Romans 5&6

The Plan Part 2

As we saw in the last study, the Law was given to the Jews to convict the world of sin and wrong doing. The Law also contained provision for sin to be atoned for. It was also meant to demonstrate the blessings of God that could be had if the Law was obeyed. When the Jews received the Law and followed it they were justified, not by doing the Law but by putting their faith in God who gave them the Law. Their doing the Law was in response to  their belief.

The simple definition for justification is “just as if I had not sinned.” Like Abraham earlier, when they believed God it was credited to them as righteousness and therefore it saved them from the wrath of God for sin. The same is true today for us. In Chapter 5, verse 6, we read that Christ died for the ungodly. Christ means Anointed One. When John the Baptist baptized Jesus he saw Heaven open and the Holy Spirit descend on Jesus. He also heard the voice of God saying that Jesus was His Son in whom God was well pleased. Later, John pointed out Jesus to his disciples and said Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Jesus was the Christ, the One anointed by God.

When Israel was enslaved in Egypt God was sending plagues to break the hold of Egypt on the nation. The last plague was the plague of the first born. On the night of the plague, God was going to send the death angel throughout the land to kill the first born of every man and beast. No one would escape accept those families who believed what God had said. God told Moses to tell the people to sacrifice a lamb that evening before the angel came. They were to put the blood of the lamb on the door frame of their homes so that when the death angel came by the house the angel would see the blood and not kill the first born there, but “pass over” the home leaving the first born alive. This brings us to verses 8 and 9. In these verses we realize Jesus died for our sins and it was His shed blood that covered our sin and made us “just as if we hadn’t sinned.”

Again, we see an example of the people responding to the word of God indicating they had put their faith and trust in God and demonstrating their faith by obeying what God told them to do. I know it is a fine line between faith and works but the order is important. When works are a result of faith, God is the initiator of the means to salvation and man is the responder.  When we work to earn our salvation then we are the initiator and we end up attempting to make God respond to us.

Now there is a second danger which Paul deals with in Chapter 6. The danger is thinking that since our sins are forgiven why stop sinning? This thinking makes God the initiator but there is little or no response from us. In the Church we call this “cheap grace.” The problem with that is the only thing cheap about it is the person presuming on God’s grace. God sent His Son to die for our sins which is the price for sin, we read in 6:23. There is nothing cheap about that. Jesus went through terrible suffering from His arrest to the cross where His blood was shed for your sin and mine. There is nothing cheap about that. But, there is something cheap about someone calling themselves a Christian, and yet, being unwilling to give up their sin. In Chapter 6 Paul says that we were a slave to sin. When we put our faith in Jesus because we believed He died for our sin we were set free from that slavery but we are now to be slaves to righteousness. Verse 19

The result of this is that we are set apart from the old ways and are to be set on God’s ways. This being setting aside the old for the new is called sanctification. Therefore we are to be dead to sin and alive to God, but we can only be alive to God through the One who paid the price for our sins, namely, Christ Jesus. This is what Jesus was talking about when he told us to take up our cross and follow Him.

Are your sins put to death on the cross? Let me ask you this. Suppose you are a slave to some sin, perhaps an addiction, behavior problems like anger, or a relationship at work, family, or marriage. Now Pastor Moses observes you are enslaved, he comes by and tells you what God’s Word says you need to do to be freed from that enslavement that is causing a lot of harm. Do you have enough faith to believe in what Pastor Moses is telling you to act on what he says?  How you respond will show exactly what you really believe.

We all face struggles but as Christians we have a resource that can set us apart from the ways of this world that entrap us and hold us in bondage. Jesus said in John 9:31-32, “Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed in Him, ‘If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’” NASB   

Now the scripture said they believed in Him yet He saw they were slaves to sin. Sadly, they began to argue with Him and the context of the verses show what they really believed and that they were really slaves to sin. The pain and consequence of sin are meant to get our attention and bring us to the place where we must make a decision. What we decide will be a reflection of what we really believe.

So again, how about you? How did you respond to my question? Are you alive to God through Christ Jesus? Paul is still confronting Jews who had become Christians yet retained their old belief’s which were in error. He is their Pastor Moses. Will they believe him?

Pastor Dave