|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2007|
|Romans 5:20 says that “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” So, a Christian can just go out and do whatever he pleases, sin as much as he wants, because then he’ll get more grace, right? Wrong! Says Dr. Barber as he begins to show you Paul’s argument against that very idea.|
We are finally in chapter 6. We are still talking about the details of God’s grace, but now we are entering into Part II, which is our new life that we have in Jesus Christ.
I want you to look at verse 20 of chapter 5. There is something I want to point out that may help you as we enter into chapter 6. It says, “And the Law came in that the transgression might increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” Now there are two words used in that verse for “abound” or “increase.” The first one is pleonazo, which means “is more than enough; to have enough.”
The other word used, perisseuo, is actually a synonym, but when they are used together, they are saying two different things. So perisseuo is the last word: “grace abounded much more.” When you use the two together, pleonazo means to abound, but perisseuo means to go even beyond that. Even though they’re synonyms, when the two words are used together, one takes it to a greater extreme.
Not only that, but Paul put took a little preposition, huper, and put it in the front of the word perisseuo. So what he is saying is, not only does it go beyond increasing, where sin increased, but it goes way beyond.
There is another difference in the word. Grace has abounded over what sin did to man. The word perisseuo means you are conscious of this abounding. The first word, when it says “sin increased,” is something that you may not be conscious of. But the second word is a word that means you are conscious of this. This is very important. How did sin abound? When you cry out to the Lord Jesus Christ and it super abounds over that sin that you were once in, the grace of God is extended to you. Now are you aware of it? Oh, yes! You’re aware of it! You’re aware of the fact that something happened to your life. We’re going to be looking at this in Romans 6.
Number 1, you are aware the penalty is gone. No longer will you have to endure the penalty of death. Even when you die physically on this earth, immediately you are in the presence of God. Death no longer reigns over you. He took your death for you. He went to the cross for you. The penalty fell on Him. He went to the cross. Therefore, when we put our faith into Him, it has no effect on us.
But secondly, the power of sin, now, has no more claim over our lives. Whereas, when we were in Adam, it ruled and reigned in our lives. We were sinners, ungodly, all of us! But when you reach out to Christ, His grace is something you experience. It’s not just something you preach about! It’s not just something you talk about! You actually experience the grace of God. You are conscious of His grace, of the fact that now something new has happened in your life.
Not only does it deal with the power of sin, it even deals with the desire to sin. I think Paul is trying to get us to the point of understanding, “When you become a Christian, you are aware that something brand new has taken place in your life. It’s not like when you were in Adam. You didn’t know what the problem was until the scriptures came and revealed it. But when you put your faith into Christ, you seek after Him. When the Holy Spirit opens it up to you, you reach out to Him.
Now when I say, “You seek after Him” I really mean He sought after you! But when you see the grace, you reach out for it. That grace coming into your life transforms you! Second Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if any man is in Christ.” Where was he before? In Adam. How did he get in Christ? He put his faith into Christ, and the result of that was baptized into His body with the Holy Spirit. There is no such thing as the baptism of the Holy Spirit. That is never found in scripture. It’s the baptism with the Holy Spirit, or by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ. The moment you reach out for that grace, it super abounds over the sin and you are consciously aware of it.
“Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things [all of that old life style in Adam] passed away; behold, new things have come.” What? The old becomes new. Here it is, right here in Romans. Oh, if you can get this down in your thinking, it will radically change and transform your lifestyle.
In Romans 6:1 the Apostle Paul has anticipated a question being asked by those who see grace as a license to sin—the Antinomians. These were the party-goers. “I’m under grace—I can do what I want to do! I’m free in Jesus—I can do what I want to do.” Freedom is not the license to do what you want to do, to do what you please. It’s the power to do as you should. It’s a totally different thought. The Antinomians would take what Paul said and try to pervert it.
Paul anticipates that, so he says in 6:1, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?” That’s the question he anticipates. The term “shall we continue in sin” is the word epimeno. He is referring to habitual sin. Understand the difference. A believer can sin, but he doesn’t live in habitual sin as he did when he was under the effects of Adam.
