Living By Faith 4 Faith and Sin Romans 6
Text: Romans 6
Review Romans Outline
Chapters 1-3 God’s Holiness in Condemning Sin
4 - 5 God’s Grace in Justifying Sinners
6 - 8 God’s Power in Sanctifying Believers
9 -11 God’s Sovereignty in Saving Jew and Gentile
12 - 14 God’s Glory the Object of Service
15 - 16 Epilogue
Romans 1:16 - 17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Joke: A minister hires a man to ring the church bell. When the bell breaks the man is afraid of losing his job so he so decides to ring the bell by running into it face first. This worked pretty well but after many years the man’s face is mangled and from ringing the bell with his face and he becomes so dizzy that one day he misses the bell, falls out of the steeple and is killed by the fall. He is lying on the sidewalk dead when the police arrive and ask the minister who the man is. “Well, I can't quite remember the name, but his face sure rings a bell.”
Later the pastor hired another man to take the dead bell ringers place. After all the applications were in they hired the man’s brother. And just like his brother he also feel from the steeple tower and was laying on the sidewalk when the police showed up and called the pastor to come down and id the man. The pastor looked at the man for quite a while and then said, “I’m sorry. I just can’t remember his name, but he’s a dead ringer for his brother.”
Now what does that terrible joke have to do with Romans 6? Well besides wanting to preach a sermon that really rings a bell, sometimes as Christians we are trying to get the job done, live the Christian life, but we’re doing it our way instead of the right way. Trying to ring the bell with our face instead of pulling the rope. Romans 6, 7 and 8 are the chapters where we are told how to live the Christian life, the right way.
It begins in Chapter 6 with how to deal with and overcome sin. You’ll never be able to fully live and enjoy the great blessings of the life Jesus has given to us, if we can’t deal with the sin that is still a part of our flesh.
Recognize (Know) - Romans 6:1-10
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God
Breaking the Cycle of Sin
Paul begins by asking a question, “Shall we continue in sin?”
This was a question that was probably in the minds of the Christians at Rome after they had read what Paul had written about Jesus redeeming us from sin. After hearing Romans 4:4-8 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
Now after hearing that statement, that sin is forgiven by faith, they might ask, “If sin can be just be forgiven, then what is to stop someone from continuing to sin and then just keep asking for forgiveness? So Paul asks the question for them, “Shall we continue in sin?”
The he answers his rhetorical question with a phrase that the scholars of the KJV translated as, “God forbid!” in the Greek these two words form a double negative, meaning no twice as strongly, no times 2. We may say it, certainly not, absolutely not, by no means possible or if you’re from east Texas, “what in the world are ya’ll thinking?” Paul then finishes his answer, “How shall we who are dead to sin, live in sin?”
Paul says, its not what you feel but what you know, that will break the cycle of sin for the Christian, he emphasizes that word “know” three times in this paragraph.
vs. 3 Know that we who are baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death.
vs. 6 Knowing our old man is crucified with Him.
vs. 9 Knowing that the resurrected Christ dies no more, death has no power of Him.
Paul is saying, You must recognize, realize, know that your acceptance of Jesus Christ means that you are in Him, your faith has joined you to Jesus and that relationship breaks the cycle.
Vss 3-5 To remind them and to give them a stronger picture of this truth, he brings up baptism which is a symbol of them being in Christ’s death and looking forward to being in His resurrection.
Vs. 6 We must know that our old man, our former sinful nature under the control of Satan, is crucified with Christ, that we may no longer serve sin.
Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me
Col 2:11-14 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
Do I Recognize and claim the knowledge That Will Break Sin in my life?
When you accepted Christ as your savior, you believed that He died on the Cross for your sin. It was not a matter of experiencing it, or seeing it, you could not be there. Nor was it simply based on an emotion or feeling. What it was, what it must be is the reality of believing and because you believed, you acted and accepted Christ as your Savior.
Now, to overcome sin in my life I must believe in a second crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection? My own.
You must believe that when Christ died, you died with Him. When he was buried your old man was buried with Him, and when he rose from the grave, you rose with Him, a new creature, no longer under the domination of sin. The cycle is broken.
It is not a matter of experiencing it, you must know it. It is not a matter of feeling it, you must believe it. It is not a matter of willing it, you must accept it. And having accepted it you must now live it!
Illustration The Bookmark
If I take a bookmark and place it in a book then it is in the book. Wherever the book goes the bookmark goes, whatever happens to the book happens to the bookmark. For all intents and purposes the bookmark and the book are one and the same. The same is true of my relationship with Christ. I am in Him. The Bible says so, Jesus prayed so, it is so. It is already a fact, it is already true, it is already done. My problem is I just don't know it. I don't believe it. I don't live as though it is true in my life.
Transition: Now in the first 10 verses of Romans 6, Paul has given us the positive side of breaking the cycle, we are alive in Jesus. In the next 2 verses he gives us the negative part of breaking the cycle, being dead to sin.
Reckon - Romans 6:11-12
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
Paul then says, Likewise, in the same way, reckon yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ.
The word reckon in the Greek is the word, logizamai. It means to reckon, count, compute, calculate, count over. It was a word used by stewards (accountants). It has the same idea of someone balancing the books. It means I look at the outgo, the negative) and I look at the inflow, (the positive) and when it is done I know the correct balance. I know where I stand.
When Paul tells us to reckon ourselves dead indeed to sin, but alive unto God through Christ, he is giving us the outgo and the inflow, the income and the expense.
