A Fresh Look at Romans -Chapter 6
Romans Chapter 6
When Paul wrote this letter to the Roman Christians he anticipated what results his strong teaching on God’s wonderful grace was going to bring. Some of the Christians would use it as an excuse to sin. After all, if God’s grace is given freely then the more I sin the more grace I receive and so sin becomes irrelevant. Human nature looks for gaps to take and in order to prevent this from happening Paul immediately squashes that thinking. Prevention is always better that cure. Paul had heard about poor decisions being made in the Corinthian church so he wrote to them. In his letter the church in Rome Paul aimed to head off this problem before it began. In some of the false Gnostic teaching of that time there was a belief that the body and spirit were totally separated and so sin did not matter as it was a mere physical thing.
Paul starts this chapter with a strong statement on the matter. Grace must result in people turning away from sin. The new life that God offers us is marked by a rejection of what was done in the old life because the new master who we now serve demands it. While living in the world, sin rules and so the new life demands a rejection of that kind of life. Remember that it is a process that continues throughout the Christians life.
In an important statement in 6:3, 4 Paul describes how this new life starts. In agreement with Peter’s statement in Acts 2:38 and Jesus’ great commission as recorded in Matthew 28:18, 19 he reminds the Roman Christians that when they are baptized into Christ they move from one condition to another. Some of them were probably in Rome on the day of Pentecost where the Church started (Acts 2:6).
The new life is marked by obedience to the new master, Jesus Christ. In a world where the relationship between a slave and master was clearly understood, Paul draws on this understanding to draw a parallel for the Christian life. While faith brings us to Christ, faith then demands obedience and a new life as was so graphically illustrated in Paul’s own life. James, the brother of Jesus, in his letter explains that faith without works is dead. No one can earn their salvation as it is a free gift offered by God’ grace. But once it has been accepted it changes everything, and this is the new life that Paul refers to in 6:4.
As Christ rose from the dead, so the re-born person rises from the burial of the old sinful person to begin a new life. The burial of the old life takes place in the waters of baptism and the new life begins then.(Romans 6:3-6) The believer rises from the symbolic watery grave to walk in newness of life. What a gift and what a challenge!
Jesus told Nicodemus, as recorded in John’s Gospel (John 3:3), “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” and then explains if further; “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John3:5 -NKJV). A rebirth means a new relationship with God and also a new relationship with the world, all possible through faith and God’s abundant grace. With it come both the promise of a new life and its responsibilities. As this great letter progresses Paul takes the church in Rome and us today on a journey of redemption; from a lost state to a saved state; from a life that serves self to a life in service of others. In this process he explains the great terms, redemption, justification, sanctification and glorification. It truly is possibly the greatest exposition of the Christian Faith ever written! Not always easy to understand in some places, but as it is seen in its flow it has to move the reader today in a marvellous way as it have moved the Romans many years ago. This is the magic of the Bible message; it is relevant in every age and every situation. As one great reformer is reported to have said;” if you get Romans God gets you!”
Study Plan: Continue to read a chapter every week and then send your favourite verse or any verse that struck your heart plus any comments to me at email@example.com This way we will keep the study going during lockdown.
References: Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Barclay, W. The Book of Romans
Bruce, F.F. Romans