Trust and Obey – Everyday and All the Time
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” (Romans 6:1–3)
As we’ve been working through the theme of “Trust and Obey”, I came across a foolish presentation that obeying the Lord and His commands is unnecessary as when we sin this gives God the opportunity to show more grace and mercy. The idea being – if grace increases in proportion to how sin increases, then why not sin as much as possible in order to give God the opportunity to look even better by extending that much more grace? It sounds perverse – and it is – but strangely some have followed that logic.
If you want to see some really weird stuff, study early church history – the lives of the monastics,
monks and what were called ‘ascetics’. One bishop in the 3rd century was shocked to see a group
of Christians in prison sentenced to die for their faith and devoting their last night in prison to drunkenness and immorality. Their reasoning was that since a martyrs death would make them perfect, what would it matter if spent their last night sinning? A group called the Ranters developed a doctrine of the ‘holiness of sin’. One leader cursed for an entire hour in the pulpit; others got drunk and blasphemed in public. Their reasoning was that they were actually glorifying God – since God looks good when He forgives sin. But Paul had no time for such
ridiculous ideas and perversions of God’s grace. To refute this idea, Paul uses the analogy of life
versus death. He says “Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” (Romans 6:2) No Christian resurrected to a new life should be trying to dive back into the grave. Sin has the smell of death about it – it was what separated us from God. Why would anyone choose it?
But this does not fully settle the question, because you and I know that sin does not always
immediately have the smell of death to it. In fact sin is very alluring for us fallen humans. Lust,
greed, envy, pride have a real allure to them at first. Why do you think advertising costs so much
and is so successful on TV? But Paul reminds us that we made a conscious decision to trust Christ and obey Christ. In so doing to see sin the way that God sees it. He reminds us starting in verse 3 that our baptism is a conscious portrayal of death to sin and new life in Christ. Our new life gave us the power to say ‘No’ to sin. Paul knew we would have to keep making that decision daily, so he used words like “Consider yourselves dead to sin” and “do not let sin control the way you live”. In other words, Trust and Obey is to be our daily and lifelong mission and purpose as we live out our lives on earth.
“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.” (Romans 6:11–12)