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Monday, December 5, 2016

Saying "Down, Boy" to Sin (Romans 6:1)

"What shall we say, then" Shall we go on sinning so that grace may abound? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?"

We receive, through Christ, what we cannot produce on our own: righteousness before God. That is grace!

So far, in Romans, Paul has established the following facts:
  • Every descendant of Adam has a sin problem, indicated by the presence of each man's conscience and the moral law
  • Man's conscience acts as an internal moral policeman but it is unable to produce the righteousness demanded by God
  • The law acts as an external moral policeman but it is just as unable to produce God's demand for righteousness as are Abraham and Sarah, in their barrenness, to conceive the child promised to them by God
  • God Himself provides the required righteousness through the perfections of Jesus Christ, His death, and resurrection (Romans 5:19)
  • Man receives righteousness and enters into a relationship with God by faith in the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ
The most obvious question surfaces once these facts are established: What about the sin man commits after he trusts in what God has done for him in death, burial, and resurrection of Christ Jesus? How can I say, "Down, boy!" to sin?

Christ's death and resurrection justifies the guilty sinner and releases him from sin's dominion, sin's power. The believer no longer serves unrighteousness but is now free to present his mind, will, emotions and physical appetites to God. God's Spirit then produces the life of God in the spirit and soul of man.

These truths are to be appropriated by each believer, but appropriation of truth doesn't occur without a battle requiring personal resolution (saying "Down, boy!" to sin), a place of refuge, and a powerful resource:
  • Personal resolution - Believers possess an empowered will that says "Sin will not be my master" ("For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again . . . " - Proverbs 24:16).
  • Place of refuge - Believers have a place to run when tempted by sin ("The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe" - Proverbs 18:10)
  • Powerful resource - Believers have power to overcome sin by the Holy Spirit's indwelling ("But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you." - Romans 8:11)
The believer's attitude toward sin is never one of resignation and surrender to the flesh or sin's mastery, but rather one of resolution, submission to God and appropriating the Holy Spirit's presence and power.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Romans 5:1-8:17
  • What is man's state when Christ dies for him and how did man get in that state?
  • What does this tell you about man? about God?
  • How does the believer experience mastery over sin?
  • Why doesn't "keeping the Law" grant the believer victory over sin?
  • What does the presence of the Holy Spirit produce in a believer's life?
  • What role does man have in cooperation with the Holy Spirit to experience freedom from sin's mastery?
Turning truth into prayer
Where are you experiencing sin's defeat in your life? Ask the Lord to help you appropriate the Spirit's presence and power in this area of your life.