Adam had a son. His name was Cain. In Cain was his daddy Adam. Everything Cain was, his daddy was, and he continued to pass it down until it got to us. But when we are born again, born into Christ, something changes in our lives, and where sin used to have rights over me and cause me to do what I perhaps now would not want to do, it has no rights over me any more. So when you talk about habitual sinning, there is no possible way a believer can go back and live as if he is still in Adam. Paul is going to show you why in Romans chapter 6.
When I taught in I John chapter 3, I had people come to me and say, “That’s too harsh. John says you can’t live in habitual sin. Oh, come on, let’s be realistic.” I had to say to them, “I didn’t write that. John wrote it under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God. If you’ve got a problem with it, don’t take it up with me. Take it up with Him!” Now in Romans 6 you’re going to see what John was talking about.
You see, a lot of people still think, “I made a decision years ago. I walked the aisle. I cried big tears and asked God to forgive me. I’m a Christian now, and I can live like I want to live because of God’s grace. He saved me, and He forgave me.” Hold it! Hold it! What were you saved from and what were you saved to? You must understand what Paul is saying here. There is no possible way a Christian can go back and live the lifestyle he lived when he was in Adam. Because he is not in Adam any more. He is now in Christ. That is the question he anticipates, and he is going to answer it.
Why is it that a believer cannot continue to live in sin? Why is what Paul is speaking of here so absurd? Well, first of all, we are dead to sin. Make sure you get this down in your mind. Look at verse 2: “May it never be!” Paul asks, “How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” Now, he is going to really drive this one home. The little phrase there, “May it never be,” (in reference to: “Can I go back and live like I used to live?”) is the term me ginoito. It is found about 14 different times in the New Testament. Paul uses it almost every time, and 11 of them are found right here in the book of Romans. I want to go through every one of them because I want you to see how Paul uses that phrase.
When I would get in trouble as a teenager, sometimes I would be grounded—I wasn’t supposed to leave the house or use the car. Now, suppose I walked up my dad and said, “Aw, come on, Dad! Give me the car tonight.” Well, Dad would say, “May it never be!” (He may not say it like that. He’ll probably say, “Absolutely out of the question! It’ll never happen!”) That’s exactly what Paul is doing here. He is saying, “It is absolutely, totally an absurdity to think you can go back and live the lifestyle you once lived in Adam when you put your faith into Jesus Christ.”
Let me show you that. I’m going to show you every time he uses it in the Book of Romans. I think it will help you to realize that when he makes that statement, it’s referencing an absurdity. He is saying, “That is absolutely absurd!”
After the statement of Paul concerning the unbelief of many Jews, in Romans 3:3-4, he says, “What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? May it never be! [He says, “It can’t. What do you mean nullify the faithfulness of God?”] Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, ‘That Thou mightest be justified in Thy words, and mightest prevail when Thou art judged.’”
After the absurd thought that God is unrighteous because He inflicts wrath upon humanity, look at Romans 3:6. Paul says, “May it never be! For otherwise how will God judge the world?”
In Romans 3:31, after the absurd thought that we could somehow nullify the Law through faith, Paul says, “Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.” You see, every time he says, “It can’t be—it’ll never be!
Look in Romans 6:15: What then? Shall we sin because we are not under sin but under grace? May it never be!”
Romans 7:7 reads, “What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’”
Paul, speaking of the Law, says in 7:13, “Therefore, did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.”
In Romans 9:14 he says, “What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!” You’ll never find an instance where there will be injustice in God.
In Romans 11:1, speaking of Israel he says, “I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.”
Then in Romans 11:11 he says, “I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous.”
Why is it so absurd to bring up the question, “Can a believer go back and live the lifestyle he once lived when he was in Adam?” Well, he says back in 6:2, “we who died to sin.” When he mentions the sin there, it is the sin. The sin refers to everything we used to be in Adam.
