Deuteronomy 8:10 And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless (praise, give thanks to) the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
Ephesians 5:20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
It is easy to lose sight of Who makes our abundant life possible temporally and spiritually. Giving thanks and praise to the Lord Jesus Christ keeps our sight sharp and clearly focused on the One we owe everything to! Begin the practice of continually thanking the Lord for all things.
Read these verses through again and again over the next four days and practice what they teach us and you'll find the following verse absolutely true.
Luke 11:28 He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."
Romans 7:1 Or do you not know, brothers- for I am speaking to those who know the law- that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? 2 Thus a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. 3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress. 4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.
The Apostle Paul is speaking to the Jewish Christians in the Roman Church who think a person must live according to the Law to be acceptable to God. This is causing conflict with the Gentile Christians who believe it is not necessary to keep the special days of the Jewish Law. The Law is not binding on a dead person. The dead person is not bound to the requirement of the Law any more than a married woman is bound by law to her dead husband. The woman whose husband has died is free to remarry and not commit adultery. Likewise a person who has repented of his sin and believed the gospel has died to the Law. Jesus fulfilled the penalty of the Law for all who vicariously died with Him on the cross (Galatians 3:10-14 is a great explanation). Those who are crucified with Christ by faith are no longer slaves to sin (Romans 6:6-7) and no longer need to obey the passions of the sin nature that are aroused by the Law, an obedience that bears fruit for death (See Galatians 5:19-21 – the fruit of the flesh). We who belong to Christ are chosen to bear fruit for God (see Galatians 5:22-23 – the fruit of the Spirit).
Under the Old Covenant, the Law, we had to be perfect to be acceptable to God and have life. We needed to constantly make blood sacrifices to atone for our sin. To use the marriage illustration again, we, because we couldn’t live perfectly because of our sin nature, were always living under condemnation. We were married to a Law that never could accept us. We were married to a Law that wiped out ten “Atta boys” with one “O rats”. We died to the old covenant in Christ. We are now married to Christ under a new Covenant of faith. We are married to Christ who forgave all our sins once and for all and accepts us forever when we repent of our sin and believe the gospel. If we sin, we are not pleasing Christ, but we are not condemned. We are restored to fellowship with our husband, Christ, by confessing our sin and receiving His forgiveness. We are married to Christ who forgives our one “O rats” and rewards our ten “Atta boys”.
In Christ we serve in the new life of the Spirit. The Spirit, which we received when we believed the gospel (Ephesians 1:13-14), enables us to learn and remember truth (John 14:26) and empowers us to live the truth (Ezekiel 36:27; Ephesians 3:20). We access all the resources of the Spirit by faith in the Son of God (Galatians 2:20) and can live a new life. Who are you married to? One who condemns for one sin or one who forgives and maintains a life giving relationship? Are you married to the Law or to Christ? If you are married to Christ you are accepted forever. If you are married to Christ, He forgives every “O rats” upon confession to restore fellowship and reward all “Atta boys”.
Romans 6:20 When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? The end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Apostle takes us on memory lane. Think about when you were slaves of sin. Did that life lead to lasting satisfaction or to lasting shame? Slavery to sin leads to death of relationships, emotions, physical body and eternal torment if a person never repented of his sin and believed the gospel. For the believer, slavery to sin is an option, but a poor option since it does lead to death of relationships, emotions and physical body. Sin is pleasurable for a short time, but is destructive in the long run.
As believers in Christ, we need to remember we are no longer slaves to sin and live as slaves to God. We are free when we live as slaves to God (John 8:31, 32, 36). Obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ yields good fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). The fruit of being a slave to God leads to sanctification which means being restored to how we were originally created to be. It also leads to eternal life.
Remember the two facts of verse 23. The wages of sin is death. The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Eternal life begins upon belief in the gospel with the promise of having now every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies. Eternal life is consummated in an eternity with God, enjoying the new heavens and earth free from the presence of sin.
Do an inventory of when you, as a believer, were most fulfilled. Is it when you were practicing sin or when you were living the truth of the Word of God? As for me, there is no way I want to live as slave to sin! I hope you believe the same way.
