In these pages of Dr. Constable’s notes on Romans we find commentary on chapters six through eight of Romans which deals with the subject of the impartation of God’s righteousness. We have already noted how salvation is provided through justification by faith. It is the placing of one’s faith in Christ alone that declares us righteous. Once an individual is declared righteous, he or she now begins the process of progressive sanctification. Progressive Sanctification is God’s provision of salvation from the present power of sin in the life of the one who has been justified by faith. This is a practical process of becoming more like Christ and entering into greater holiness.
In Romans chapter six we see the believer’s relationship to sin. In the first fourteen verses of chapter six we have the explanation that the believer is free from sin. The issue here is not on how we can avoid sin and obey God; however, the real issue is why we should obey God. There are four key words in chapter six that should be noted: 1. To know 2. To reckon 3. To yield 4. To obey. As believers we are to ‘know’ the facts of our union with Christ. We are then to ‘reckon’ or count on these facts to be true concerning ourselves. As we ‘know’ and ‘reckon’ we are thus to ‘yield’ or give of ourselves as alive in Christ. In all this, we are also to ‘obey’ God’s Word. The realization of our sanctification is found in our obedience. In verses 15-23 we see how we are slaves to righteousness. Even though we are free in Christ and free from the power of sin, we can still find ourselves enslaved to sin as we give in to temptation. The point here is that it is possible for the believer to fall into sin. Instead of yielding to the temptation to sin, we should yield ourselves as slaves to the righteousness of God.
After Paul addresses the believer’s relationship to sin, he then addresses the believer’s relationship to the law in chapter seven. In verses 1-6 we see the authority of the law. Here we find that since we have died with Christ and our now living a new life in Christ, the law no longer has any authority over us. It should be noted that we have died to the Mosaic Law and not to the Old Testament. The Old Testament is still authoritative as inspired revelation from God and is profitable for us even today. In verses 7-12 we see the law’s activity. The law brings one to understand his or her sinfulness. The tendency of man is to break any law given to them. Verses 13-25 describe the law’s inability to save. The law can show us our need for a savior but it cannot be our savior.
We then come to Romans chapter eight where we see the believer’s relationship to God. This chapter is the climax of Paul’s thoughts on progressive sanctification. There are several things we see in this chapter: 1. Our deliverance from the flesh by the power of the Spirit (v. 1-11) 2. The application of the believer’s condition (v. 12-13) 3. The attestation of the believer’s condition (v. 14-17) 4. Our present sufferings and future glory (v. 18-25) 5. Our place in God’s sovereign plan (v. 26-30) 6. Our eternal security (v. 31-39). It is a wonderful thing to know that in Christ we are not condemned and we have a glorious future to look forward to. Romans chapter eight is one the most beautiful chapters in all of God’s Word.
Now that we have been justified, we are to proceed in this life through sanctification. We are free from the penalty of sin (justification), we are free from the power of sin (sanctification) and one day we will be free from the very presence of sin (glorification). To God be the Glory!