a wrong identity that has lost the revelation of sonship – that we are made in the image and likeness of God?
  • Verse 2 says Absolutely Not!!
  • Then he says we died to sin
    • we died to sin — aorist, indicative
      • aorist means it already happened
      • indicative means it’s a fact – Paul has no doubt about it
      • we died to sin — it is a past tense fact
    • This is not a present tense–“We are dying to sin”–or a future tense–“We will die to sin”–or an imperative–“Die to sin!” Nor is it an exhortation–“You should die to sin.”
    • Col 3:3 says you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
      • verse 2 says “set your mind on things above” – that is an imperative command!
      • Mirror Bible says to see yourself there – IN CHRIST;
      • Occupy your mind with this new way of life — you died when Jesus died, whatever defined you before defines you no more.
      • Christ, in whom the fullness of deity dwells, defines you now!
  • So his answer may it never be is not a gentle suggestion of “I hope it may never be” “I hope you won’t let it be”
    • Paul is saying it’s NOT EVEN a possibility — you died to sin
  • Dead is dead – it is to cease to live — you can’t be dead and alive at the same time
    • Life is not possible in the realm of sin because IN CHRIST all have died to sin.
  • Remember not talking about sinful behavior — he’s talking about a position; a place, a condition called sin that mankind (before the Cross) occupied “in Adam”
    • Again, he’s talking to a transitional generation
    • For us – born after the cross – we were never born in the position of sin (Adam)— we were ALWAYS in Christ.
  • He’s saying to them AND to us — you’re not understanding the success of the Cross
    • You’re not understanding what the finished work of Christ did for ALL mankind
    • The finished work of the Cross and Resurrection — the finished work of Jesus — changed mankind’s position from “in Adam” to “IN CHRIST”
    • changed his nature from “Adam’s likeness” and restored it back to “God’s image and likeness”
      • Genesis 5:1-3: This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. (2) He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created. (3) And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image…..
  • What shall we say — what should our response, our co-saying be to sin abounding so that grace can abound
    • Sin no longer has the power to abound — Grace doesn’t just abound, it now REIGNS SUPREME!
    • Mankind who was once in Adam now is in Christ
  • Our response just like the Jews Paul was talking to is to co-say with Christ “IT IS FINISHED – IT WAS ONCE FOR ALL”

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