Lifestyle Holiness- Romans 6:1-15


Romans 6:1-15

mountain range
In the first study of this series, we pointed out the significance of Romans.  It stands alone in the Bible as the essential “life manual” for the Christian – it is the greatest “mountain range” of God’s Word.  Now at the midpoint of the book,  chapters 6-8 rise up as the major “summit”, providing in these three chapters a concise and complete statement of successful or victorious Christian living.  The importance of this section requires that we provide a bit more material for Romans 6, mountain climbersso be prepared to take a little longer on this study.  The climb is a challenge, but the view at the summit is spectacular!

While the distinctly practical section of Romans starts in chapter 12, chapter 6 starts to move us in that direction.  From the major doctrinal foundation of chapters 1-5 (Justification by Faith), Paul now drives us forward into the personal reality of being “in Christ” – 6:1-15 provides us with a “magna carta” statement of our spiritual holiness being a practical reality in our life.  For the true Christian, these three facts now stand true for the rest of eternity:  1) we have placed our faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the Cross; 2) based on that, we are redeemed from the penalty of our sin and born again as a child of God; 3) we are declared completely and permanently righteous by God.

Francis Schaeffer was one of the 20th century’s greatest biblical theologians, and of his best books in the 70’s is titled “How Should We Then Live?”  This important question calls out from the three facts above:  If and since we are declared righteous in Christ, how should that impact our life?  That is a profoundly important question!  This book became a modern Christian classic and impacted many people in determining not to let the selfish humanism of the day rule in our life.  Paul, in Romans 6, says it this way – are we an instrument of righteousness or unrighteousness?  The conduct of our daily life needs to be a demonstration of Christlikeness – it needs to be our natural and constant lifestyle.

take notesBefore we go through some specific observations in the chapter, please take the time to read through Romans 6:1-15 a couple of times.  Be sure to have your Bible Study Journal handy (either paper or computer) so you can note your impressions, questions, ideas for further study.  Remember, we’re serious about digging deeply into God’s Word so that we can know Him intimately and successfully reflect Him in the needy world we live in!

take notesA few questions to ponder after reading the passage:

  1. In what ways does Paul say being “in Christ” impacts the Christian?
  2. How can you make being “resurrected in Christ” actually be a living fact in your life?
  3. Can a Christian enjoy the things of the world and still be an instrument of righteousness?
  4. In the movie “The Princess Bride”, Miracle Max says of Westley “It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead.” So, on a scale of 1-10, how dead are you to sin?  Oops….
  5. In what ways are you an instrument in God’s hands to show His righteousness?

Study Notes:

  • 6:1 – “What shall we say then??” This is a rhetorical question – he’s not waiting for anyone to actually give an answer, because he’s going to do that!  Paul uses this technique often in his letters as an effective way to drive his thesis of argument forward.  For this question in v.1, we need to recognize the clear dependency he has on the last verses of ch. 5  In 5:18, Paul uses the strong concluding connector “So then”, expressing that these thoughts bring together the conclusions of most of Romans 5.  Note also the logical “For” in 5:19 and the final concluding “So that” in 5:21 – if you string this together you can see that Paul makes a major statement of how God has dealt with sin.  Sin abounded, grace increased – sin reigned in death, grace now reigns through righteousness.
  • 6:2 – Does Paul’s message of justification by faith and the “abounding grace” of 5:20 encourage us to keep on sinning so that we enjoy more of God’s abundant grace. Paul makes the answer easy:  “No way!”  Sin may still be functioning in the world, but is should not be for the believer.
  • 6:3-5 – “Don’t you know…?” Paul often uses this interjection of wanting the listener not to “be ignorant” in his letters.  Paul says “It’s possible that you haven’t thought this through carefully enough, and it’s important that you completely understand and apply this truth about spiritual life!”
  • We must get to the place where we understand  that what we see & hear physically right now on earth is NOT all there is to life. Our “real life” is spiritual, and by being redeemed, justified by faith, we are rescued from everlasting separation from God (death, hell) and assured of everlasting life in God’s presence.
  • In these verses, Paul makes concrete statements about our spiritual life, based on our faith in and relationship to Christ and His finished work on the Cross.
  • Baptism here is not referring to our physical baptism by immersion in a pool of water (which every Christian should do soon after receiving Christ as Savior, in order to be obedient to Him and be a testimony of His death and resurrection).  In this verse, Paul is referring to the work of the Holy Spirit to place us spiritually “in Christ”, we are immersed as it were into Christ.  Some additional verses to look at on this subject:  1 Corinthians 6:17; 10:2; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 3:27; 1 Peter 3:21.
  • Paul builds a major premise in verses 6-13 that is perhaps the strongest single statement on living a godly Christian life in the Bible.  It is summarized with three words:  Know, Reckon, Yield.  In 6:6-10, he tells us that we must know with certainty the facts of our being in Christ.  Then in verses 11-12,  we are to reckon, take into account, think through logically, conclude action steps based on what we know.  And finally , verse 13, we are to yield ourselves to God as an instrument of righteousness.  Check out Romans 12:1-2 for more on yielding to God.

Rest assured, there is much that can be discussed in this amazing passage.  Please go carefully through these thoughts and questions, and allow God to teach you by His Holy Spirit.