Romans Chapter Six

Who's Your Master?

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In our study of Romans chapter six, we look at sanctification and the question of who is in control of your life. At the end of chapter five, Paul explained how we are made right with God through grace by faith. Now, he continues by explaining what it means to live like we are saved.

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Romans 6:1 & 2

So then, are we to say, "Let's keep on sinning, so that there can be more grace"? Heaven forbid! How can we, who have died to sin, still live in it?

Paul opens this section of the letter to the Romans with some questions that are based on the fact that we are saved by grace. The penalty for our sins (past, present, and future) was paid for so the question is should we just do anything that we want knowing that it was already paid for. He answers the question with an emphatic no and the reason is that we died to sin. Notice, he said we died but did not say that we were dead to sin. We died to the old nature and sin no longer controls us but we still sin.

Romans 6:3

Don't you know that those of us who have been immersed into the Messiah Yeshua have been immersed into his death?

Baptism is talking about being identified with Yeshua Messiah. It was our sins that he took to the cross because he had none of his own. We are a part of his body and as such we died to sin just as he did.

Romans 6:4

Through immersion into his death we were buried with him; so that just as, through the glory of the Father, the Messiah was raised from the dead, likewise we too might live a new life.

Because we are in him, we were buried with him and are raised a new creation. The old self was put to death and the new was raised in its place.

Romans 6:5

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will also be united with him in a resurrection like his.

If we are in him, then we are in him forever. Our old nature was put to death with him and so we are sure that we will be raised with him as well. There are those who believe that we can lose our salvation and this verse (as well as others) helps us to see that that is not true.

Romans 6:6 & 7

We know that our old self was put to death on the execution-stake with him, so that the entire body of our sinful propensities might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For someone who has died has been cleared from sin.

The penalty for sin was death and, since we were united with Yeshua Messiah in his death, that old self was made powerless. We are no longer controlled by the old nature of the flesh but are now freed to walk in the Spirit.

Romans 6:8

Now since we died with the Messiah, we trust that we will also live with him.

This is the basis for the hope that we have in Yeshua Messiah. Because he was raised from the dead and so was declared to be the son of God, we have confidence that we, too, will be raised to life.

Romans 6:9

We know that the Messiah has been raised from the dead, never to die again; death has no authority over him.

Death was the result of sin and man was never designed to die but was subject to the effects of wrong choices. Because Yeshua was raised from the dead, sin and death were defeated and have no power anymore for those who are in him. That is a good reason for us to be fearless in our faith and our witnessing for him. What can anyone or anything do to us? They cannot even kill us because we are guaranteed to live forever with God.

Romans 6:10

For his death was a unique event that need not be repeated; but his life, he keeps on living for God.

Yeshua Messiah died and rose again eliminating the penalty for sin for those that trust in him. His new life is our hope and the purpose is to please God. It is the same for us when we accept is gift of mercy and grace. We are raised to a new life with a new purpose which is to glorify God.

Romans 6:11

In the same way, consider yourselves to be dead to sin but alive for God, by your union with the Messiah Yeshua.

We too are dead to the power of sin and its penalty. Sin does not have the power to control our lives anymore as we no longer live for self but for God.

Romans 6:12

Therefore, do not let sin rule in your mortal bodies, so that it makes you obey its desires;

When we let Yeshua control our lives, he reigns in our lives instead of the sin. Although we will still commit some sins, we do not continually follow our own evil desires but instead follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 6:13

and do not offer any part of yourselves to sin as an instrument for wickedness. On the contrary, offer yourselves to God as people alive from the dead, and your various parts to God as instruments for righteousness.

All of our efforts and actions are either for good or for evil. Since we have been bought by Yeshua Messiah, we should serve him and do the things that are right and good. He has given us the power to do this through the Holy Spirit. In everything we do, we can ask the simple question of whether it is for wickedness or righteousness. If it is not for righteousness, then we should not be doing it because it does not glorify God.

Romans 6:14

For sin will not have authority over you; because you are not under legalism but under grace.

The Mosaic Law was given to control the old nature (flesh) but, when we come to faith in Yeshua Messiah, the old nature is done away with and we are a new creation. This new creation is not of the flesh but of the very Spirit of God and therefore the law is not needed to control something that is no more. Through the power of that Spirit, sin is not our master as we have the very creator of the universe living and walking with us.

Romans 6:15

Therefore, what conclusion should we reach? "Let's go on sinning, because we're not under legalism but under grace"? Heaven forbid!

Now that Paul has established that we are not under the law, he gets down to the question of why we don't just do anything that we want. You can almost feel the sarcasm as he asks these questions. To the early disciples, it was ridiculous to think that they would continue in sin after being saved by Yeshua.

Romans 6:16

Don't you know that if you present yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, then, of the one whom you are obeying, you are slaves - whether of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to being made righteous?

There are two forces at work in us which are the flesh (sinful nature) and the Spirit. If you want to know where you are at in your walk with the Lord, you can ask yourself which one is in control. If you are constantly disobeying God and doing the same sinful things, then sin may have you in its grasp. You can unlock those chains which have you bound through confession and repentance through the power of the Holy Spirit. Listening to God through that Spirit and obeying him leads to a closer walk with the Lord (righteousness).

Romans 6:17 & 18

By God's grace, you, who were once slaves to sin, obeyed from your heart the pattern of teaching to which you were exposed; and after you had been set free from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness.

As Paul says here, we all used to be slaves to sin but, after hearing the gospel of Yeshua Messiah, we were saved and sin no longer has a hold on our lives. Paul thanks God that they not only heard and accepted Yeshua as savior but also as their lord and master. That means that we serve him (do as he says) and therefore are slaves to righteousness instead of sin.

Romans 6:19

(I am using popular language because your human nature is so weak.) For just as you used to offer your various parts as slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led to more lawlessness; so now offer your various parts as slaves to righteousness, which leads to being made holy, set apart for God.

Paul reminds us that, when we were still slaves to sin, we gave it our all by chasing every kind of ungodliness. Just as we chased after the flesh, we are to chase after the things of holiness. In short, we should spend as much time and effort on things of God as we did on the things of the flesh before we came to Yeshua Messiah. This is also what Yeshua was talking about when he spoke of the demons returning to the clean house (see Matthew 12:43-45).

Romans 6:20 & 21

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in relationship to righteousness; but what benefit did you derive from the things of which you are now ashamed? The end result of those things was death.

Paul is reminding us here that, before we came to faith in Yeshua Messiah, we were not under the control of the Holy Spirit (righteousness). Therefore, we could wallow in sin just as a pig wallows in the mud. He asks a question and we might put it like this today: "How did that work for you?" Just like the pig, we just got more dirty and, if we had kept on, we would have died (been separated from God for everlasting punishment) because of the sin.

Romans 6:22

However, now, freed from sin and enslaved to God, you do get the benefit - it consists in being made holy, set apart for God, and its end result is eternal life.

Now, Paul reminds us that we were set free from the power of sin by Yeshua on the cross and now we serve God. We are in fact bondslaves which were slaves that had been set free but willingly submitted themselves to serving their masters. This leads to holiness which is being set apart for God and eternal life with him.

Romans 6:23

For what one earns from sin is death; but eternal life is what one receives as a free gift from God, in union with the Messiah Yeshua, our Lord.

We are now reminded of why we subject ourselves to God and that is the fact that we all were on the way to physical and spiritual death because of sin. That is all that sin has the power to provide in the end but, through the blood of Yeshua Messiah, we are saved and will live forever in the presence of God.

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