1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Romans 6:1-2 (LSB)
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16 Do you not know that when you go on presenting yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? Romans 6:15-16 (LSB)
As I stated in yesterday’s post, if the Gospel is preached correctly, that is, with justification by faith alone being central with absolutely no merit or work by the believer having any bearing on it, then the two rhetorical questions Paul raised in the two passages above should be on the forefront of the minds of all hearing it….
Justification by faith as a gift from God, not by our doing in any part (Ephesians 2:8,9) leaves us open bare before God. We have no religiosity to hide behind. We have no steps to perform. We have no decisional thing we can perform that we can point back to that is our lynchpin that is our point of “our decision for Christ.” No, Justification as Paul preached it is foreign to all of that. So where does all that come from? It comes in from people confusing their justification with their sanctification in many cases.
1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:1-4 (LSB)
Some of you may be saying right now, “Wait a minute Ratliff! Here you have been saying all through this study that our salvation is by faith alone and we earn nothing by doing works.” That’s right! Our justification is exactly that, but not our sanctification. Our justification is God’s work alone. On the other hand, our sanctification is one in which we cooperate with Him in His plan of refining work of making us holy and Christlike. No matter what our past has been prior to our justification, all in Christ will experience personal holiness (1 Corinthians 6:9-11a; 1 Timothy 1:12,13). In v1 we see that the proper preaching of the Gospel, justification by faith based solely on the free grace of God, will garner criticism from some who see that as in invitation for people to be converted and then live as they please, sinning as much as they wanted. I have actually “communicated” with some Roman Catholics on this very thing who have told me flat out that the doctrine of Justification by Faith lets people sin freely. What is Paul’s answer? Μὴ γένοιτο or “Not may it become!” The LSB translated that as, “May it never be!” The doctrine of Justification by Faith based solely on the free grace of God does not lead to more sin. Why? Paul gives us the answer in v2. All truly in Christ have died to sin. This is explained more fully in v3, “Or do you not know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” Who did the baptizing? It was God. God buries each believer with Christ by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. What is this newness of life?