Romansby David Cook
Paul anticipates the big question: Since grace increases to cover sin (5:20), why not sin more so that God’s grace increases even more? If God sees us perfect because of the work of Jesus, why worry about sin?
Paul responds to any thinking that encourages a slack attitude to sin with “By no means!” (v. 2). He goes on to tell us why we are to be holy.
We are to be holy because we died with Christ. His death was a proxy death for us. We were with Him on the cross, with Him in the tomb, and with Him in His resurrection (vv. 3–4). When Christ died for sin, we died to sin. Baptism, Paul says, is a constant reminder of our participation in Christ’s death and resurrection. Union with Jesus is the key to our justification and holiness.
When we died with Christ, we died to sin. Sin did not die; rather, our physical body, which sin used as its instrument, was taken out of gear (v. 6). Meanwhile, we have been raised with Christ to a new life (vv. 4, 5, 8). This new life is neverending (v. 9). Qualitatively, it is a life lived in knowledge of God and in reverence for Him (v. 10).
Significantly, up to this point in the letter, Paul has not given one command. When it comes to justification, we have no contribution to make, so nothing can be commanded of us. But in verses 11 to 14, he gives a number of orders.
The first is attitudinal. We are to make the same calculation about ourselves as God has made about us; that is, we are dead to sin and alive to God (v. 11). As God sees us, so we are to see ourselves. Then we do not let sin reign over us (v. 12).
Next, we do not keep going to sin’s temple to make offerings there. Rather, we commit ourselves once and for all to God’s lordship (v. 13)The reason for this is that we live in a relationship not ruled by observing law, or by earning merit. We live in an unconditional, undeserved relationship of grace.
The key to holiness is to recognise our solidarity with Christ and to stop sinning. As we resist temptation, God will help us to resist it (see Philippians 2:12–13).
What does it mean for you to have eternal life (6:10)? See John 17:3. How does this section help you resist temptations?