Paul says we have died to sin. This is important because some people say repentance is not necessary. Do you realize how we mess up witnessing to people if we don’t show them first of all that they are lost? If they are lost and helpless in Adam, then there is going to have to be repentance, a change of mind, a turn toward that which God has done. It’s not just turning away from; it’s turning to Him! We are participating in what God now has revealed to us. Repentance is part of salvation.
You may know people who say, “I can live like I want to live.” Ask them, “What did you get saved from? Do you understand what you came out of? Do you understand what salvation really is?”
Paul says, “We have died!” He goes on to say, “That means to me that I am dead to what I was in Adam.” That old life that I used to live in Adam as an ungodly sinner, an enemy of God, is no longer existent. I am dead to that old lifestyle. Not only what I was in Adam, but what I did as a result of being in Adam. I am dead to that! Death is final. If you have died to one kind of life, you cannot go back and live in that life. Life and death are incompatible. I have died to an old way of living.
Since there is death to the old life of sin in Adam for believers, then how in the world can we go back and live in it? If I am dead to it, how can I go back and participate in that life anymore?
You can just see some of the people Paul is writing to wondering, “When did I die? I don’t remember dying. When did I die to the old lifestyle? When did that take place?” Well, the Apostle Paul answers it for us in verse 3: “Or do you not know [The word “know” there means “understanding”—are you walking around with no understanding of this?] that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?” You mean to tell me when I put my faith into Him, when I turned away from that old lifestyle, when I turned to Him and put my faith into Him, then He does something? It says He baptizes me into His body with His Holy Spirit.
The word baptize means “to be identified with.” Over in I Corinthians 10:2 it says, “and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” Now show me how they are going to be baptized into Moses. That’s identification. They were identified with Moses.
So, when you come to the word “baptize,” the key meaning here would be more than just immersed into His body. I think the “identification with” here is really what he is bringing out. We were identified with His death. All of us who have put our faith into Jesus Christ, who are baptized into Him, are identified with His death.
Now how in the world have we been baptized into His death? When did that death occur to the old life style of Adam? Well, it occurred when Jesus died on the cross. This is what you’ve got to realize! Why did Jesus have to be a man? He died on the cross not as God. Yes, He’s the God-man, but He died as a man. God doesn’t die! He died as a man, and He rose as a man! He was our representative. Everything I was in Adam was represented in Christ. He became sin for me. He went to the cross to pay the penalty of what I owe. He paid a debt He did not owe. I owed a debt I could not pay. The moment I put my faith into Jesus Christ, miraculously I am cast back 2000 years. I’m up on the cross with Him, and the old person I was—in sin: controlled by it, absolutely disrespectful of what God wanted, and living a life that was irreverent—died at that point. I’m identified with His death.
How can a person who is a Christian go back and continue to live in the sin that he used to live in? Something has drastically happened from within. We have been talking about justification. Now we are changing gears. Though the word is never mentioned, now we are looking at regeneration; of what takes place in salvation. Something happened on the inside. Something died. But not just died—and we’ll get to that in a moment. When I put my faith into Jesus Christ and in His death, I am identified with Him. What I was in Adam—all that old lifestyle, controlled by sin, couldn’t help myself—died with Him.
But now look. Not only am I dead to sin, but secondly, I am now alive in Jesus. Verses 4 and 5 tell us that. If you can’t get excited about this, you just need to go back and work through the process one more time. This is what happened to you when you put your faith into Jesus! It ought to help you tomorrow and every day from that point on to understand that you can’t go back and live like a dead man! That old man is dead! You are no longer in its power. The penalty has been paid by Jesus. It is no longer accounted to you. When you die, death won’t reign over you. Your spirit will go immediately to be with the Lord Jesus Christ. Of course, when He died, Jesus conquered death. So death doesn’t reign over me any more. His life reigns in me!
Watch this: verses 4 and 5 of chapter 6. “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.”
