My husband (the Brad in the 'Brad & Gillian), is taking a class on Paul's Epistle to the Romans, and as a project he wrote this little article. So, without further ado:
Should We Continue in Sin?
Paul begins the sixth chapter of Roman with a question: “Shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound?” (Romans 6:1, KJV) Obviously Paul must have been having trouble with “sinning Christians” or he would not have felt compelled to write about the subject, but what is he really saying?
Some felt that the abundance of grace was a license to go on sinning; after all there was plenty of grace to go around. But Paul immediately rejects this idea in the next verse with a resounding “God forbid.” He states, ‘how can someone who is dead to sin go on living in sin?' To continue in sin would actually contradict the very purpose of grace; Paul’s was telling us grace is so much greater than any sin that we might commit, not that it just keeps covering as we keep sinning. Those who are in Christ are dead to sin - just as He died once for all to cover our sin, we die to sin and it no longer reigns in our lives. To suggest that a Christian could go on sinning is inconsistent with Christ’s nature and thus inconsistent with the nature of those who are in Him. Christ came to forgive and remove sin from our lives so that we might live in victory. Paul is not suggesting, as some might, the literal impossibility of sin, but the moral inconsistency of it - is it not a contradiction to say that we died to sin and yet continue to live in sin?
A Christian is not only dead to sin but alive in Christ Jesus, just as He is now alive. We walk in a new life, free from the bonds of sin and death because the payment for our sin was paid on Calvary. So if Jesus died for our sin, and we are to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive in Christ, how can we let sin reign? It is a total contradiction! Paul goes on later to tell us “do not let sin reign in your mortal body” (Romans 6:12), and, “let us put aside the deeds of darkness” (Romans 13:12, NIV), and such statements as these. He is showing us that while we will be affected by temptations we do not have to let it reign or take over in our lives. Why would Paul put all of this down and spend so much time explaining it if it is not possible to live without sin? But, some would cite the Scripture that says if you say you are without sin you are a deceived (1 John 1:8, KJV); it’s true the Bible does say that all have sinned, but it is talking about the nature of sin we are born with and how that no man or woman that is born has (past tense) not committed sin. This is not saying that we should live in sin. Again, how could Paul say he is dead to sin if it was impossible? Since we know the Bible is truth and cannot lie, we must look at the whole picture: if Paul and others say we can live “dead to sin,” then the meaning in the verses just mentioned must be simply that all have sinned, but that all do not have to continue to sin. Of what use is the grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus to us if it does not get rid of sin? That is why He came - to free us from sin - and if we are truly dead to sin and free in Christ then we should live and act like it. Let the grace of God remove the sin from your life and then through His grace you can continue to live “dead to sin”.
It’s in the Bible - why would God have Paul write it down if it was an impossibility for us? Think about it!