Romans 6:16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
It is a fact that all people are slaves. People are either slaves to sin or slaves to the Lord Jesus Christ. People who have not repented of their sins and believed the gospel are slaves to sin. People who have repented of their sins and believed the gospel are slaves to the Lord Jesus Christ but can live as slaves of sin if they choose to. We call believers who choose to live as slaves to sin worldly Christians or people of the flesh, infants in Christ (1 Corinthians 3:1). When we obey sin, the consequences of our actions lead to death – death of relationships, emotions, and our physical body (think what happens when people are unfaithful, bitter or given to addictions).
Believers, who love Jesus, obey not merely out of obligation, but from love of God and man (see John 14:23; 1 John 5:2-3). Paul calls this being obedient from the heart in verse 17 of our passage. Obedience to Jesus is how we express our love to people and to God. Obedience to Jesus is how we experience righteousness. Living righteously benefits all people. Please remember we can only live righteously by faith in the Son of God (Galatians 2:20). When we believed the gospel, we committed ourselves to live obedient to the Lord (Romans 10:9). When we believed the gospel we were set free from slavery to sin and became slaves to righteousness. As believers in Jesus Christ we no longer need to follow the destructive commands of sin and are able to obey the life giving commands of Jesus. Are you a slave to sin? You are if you have not repented of your sin and believed the gospel. Have you believed the gospel, but are living as a slave to sin? Remember that you have been freed from sin and practice living by faith in the Son of God. Reread Romans 6:10-14 and attempt to obey the commands given expecting Jesus to fulfill your attempt with His power. Also, go back and review the milk of the word teachings in Hebrews 6:1-2. You have the ability to say no to any habit of sin. Use it daily. Never give up trying. Keep presenting yourself as a slave to righteousness and you will experience its peaceful fruit.
Romans 6:15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!
There are many people that sin, justify it with some excuse that some person or circumstance caused it, and say, “God will forgive me as I’m under His grace.” God will forgive the sin of a believer because he is under God’s grace, but the person truly under God’s grace makes no excuse for his sin, but repents, confesses it as sin, receives God’s forgiveness and seeks to obey God using the grace he has been given – grace given to enable obedience. The following paragraphs teach us concerning “The True Grace of God.”
God’s grace removes the penalty of sin. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Revelation 21:8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. “Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” True grace is unmerited favor.
God’s grace overcomes sin’ power. 2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Romans 6:6-7 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. Ephesians 1:13-14 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us. 2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. True grace has given us all the resources we need to obey.
God’s grace equips us to serve one another. 1 Peter 4:10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Romans 12:3 “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” True grace equips us with special gifts we are to use to serve others.
Are you making excuses for your sin or are you taking responsibility for your sin and overcoming it by faith in Jesus depending on His unmerited favor and upon all the resources He has given us – His grace? We have grace to obey, not to sin. God’s grace frees us from sin’s penalty and power, but is not a license to sin. Use the grace you have to obey and live free from the desolation sin causes.
Romans 6:4 We were buried therefore with him 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. Romans 6:11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Our scripture passage today begins and ends with facts. Fact one in verse four: We can walk in newness of life if we choose to because we repented of our sins and believed the gospel. Fact two in verse 14: Sin will not rule us because we are under grace (“unmerited favor” and “all the resources of God”). It is a fact, a certainty, that we do not need to let sin rule us. We can choose to let sin rule us, but we don’t have to. We have been freed from slavery to sin by God’s grace. We access His grace by faith. Faith is attempting to obey God, expecting Him to fulfill our attempt with His power.
Paul tells us how to live free from sin’s dominion in verses eleven through thirteen. Each of the ways is a command. Commands are not optional. The Lord first equips us and then commands us. We can keep His commands if we use the resources He has given us. We obey using His resources by faith in Jesus (Galatians 2:20).
Command One: Consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. We need to think the truth and not the lie of the sin nature. The sin nature says, “I can’t.” The truth says, “I can, because of God’s resources that I access by faith.”
Command two: Don’t let sin rule in your life so you obey its desires. We actually have the power to say no to sinful desires. We attempt to say “No” expecting the Lord to fulfill our attempt with His power.