Through the death of Christ and my being in him I am now dead to sin. That old man was crucified with Christ and buried. That's the outgo, that’s the expense, that is what it cost Jesus Christ.
Through the resurrection of Christ, I have been made a new creature in him.
2 Cor 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
This is the inflow, the income, the coming in, of a new life, through the Holy Spirit. I am now alive unto God. That is the bottom line. That is the truth. That is the reality of the Christian life and its power of sin.
The problem is not in what God has done but in what I won't believe and act upon. It is too easy for me to not reckon myself dead to sin.
I continue to allow sin to have power over me. I indulge in it. I enjoy it. I think about it. I plan how I will do it. Yes, as a child of God, I feel bad after I have given in to it but I still give in because I do not reckon myself dead to it.
Neither do I reckon myself alive unto God. I don't walk with Him. I don't talk with Him. I don't listen to Him when He speak from His word. If you looked deeply at my life you would not know that I truly do believe there is an omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent God who will one day take me to live with Him for eternity. I don't act like it, because I don't reckon it to be true. I believe it, but I don’t reckon it. I believe in my heart but I too often I don’t act on that faith with my life especially when it comes to breaking the cycle of my sin.
James said this in James 2:17-18 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Reckoning is one of the works that accompanies faith. It is not reckoning until there is action, a work, that overcomes my sin in my life.
Gather at the River
Sometimes dealing with our old nature is like the old preacher during 1930’s prohibition. One Sunday he was getting wound up about the evils of alcohol. He preached against it, he shouted against it, he pounded the pulpit and leaped from the podium against it. Finally, at end his sermon he shouted, “All the liquor in this county should be taken and thrown into the river!” Then he called for the song leader to lead in a closing hymn. The song leader, who liked a little tipple every now and then, stood and called out, “Let's all turn to 199 and sing 'Yes, We'll Gather at the River.’”
Illustration: Dead Reckoning in the navigation
I have a confession to make, I love to read books about the British navy during the Napoleonic Wars. I’m an addict, I really am. I have probably read or listened to over a hundred such books and some of them 2 or three times. Now if you think I believe that’s a sin, well you’re a holier roller than I am. I’m telling you that because of something I read in those books that I’m now going to share in this sermon. See it wasn’t wasted time it was research.
The term “Dead Reckoning” is an actual naval term, long before GPS satellites men were crossing the oceans and sailing around the world. The did it by navigating by the sun and stars and with a chronometer, a very precise clock set to mean Greenwich time in England. But when the stars were obscured by storm clouds they had to go by “dead reckoning.” They would pull out the maps, and charts and using a compass and rulers they would determine where they were on the world’s oceans starting from their last know location or fix. They had to put their faith not in what they could see, but in what was recorded, what was known to be true in the past and recorded on those charts. That is an illustration of our own “dead reckoning” plotting our course of life, overcoming sin in our life by putting our faith in what is what is true in God’s word and especially in this case in Romans 6 and our hearts fixed on the cross of Jesus Christ.
Transition: Now that we know we are in Christ and reckon ourselves to be dead to sin, what's left? Yielding ourselves to God.
Reassign (Yield) Myself to God - Romans 6:13-23
Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 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? 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. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 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. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Yielded to God.
When I believe these truths. When God reveals them in my soul. Then I must yield myself to God. I must resign my own power and will and reassign myself to God’s power and will.
The word yield here means to present myself, like a servant, before God. A new creature that will be fit to serve God because I have overcome the power of sin through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Paul tells the Roman Christians in Romans 6:17-18 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. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
You don't belong to Satan any longer. You are not his servants so quit doing his bidding. You have been given over to a new Master and new Lord, therefore act like the servant of God that you truly are.
Have I been before God?
With each step in my own breaking the cycle of sin, there must be growing knowledge of the person of Jesus Christ and my relationship with Him. I must have this undeniable, unshakeable knowledge that I am in Christ. That I was with Him on the cross, in the grave and in the resurrection from that dead body. This is a spiritual reality that occurred through my faith and the foreknowledge of God. I then must take the next step which is to reckon myself dead to sin but alive to Jesus Christ. And yet this process is not complete until I yield myself as a servant to God. There must be a time of reassigning my life from the servant of unrighteousness to being a servant of righteousness. And that must take place in in a face-to-face, heart to heart meeting at the throne of the God Almighty.
How many times have I allowed Satan to defeat me because I would not yield to God. I would not come before Him in prayer and meet with my Maker.
We can’t call ourselves children of God until we acknowledge our need to be in the presence of our Heavenly Father. It must begin at salvation and it must continue if we are to grow and learn. We must be with Him, we must yield to Him.
Later in this same letter to the church, Paul emphasizes it again in Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God…
Yielded Servants of Righteousness
Florene Nightingale “I have kept nothing back from God.”
Jim Elliot “Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine.
George Mueller “There was a day when I died, utterly died to George Mueller.”
William Booth “I made up my mind that God would have all of William Booth there was.”
Conclusion: What about you?
Have you yielded yourself as an instrument of righteousness to God?
Have you been before Him and said, “This body is no longer mine. It was purchased by Jesus shed blood. This heart no longer can love the things of the world it has been given a higher love. These can no longer serve sin they are now instruments of righteousness. These feet will no longer go where Satan pushes, they will only go where the Holy Spirit leads.”
This morning if you would have power over sin, if you would break the cycle of sin in your life, then know that you are in Christ. Reckon yourself dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God. And then yield yourself as an instrument of righteousness before God.