Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 1 Study # 1
April 24, 2016
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection:
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
1901 ASV Translation:
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2 God forbid. We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein?
3 Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
4 We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have become united with [him] in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of his resurrection;
6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin;
7 for he that hath died is justified from sin.
8 But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him;
9 knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death no more hath dominion over him.
10 For the death that he died, he died unto sin once: but the life that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
11 Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus.
- I. What Shall We Say Then?
- A. At issue: our response to previous declaration(s).
- 1. The issue of "saying".
- a. The word so translated is used eleven times by Paul in Romans.
- 1) The first use is in 3:5 where we find Paul calling for a conclusion to a concept set forth. This makes the word to actually mean, "what shall we conclude?".
- 2) Next use is 4:1 where, again, Paul is calling for some kind of "doctrinal conclusion" from what the Scriptures declare.
- 3) Then, in 4:18 Paul moves away from "what shall we conclude?" to the use of the word to identify a specific utterance made by God to Abraham as a "promise" ("...according to that which was spoken...").
- 4) But in 6:1, 7:7, 8:31, 9:14 and 9:30 he returns to his use of the word to call for a "doctrinal conclusion".
- 5) And in the midst of those verses is 9:19 where he anticipates an objection to his doctrine ("You will say, then, unto me..."). He does this again in 11:19 ("You will say, then, ..."). But these two additional verses are actually a continuation of Paul's notion that people are attempting to draw some sort of "conclusion" to his doctrine.
- 6) And in 9:20 he uses the word to express a man's complaint against God ("Shall the thing formed say to him that formed, Why hast thou made me thus?").
- b. Clearly, Paul uses the term to call for some kind of firm doctrinal conclusion from the facts set forth.
- 2. The issue of "then".
- a. Romans 5 has a strategic place between chapters four and six.
- 1) Romans 4 is all about how the most fundamental principle of "promise" is that the one who makes the promise(s) is the one who is obligated to keep it/them and the one who is given the promise(s) is supposed to "believe" the one making them and "depend" upon the content of the promise(s) to be realized in divine timing by divine power.
- 2) Romans 6 has a repetition of a single notion in the major thought-divisions in the chapter: "shall we continue in sin?" (6:1 and 15). This makes it as clear as it can be that to draw any conclusion that permits a continuation in sin is a major error, a major false conclusion.
- 3) Romans 5 presents the doctrine that might be misunderstood to allow such a major false conclusion: the triumph of grace over sin.
- b. The particular issue of "then" is Paul's final declaration in chapter five: where sin "abounded", grace "superabounded".
- 1) The most obvious impact of this declaration is that "grace" overcomes "sin".
- 2) The question of our text, then, is this: what is it about Paul's doctrine that would lead anyone to even begin to think that he was saying that we ought to continue to indulge ourselves "in sin"?
- a) Paul wrote: "...thusly also the grace should reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ the Lord of us".
- b) The only "wiggle room" issues I can see are two:
- i. In 5:19 Paul used the future tense of the verb "...shall be constituted...". It might be that he had the post-resurrection reality in view, indicating that he was only saying that once we were out of this world, life, body, we would be "constituted righteous" so that we had no other options to exercise. That would mean that he was not writing about our current lives in this world, time, and body and that would open the door to the question about how we are to presently live. That, then, would leave the door open to the idea that how we presently live is of no consequence and, thus, we are free to "continue in sin" as long as we are still in our Adamic frame. In other words, there is no need to struggle against any/all fleshly impulses since our "salvation" is only to be realized once this body is redeemed and its impulses are altered to serve only righteousness.
- ii. In 5:21 Paul used the subjunctive mood of the verb "...should/shall reign..." in respect to "the Grace". This, again, might put the issue into a "future potential" rather than a present one.
- c) At issue are the questions of "when?" and "to what degree?" are the redeemed "constituted" righteous.
- i. It is obvious that Adam's sin "constituted" his progeny "sinners". Adam's offspring "sin" as a matter of course without interruption. They, as "sinners", never do "righteousness". "There is none that doeth good, not even one" (Romans 3:12). It is impossible for a corrupt tree ("sinners") to produce "good" fruit ("righteousness") even as Jesus said (Matthew 7:18).
- ii. Since Paul used the same verb ("constituted") in respect to "the many" and their character ("righteous") as he did in respect to those "constituted sinners" by Adam's act, is it out of line to think that Jesus' act would produce "righteous" people who can only do righteousness?
- 3) Thus, the false, who are typically inclined to draw false conclusions, wanted to use the notion that the superior impact of "grace" was only to be realized in the postresurrection future. This would mean that the present behavior is a non-issue and the continued production of "sins" is not only inevitable, it is actually permissible.
- B. Paul's anticipated conclusion by those who do not understand: Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
- 1. Shall we "continue" in the sin...
- a. The word "continue" is an intensified form of a basic verb that means "to remain". It is used in the New Testament in multiple places and its meaning is "to persist in doing something" (John 8:7), or "to stay in a place rather than going away from it" (Acts 10:48). The basic idea is the same: continue in a place or activity rather than moving on.
- b. Paul's meaning could be one of two...
- 1) Shall we remain in "sin" as the condition that exists for those "in" Adam rather than moving "into" Christ?
- 2) Shall we continue to "sin" rather than moving on to a different activity?
- c. However, it seems clear that Paul is addressing the latter: he says of the Romans that they have already "moved on" into Christ out of Adam, so that their behavior "in sin" ought also to change.
- 2. In what sense could anyone think that "grace" would "superabound" in respect to those who had moved into Christ but refused to move from "sinning" to "doing righteousness"?
- a. Paul had declared that "where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" (5:20), but that super abounding by grace was to allow grace to "rule" through righteousness (5:21).
- b. How, then, could anyone suggest that Paul was in favor of Christians continuing to sin?
- 1) As in the above material, Paul's anticipation was that some would conclude from his doctrine that it is inevitable that "believers" will "continue in sin" since they have not as yet been "constituted" righteous so that they do not have the ability to sin.
- 2) This misunderstanding is rooted in a lack of comprehension of the progression by which "constituting someone righteous" takes place.