Command three: Don’t present yourself to sin to do its desires that are unrighteous (wrong). If sin is knocking on your door, don’t open the door and present yourself to sin. Keep the door closed and pray (Matthew 26:41).
Command four: Do present yourself to the Lord to do His will. When the Lord knocks on the door, open it and offer to serve Him.
Remember that you have been equipped to obey the Lord’s commands. We obey by faith in the Son of God. Step out in obedience and learn how strong you are in Christ. Walk in newness of life.
Romans 6:4-10 We were buried therefore with him 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. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.
Paul is explaining that the new life we walk in begins with our walk in this sinful world and ends in eternity. Let’s go through the argument one verse at a time.
Romans 6:5, 8-9 instructs us we shall experience a physical resurrection of our body just as Jesus did. We will be equipped to live eternally in the new heavens and earth. This is not an “I hope so” type of thing, but is a hope that is certain.
Romans 6:6-7 instructs us that we can live free from slavery to sin in the body we have now because we have been crucified with Christ and are no longer slaves to sin. In 1 Corinthians 6:20 Paul teaches us that we have been bought at a price and are to glorify God in our body.
Romans 6:10 instructs us that Jesus’s death on the cross was sufficient to pay the penalty of sin and break the power of sin for all people.
From the moment we repent of our sin and believe the gospel, we have the ability to live free from slavery to sin. We will not experience any battle with sin when our body dies (or is transformed if we are alive when Christ returns for us). However, we experience a great battle with sin while in our current body. We have the capability of breaking free from habits of sin, but find growth is progressive. We begin as babies to walk in Christ. As we mature in Christ, we become stronger and stronger in our walk, just as babies do as they learn to walk. Think about how a baby gets to be a strong walker. The following things help a baby become a mature walker. The baby needs to be fed well to get strength. The baby needs to try and keep trying to walk. The baby needs lots of encouragement and help from older people. We need to have the same things if we are going to learn to walk strong in the Lord. We need to be fed the Word of God to be strengthened. We need to keep attempting to live the Word of God expecting the Lord to fulfill our attempt with His power. We need lots of encouragement and help from mature Christians. How are you walking? Is your walk getting stronger? Are you eating nutritious meals of God’s Word? Are you practicing God’s word? Are you around other mature believers who encourage you and help you walk by faith in the Son of God? If you can answer yes to all the “yes” or “no” questions, then you walk stronger every year. If you say no to any of those questions, then you are not walking up to your ability. Make the changes you need to make so you can walk strong in the Lord.
Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him 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.
Many people live accommodating sin in their lives rationalizing that it is okay because the grace they received from God wipes out all their sin no matter how much they sin. Yes, God, by His grace (“unmerited favor”) forgave all of our sins (past, present, future) when we repented and believed the gospel. No, believers do not have a license to sin to make grace (“unmerited favor”) abound. No, we are not to accommodate sin in our lives because all our sins are forgiven. Listen to the Apostle Paul, “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” “By no means!” Believers have received grace (“all the resources of God”) to obey God, not to accommodate sin. Upon believing the gospel a person receives the Holy Spirit and all the resources needed to live by God’s will (Ephesians 1:13-14, 19-20; 3:20; 2 Peter 1:3-4). When a believer is baptized in water, he is acknowledging he was baptized into Jesus’ death and burial, and raised to live a new life, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father.
What happens if a believer accommodates sin in his life? The believer’s heavenly Father disciplines him like an earthly father disciplines his child. The discipline is done out of love for the child. Hebrews 12:5-11 explains how God disciplines His children (believers) out of love for them. God disciplines His children so they won’t accommodate sin in their lives that leads to death, but will repent of it because of the painful discipline and experience the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
Are you accommodating sin in your life instead of living a new life? You don’t need to any longer. You have the power of God to overcome sin. You overcome by attempting to live God’s way expecting Him to fulfill your attempt with His power (2 Thessalonians 1:11; Galatians 2:20). Live a new life today and everyday.
