Grace Living – Romans 6:15-22

 

As born-again believers, we live under grace. We were saved by grace and live by grace and one day we will be glorified by grace. Everything is based upon the amazing grace of God. In Romans 6:15-22, we see a description of what grace living is all about.

Grace living frees us from sin. Romans 6:15 says, What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” [1] In 6:1, the question is raised, “Since we live under grace, should we continue in a lifestyle of sin?” Paul very adamantly states that this is not the case. It is just the opposite. Since we live under grace, we are dead to sin and alive in Jesus Christ. We are set free from a lifestyle of continual sin. The question is raised again here in verse 15, though from a different angle. The suggestion is made that, yes we are dead to sin and should no longer serve sin, but is there any allowance given to commit a sin? Paul again says, “God forbid.” Since we are under grace, we are free from the actual act of committing particular sins. Not only do you not have to live in sin, but as a believer, you do not have to commit any sin. You are free to live a life that is sinless. Living within the sphere of God’s grace, we have the power to not commit a single sin. Therefore, every time we do commit a sin, there is no excuse. We cannot blame our committing of a sin on our sin nature or on any outside influence or temptation. We cannot blame our committing of a sin on the world. Why? Because we live under grace. Since we live under grace, we are free to not sin period. Therefore, when we do sin, we are choosing to allow ourselves to go outside of the sphere of God’s grace.

Now, I want you to get a hold of this. This is deep stuff! We are talking about a level of spirituality that very few, if any, ever really realize in this life. This grace is given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ. Living in His grace places the responsibility of keeping us from sin on Jesus rather than on ourselves. As long as we live out our lives under His grace, we will not sin. However, when we start to live life on our own, we place ourselves under our own strength rather than staying under His grace. In our own strength we fail, because we are totally depraved. There is no good in us. We are incapable of being sinless. Therefore, the key to living a life free from sin is not found in our efforts to be holy. The real key to living a life that is free from sin is simply to live within the sphere of God’s grace. In other words, stop trying to be sinless. Just live within the grace of God and you will be sinless. Grace living frees us from all sin.

Grace living produces righteousness. This righteousness is spoken of in verses 16-18. “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.”[2] The righteousness that Paul speaks of here is an imparted moral righteousness, not imputed righteousness. Imputed righteousness is the righteousness of Jesus that is placed upon us when we are justified. When you came to faith in Christ, the righteousness of Jesus was placed upon you so that the wrath of God is satisfied and you are pardoned from the penalty of sin. Therefore, we can say, that in Christ we are declared as righteous. We may not live a righteous life, but, in Christ, we are declared as righteous even though we are not righteous. This imputing of the righteousness of Jesus is not what Paul is dealing with our text.

Paul here is dealing with imparted righteousness. In other words, when we live within the sphere of God’s grace, righteousness is imparted to us. This righteousness is given to us as we are obedient to live the grace life. Dr. Constable says, “Obligation always follows dedication whether the dedication is to sin or to obedience.”[3] When we are dedicated to live a life of obedience to God, it produces righteousness in us. The more we live a life of obedience to God, the more righteous we become.

Paul, in verse 17, gives praise to God for his readers who have obeyed the Gospel and are thus set free from serving sin. Since we are made free from sin, we are now servants of righteousness. Being a servant of righteousness is the result of following true doctrine. It is the equivalent of godly living.

Now, here is what we need to understand. Dedication to God as a believer is voluntary, not automatic. Some of those who hold to a reformed view will often say that sanctification is automatic. In other words, when you are justified, you are automatically sanctified. Therefore, if you sin, you are not really saved. This puts a lot of pressure on the believer to make sure that they ‘do’ right in order to prove to themselves and others that they are really saved. This is not what the scripture teaches. You may be justified; however, you may not be living a life that is dedicated to God. You may have been declared righteous, but that does not mean that you are righteous. You see, Paul was telling his readers that before they came to faith in Christ, they deliberately yielded to sin. However, now that they have a new life in Christ, they must deliberately present themselves as slaves to God. The presenting of ourselves as slaves to God results in progressive sanctification. We need to understand that progressive sanctification (which is the doctrine Paul deals with in Romans 6-8) is not totally passive or automatic. It requires human action. We must come to a point where we deliberately yield ourselves over to God. In other words, we must choose on a daily basis to live the grace life. It does not happen automatically. You must make the choice. When you yield or dedicate yourself to God, righteousness is then imparted or produced in your life. Do you want to live a life that is free from sin? Do you want to live a life that is righteous and godly? Then, you must on a daily basis present yourself as living sacrifice to God. You must deliberately place yourself under the grace of God and present yourself as a slave unto God. Therefore, it is grace living that produces righteousness in us.

Grace living frees us from our old life. This point is seen in verses 19-21. “I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.” [4]Before you came to faith in Christ, you yielded your body to sin. You were a servant of sin. You were in bondage to sin. All you knew was to sin. Paul here encourages us that just as we formerly would yield ourselves to sin; we should now yield ourselves to righteousness. The question being raised to the believer here is, ‘why would you put yourself back into the slavery of sin, since you have been set free?’ There is no fruit in sin. There is nothing good that comes from sin. Therefore, why would you sin? Knowing that there is no good thing that comes from sin, why then would you sin? Think about it. You know that nothing ever good comes from eating razor blades. So, you do not eat razor blades. You know that nothing ever good comes from drinking gasoline. So, you do not drink gasoline. You know that nothing ever good comes from robbing a bank. So, you do not rob a bank. You know nothing ever good comes from cheating on your spouse. So, you do not cheat on your spouse. Why would you do the thing that you know will bring nothing but pain and strife in your life? As a believer, you know that nothing good comes from sin. So, why would you return to that old life of sin? Living in the sphere of God’s grace frees us from that old life. You do not have to serve sin like you used to. You do not have to do those things that will bring you harm. Grace frees you from that old life.

Grace living gives us a new life. Verse 22 says, “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.”[5] The fruit of being a servant of God is a holy life. You are a servant of God, since you have been made free from sin. Living within the sphere of God’s grace gives us a new life. We have a new life in Christ. It is a life that is free from the slavery of sin. It is a life that produces holiness and righteousness. The ultimate result of this new life in Christ is everlasting life in the presence of God. You are a new creation in Christ. The old life is gone. You do not have to go back there. Live within the grace of God and your new life will be one of perfect holiness. Such a life brings ultimate joy and peace that this world can never understand.

The problem with most Christians is that they have been saved by grace, but they are not living by grace. They have placed their faith in Jesus. Their salvation is secure. However, they never fully realize God’s best for them, because they are not living in grace. Living in the grace of God requires a daily decision. You must present your body as a living sacrifice to God on a daily basis. This is what sanctification is all about. It is a daily process of surrendering to Jesus and living within His grace. What about you? You may have been saved by grace but are you living the grace life?

 

[1] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ro 6:15). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[2] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ro 6:16–18). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[3] Dr. Constable. Notes on Romans. p. 82

[4] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ro 6:19–21). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[5] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ro 6:22). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

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