“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1,2).
ONE OF OUR GREATEST CHALLENGES IS TO RESPOND RIGHTLY TO GOD’S GRACE. Surely there is no greater gift than the forgiveness of our sins in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. But we must determine not to “receive the grace of God in vain” (2 Corinthians 6:1).
In Romans 6:1,2, Paul was dealing with the false notion that if God forgives our sins by grace then it doesn’t matter how we live: we may sin with impunity, knowing that grace will save us anyway. But if a Christian thought this way, he or she would obviously have a confused concept of what it means to obey the gospel. “How,” Paul asks, “can we who died to sin still live in it?”
When we are baptized into Christ, we are baptized into His death. We die to the sins that separated us from God, and we dedicate ourselves to walking in “newness of life” (Romans 6:4). But what does this mean at the practical level? What qualities of character will regulate the life of one who is obeying the gospel?
Commitment. At the very least, we must commit ourselves to obedience to Christ. Words like “promise” and “vow” are not too strong to describe the decisiveness of our new life in Christ.
Confession. When we fail to think or act as we know Christ would want, we are to confess our sin to Him honestly. Most of us would do well to make the specific confession of our actual sins more of a daily practice. Dying to sin means confessing our sins.
Repentance. Just as confession should be our habit, so should repentance. Like David, we should seek God’s help in seeing our sins so that we can correct them immediately (Psalm 19:12-14). In this life, dying to sin does not mean perfection — it means repentance.
If commitment, confession, and repentance are not a part of our daily walk with God, we need to go back and remember the “death” we died when we were baptized. If at that time we did not honestly decide to turn our backs on sin — no ifs, ands, or maybes — then we need to do so. There is no hope of defeating the enemy if we still dine at his table from time to time. If we have died to sin, the only word sufficient to keep it out of our hearts is “No!”
“It is the great moment of our lives when we decide that sin must die right out, not be curbed or suppressed or counteracted, but crucified” (Oswald Chambers).