Romans 5 is a resounding summary of the gospel. Those who believe in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ and have faith that His perfect life and His suffering and death are sufficient to save them from their guilt and shame are declared righteous. They are standing in grace; they have peace with God; He favors them freely without their earning it. They shall conquer sin. They shall not be destroyed by trouble, sickness, or death. Their relationship with God makes all the difference!
“But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 5:20-21, KJV).
If this all is true, why not just live joyfully without worrying about sin any longer? You could do whatever you wish since you have been declared righteous and are on your way to eternal life. After all, God looks upon you with love in His eyes!
Paul shows this as ridiculous logic. If we have trusted in Christ, our old life of sin has been buried and we have been raised to a new life focused on our special relationship with God. Our life no longer consists of fulfilling our own desires or pursuing pleasures, but seeking to please the One who looks upon us with love and gives us strength.
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof…but yield yourselves unto God..for sin shall not have dominion over you:..” (Romans 6:12-14, KJV).
There is no room here for “Second Blessings,” or “Saints,” or two classes of Christians, one “Carnal” while the top class is “Spiritual.” These are gross misrepresentations of this passage. Instead, this relationship applies to all people of faith.
Everything changes when you look at yourself in the light of this special relationship with God. You know you are not perfect…otherwise you have no need for imputed righteousness. But, you don’t want to do anything that would offend your Father. You do not desire to keep on sinning nor to be devastated when sin pops up again.
That is why Paul wrote Romans 6. He wanted to encourage you to live as God’s servant, seeking to please Him by doing what is right. The result is a life set apart from worldliness and dedicated to God.
“…even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness…you have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Romans 6:19,21, KJV).
An old hymn describes this relationship and this process of sanctification well:
“When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, What a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will, He abides with us still. And with all who will trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear, Not a sorrow we share, But our toil He doth richly repay; Not a grief or a loss, Not a frown or a cross, But is blest if we trust and obey.
But we never can prove The delights of His love, Until all on the altar we lay; For the favor He shows And the joy He bestows Are for them who will trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet We will sit at His feet Or we’ll walk by His side in the way; What He says we will do, where He sends we will go; Never fear, only trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey” (John H. Sammis, 1846-1919).
Living in a loving relationship with God is no excuse for sin.
Then why did Paul write Romans 7?