Romans 6:1-7:7, Psalm 49


Repetitious referral to sin reveals Paul's desire to explain sin and our new relationship as believers in Christ to this power that infects all humanity. To comprehend Paul's message about being dead to sin, we must understand what Paul means by that “s” word. To Paul sin has the power to enslave us (Romans 6:7), reign over our desires (Romans 6:12), and kill us (Romans 6:23). Additionally, what Paul calls “the realm of the flesh” is a specific state of being ruled by sin as opposed to God's Holy Spirit. What's key to understand is that sin in the singular is treated as an adversarial power to Jesus and His righteousness who now is our master, ruler, and life-giver. When we are in Christ, then, a willing choice to sin conveys we prefer the slavery of sin that leads to death over being mastered by the righteousness of Christ which is life-giving. Sin (singular) also has the power to work in conjunction with a good thing like the law to arouse “sinful passions” (Romans 7:5). Clearly we can say “sin” isn't simply the bad things we do like lie, cheat, and steal, but a rather the all-encompassing description of the power in every human that makes us by nature insurrectionists in God's Kingdom. Having said all of that, Christ has neutered the power of sin in our lives such that we have been made dead to sin (Romans 6:6,11-13) and no longer live under its power to rule (Romans 6:14). In short, we are told repeatedly in our reading that we are no longer under the power of sin like we once were (Romans 6:2,7,11,13,14). That doesn't stop Paul from commanding us to refuse to live under sin's reign. Romans 6 would leave us less with a command to “stop sinning” and more with the command, live as those who have been freed from a hostile master. We are free indeed, so let's live as free people.