We had to die with Him. Look at that little phrase in verse 4, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death in order that.” That’s the little word hina. In other words, “a” comes before “b”. I’ve got to put my faith into Jesus Christ. When I put my faith into Him, there’s a death that’s going to occur. He’s going to baptize me and identify me with His death. That’s got to happen in order that I might now participate in His newness of life. The word for “new” there means qualitatively, totally, brand new.
Now ask me again, “Can a Christian go back and live like he used to live?” Well, how can you if you are dead and you have been risen to walk in NEWNESS of His life? A life that is brand new, qualitatively different? “How different?” In the sense that sin no longer controls you. In the sense that you have Someone who lives in you now that gives you power to do what you couldn’t do before; Someone to convict you of sin; Someone to give you knowledge that you didn’t have before. I can’t go back! I’m walking in newness of His life. He says, “as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”
Verse 5 just paints the picture crystal clear. “For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.” That little word “have become” is perfect active indicative. Perfect tense means something happened back here that is bearing a present result over here. That’s perfect tense. Now he says, “if we have become united with Him.” The word “with” is the Greek word meta. We are with one another. The Lord Jesus was with them when He was on this earth. He was alongside them, in a room together with. That’s the word meta.
Another word for “together with” is the little word sun, which means not only are we together with one another, but we are so mixed in that nobody can tell the difference one from the other. We can’t get apart from each other. Let me give you the illustration I have given you before—making biscuits. Let’s just say you take all the ingredients and put them out on a piece of waxed paper. You put the flour down and the shortening or whatever else goes in them. You put it all on the piece of paper. Now all of those ingredients can be separated, but at the same time they are with each other—meta. Okay? But take all of those ingredients and mix them together. Just stir them all together. Cut them out and put them on a pan. Let’s put them in the oven, and let’s bake them. After they have baked for a while they come out as luscious biscuits. Once they are baked, that’s that little word sun. No scientist has ever been able to separate those ingredients out again.
“You mean to tell me that I’ve been united so much into His death that now I am united in His resurrection? When He raised from the dead, that’s when the newness of life started for me?” Absolutely. Now let me ask you again. Can a believer, one who has put his faith into Jesus Christ, go back and live as if he is still in Adam? You make up your own mind! No wonder John says you can’t habitually sin and call yourself a Christian! You are dead to that lifestyle! You have been united. The word has the idea of planted together with. It’s like taking a branch and grafting it into a tree. The life of the tree now floods into the branch. Jesus used that same picture in John 15. He said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. And because you abide in Me, you will bear much fruit. It’s not you doing it, it’s Me in you doing it!” This is the resurrected life that we are now intertwined into. There is nothing that can separate us from that!
When you were in Adam, sin caused you to do what you were doing. You couldn’t get away from it. But now that you have put your faith into Christ, you have been taken out of Adam and put into Christ and you are so united with Him that His Spirit lives in you. The “Divine Referee of God” has changed you from within. That’s regeneration.
“You mean I sinned before because I was a sinner, so now if I sin it is only because of choice. Is that right?” You are exactly right! When you find a Christian saying, “Hey, I can’t stop sinning,” you have a Christian who is really saying, “No, I won’t!” You have the life of Jesus in you now! You can’t go back and live like you want to live. There is no way you can do that! You bring total blasphemy to everything Jesus Christ did for you. You shame what salvation is all about. You are a new person in Christ. You’re saved “out of sin” and “into Him.”
Why do I still sin? Paul is going to tell you that the lust of our flesh is entrenched into this body that we still live in. It still pulls us away from what our spirit is trying to get us to do. But we are no longer in Adam. That means that I am responsible for choices of sin. I am responsible. You see, when I come to Christ, I don’t necessarily confess my sins. I mean I do, but I confess my sins to prove evidence that I am a sinner. I’m saved from sin—the sin of Adam that I was tagged with that made me do what I did! Now God has changed me.
Now I have to deal with sins. I have to deal with sins! As a believer, we must remember that we don’t sweep sin under the rug. We must put it under the blood. John tells us how to deal with it. There is only one way to deal with it. Confess it with a willingness to turn away from it in the power of His life that now lives resident within us. We can live in the victory that God gives to us.