Many people misunderstand the grace of God and somehow see our newfound freedom in Christ as making the law into a “license to do whatever they wanted and then God would just pay off their fines.” It’s the old license to sin argument.
Have you ever had someone use this argument? Maybe you used it yourself at some time. Take some time and encourage your folks to share their experience with this kind of thinking with the group.
In your own words state why you think Paul refutes this kind of thinking so emphatically with the statement:
By no means! We are those who died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
The objective is to understand that we have died to sin and been made alive in Christ, and as such, we have been freed from sin to offer ourselves to God not to sin, because sin has no mastery over us anymore.
1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 If we have been united with him like this (literally in the “likeness”) in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin — 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
How might Paul’s Gospel seem to stimulate people to sin more than ever?
In what way do you see the “already not yet tension?”
What is Paul’s answer to this objection?
Terry stated: Real power over sin is all future-oriented…for now we are legally “righteous” but not practically or actually so. Does this statement encourage you and why?
Read verses 11-14. What different applications are found there?
In what various ways are the words dead and alive used in verses 1-14?
Embrace the reality that you have been freed from sin to offer yourself to God and not to sin because sin has no mastery over you anymore.
What are some things you can currently do to offer or present yourself to God? How might you do that today?
What ways could you begin to train yourself for godliness? Whatever it is, make sure you remember that grace is not opposed to effort but to earning.