An exposition of Romans 6:1-14. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, January 17, 2010.
It is a common objection, “You Baptists and your ‘once saved always saved’ theology promote a cheap grace.” Some say, “I wish I was a Baptists and all I had to do was say a prayer and then live anyway I want for the rest of my life without a care about eternity.” Such mischaracterizations are, at best, ill-informed. I will grant you a number of people have thought that was our position. A good number of folks have foolishly stake their souls on such false notions as evidenced by the great discrepancy between our church roll and actual attendance. But it is not now nor has it ever been our position that salvation is a matter of “saying a prayer” and nothing further required. Yes, we believe that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. Salvation is the work of our great and merciful God. God saves. We do not. We are helpless and hopeless in our sin. We can do nothing to secure our salvation. It is not a matter that we are drowning and someone throws us a life-preserver in the gospel and we taken hold of it for life. Rather we lay dead on the floor of the pool and Christ comes to us, breathes life into us and grants to us life eternal and abundant. But that is not the end of things – it is merely the beginning. The same grace that rescued us then begins a transforming work in us that will ultimately present us to the Father pure and holy. We are saved from the penalty of our sin as we come to faith in Christ. We then begin a journey in which we are being saved from the power of sin as we grow in holiness. Ultimately we will be saved from even the presence of sin when we enter into glory. When we talk about salvation we are talking about all of that – your justification, sanctification and glorification. I’m bringing this up because when you preach the gospel as it appears in Scripture it can lead to misunderstanding. Let’s face it, it sounds too good to be true. “I don’t have to do anything? I just believe?” Well if that is true and if where sin abounds grace abounds all the more…then let’s have a party! Let’s eat, drink and be merry because it doesn’t matter we are saved by grace. Well not so fast. Our text this morning is found in Romans chapter 6.
Text: Romans 6:1-14
Paul has made us aware of our condition – we are sinners, deserving of God’s wrath.
Yet God has manifested a righteous, apart from the law and it is ours by faith.
This is because Christ lived and died for us.
When we come to faith in Christ we have peace with God.
We are assured a glorious future.
It is all because of God’s costly gift of His Son.
Chapter 5 ends with a statement of grace’s sovereign, victorious reign over sin (5:20-21).
Look at those two verses: Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Note – where sin increased, grace superabounded.
Paul’s experience had been consistent. When he preached the gospel in its pure form his critics twisted and perverted his words into something all together different. In anticipation, he brought up the objection himself in verse 1 of chapter 6.
The question before is what about the relationship between grace and holiness? If salvation is by grace alone, nothing further required, then why live a holy life? What incentive could there possibly be for a life of righteousness? If you do not have to do anything to get salvation or to keep it – why would you strive for holiness? Can you see that this is a understandable question? Can you see that it is a very practical question?
The problem, of course, is that it fails to recognize a fundamental truth. That truth being:
Thesis: A genuine experience of grace leads to a life of increasing holiness.
How is that? In what way does the one follow the other? That is what our text is about.
I want you to note three things as we work our way through this text.
- Grace brings us into union with Christ and that union radically changes everything. (6:1-4)
- Our union with Christ demands that we begin to look at sin from a radically different perspective. (6:5-11)
- This new relationship demands that we now offer our lives consistently to God in the pursuit of righteousness. (6:12-14)
Grace does not lead to lawlessness. Far from it. A genuine experience of grace leads to an ever increasing life of holiness.