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Devotional by Ray Stedman for September 15- Dead to Sin

Topic:Dead to Sin

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
Romans 6:1-2


Notice three things about this question: Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? First, notice that the question is logical. This is a very good question. If your gospel does not arouse this question in somebody’s mind, there is likely something wrong with it, for it is the kind of question that ought to be asked at this point. There is something about the grace of God that immediately raises this issue. If sin is so completely taken care of by the forgiveness of Christ, then we don’t really need to worry about sins, do we? They are not going to separate us from Christ, so why not keep on doing them? It is a perfectly logical question.

But, second, notice that even our very nature would have us raise this question. It is not only logical, but it is also natural. That is because sin is fun, isn’t it? We like to do it. Otherwise we wouldn’t keep on doing it, we would not get involved in it. We know sins are bad for us, but we like to do them. Otherwise we would not. Therefore, any kind of a suggestion that tells us we can escape the penalty for our sin and still enjoy the action arouses a considerable degree of interest in us.

We must understand that Paul is talking about a lifestyle of sin, not just a single act or two of failure. He is talking about Christians who go on absolutely unchanged in their lifestyle from what they were before they were Christians. The word for “go on sinning” is in the present continuous tense. It means the action keeps on happening. Paul is talking about a habitual practice. Can we go on living this way? Finally, notice that this question is put in such a way as to sound rightly motivated and even pious. “Shall we go on sinning, so that grace may increase?” This suggests that our motivation for sinning is not just our own satisfaction — we are doing it so that grace may increase. God loves to show his grace. Therefore, if we go on sinning, he will have all the more opportunity. This question is not asked by a complete pagan, but by someone who seems intent on the glory of God. Having said that, we come now to the answer, the positive answer of Paul.

Paul immediately reacts with a very positive statement, bluntly put: “By no means! We are those who have died to sin. How can we live in it any longer?” This does not mean that sin is dead in me. It doesn’t mean that I have reached the place where I cannot sin. Neither does Paul mean by this that we are dying to sin; that we are gradually changing and growing, and there will come a time when we will sort of outgrow all this evil. It doesn’t mean that at all. Again, we must face clearly the statement the apostle makes. He puts it in a once for all way: We died to sin. It is impossible for your lifestyle to continue unchanged when you become a Christian. It is simply impossible, because a change has occurred deep in the human spirit. And those who protest, and say they can go on living this way, are simply revealing that there has been no change in their spirit, there has been no break with Adam. They are still in the same condition.

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Thank you, Father, for the grace of our Lord Jesus, who has the power to break the grip of death upon my life.

Life Application

Are we using God’s Grace as a pretext for continuing in our sins? What are three reasons why we continue this subterfuge? Are we choosing to live in Christ’s Resurrection Life rather than sin and death in Adam?

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