Romans 5:18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Adam’s choice to sin led to sin and death entering the world and led to all men being condemned to eternal torment, the just punishment for sin. Jesus’ choice to not sin and obediently die on the cross opened the door of pardon (justification) to all men. Adam’s disobedience caused many to be sinners. Jesus’s obedience leads to many being made righteous. Adam and Jesus could choose to obey God even though they were tempted in every way as people infected with sin are. People infected with sin cannot obey God without God’s help (Romans 8:7-8). The Holy Spirit is active in the world today opening the door for people to hear the gospel, repent, believe and be saved (John 15:26; 16:8; Ephesians 2:8-9). The Holy Spirit uses us (believers) to take God’s word to unbelieving people. Ezekiel 36:27 instructs us that the Holy Spirit will move us to obey God. In John 15:27 Jesus commands us to bear witness concerning His death, resurrection and Lordship. The Holy Spirit moves us to testify about Jesus just as we are commanded to as believers.
The Law of God is powerless to save us unless we keep all of it perfectly. Paul tells us no one has and no one can perfectly keep the Law (Romans 3:23; 8:7-8). The Law, however is very useful to reveal sin and make people aware of the great amount of sin in their lives and the penalty it is given by a just God (Romans 6:23a; Galatians 3:10; Revelation 21:8). James 2:10 instructs us that one sin is enough to break the entire law. All people, except Jesus (Hebrew 4:15), have sinned and need to have their sin revealed. The tool to reveal a person’s sin is the Law. Use the Ten Commandments to reveal sin in any person’s life. Jesus’s act of righteousness paid the penalty for all sin. Grace (unmerited favor) is given to pardon any amount of sin. We receive by grace, the gift of righteousness, by repenting of our sin and believing the gospel. When we believe the gospel we receive the Holy Spirit and grace (God’s resources) to overcome sin. We utilize the grace we have received to live an abundant life by faith in the Son of God, Jesus. We live by faith when we attempt to obey the Lord expecting Him to fulfill our attempt with His power.
As believers in Jesus we have the choice to sin or not to sin. If we choose to sin like Adam, we can lead many to condemnation. If choose to obey like Jesus, we will lead many to justification (pardon for sins) and life. What are you choosing to do in your family, in your neighborhood, and place of work? Your choice to obey or disobey Jesus may mean life or death for the people around you in your family, neighborhood and work. Choose to obey.
Use the Law to help people see their sin. Have you ever lied? Have you ever dishonored your parents? All people have lied and dishonored their parents at some time. Sin is revealed as people answer questions about keeping the Law. Ask the questions and reveal sin. When the sin problem is revealed, a person is open to hear the gospel, the solution to sin, the path to eternal life. (The gospel: Mark 1:15; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 10:9)
Romans 5:15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 If, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
The text before us compares Adam’s one trespass (sin, disobedience) with Jesus Christ’s one act of righteousness (God’s will, obedience). The trespass that brought sin to all mankind came through Adam. The gift of righteousness that brings life to all who repent of their sins and believe the gospel came through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:15). Adam’s one disobedient act (sin) brought condemnation to all people (Romans 3:23; 6:23a; Romans 5:16). Jesus’s one act of obedience brought justification (pardon for sin) to all who repent and believe the gospel (Romans 5:16; Romans 5:1; Mark 1:15; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 10:9).
Because of Adam’s one sin death reigns in our world (Romans 5:17; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:19-22; Hebrew 9:27). All who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17). Is death reigning over you? It is if you have not repented of your sin and believed the gospel. Death is the destruction of our physical body (Genesis 3:19) and eternal existence in the Lake of Fire (Matthew 25:46; Revelation 21:8). All who have received the gift of righteousness by faith in Jesus can reign in life. All believes will experience death of their physical body (or transformation if alive when Jesus comes 1 Corinthians 15:50-52) but have eternal life and will not experience the second death. The spiritual blessings of eternal life are available to all believers beginning the moment they repent of their sin and believe the gospel. As Jesus reigns more and more in the life of a believer, the spiritual blessings of the heavenlies are experienced more and more even in hostile circumstances for the believer (Romans 5:17; Ephesians 1:3; Galatians 5:22-23). Are you reigning in life by faith in Jesus Christ? Evidences that you are reigning are the presence of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in your life. If you are a believer and not displaying the evidences of reigning in life, then ask Jesus to help you to reign in life. If we ask anything according to His will, we know He hears us and if He hears us we know that we have what we have asked of Him (1 John 5:14-15).