Under the Grace to Not Sin – 5-2-22

“Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” Romans 6:1-2 NLT

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Romans chapter 6 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Dead to Sin, Alive to God

6 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be [a]done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been [b]freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, [c]reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as [d]instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

From Slaves of Sin to Slaves of God

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were [e]delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness [f]for holiness.

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit [g]to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the [h]gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Footnotes

  1. Romans 6:6 rendered inoperative
  2. Romans 6:7 cleared
  3. Romans 6:11 consider
  4. Romans 6:13 Or weapons
  5. Romans 6:17 entrusted
  6. Romans 6:19 unto sanctification
  7. Romans 6:22 unto sanctification
  8. Romans 6:23 free gift

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

John 20:31- “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Last week, we challenged each other to take a few actions daily to help get us some healthy roots and to root out any sins within us. I hope you, like I am, are serious about making more changes in our lives and becoming more Christ-like. I was going to remove it from here and let you scroll back if you wanted to. However, I want it here for me. I still need to do this. It was a tough week last week with God revealing tings to me that I did not even realize I was doing. Then Sunday, at lunch with my Pastor – it just came up in conversation hat God had told me to do something over a year ago, and I still haven’t done it. Oof! The reality hurts – I didn’t even notice so much time had passed. I hope and pray God is surfacing things in your lives as well, to be weeded out and removed.

PRAYER FOR FORGIVENESS:
Dear God, I am sorry for being filled with all/any unrighteousness, and/or sexual immorality, and/or wickedness, and/or covetousness, and/or maliciousness, and/or envy, murder, and strife, and/or deceit and evil-mindedness, and/or being a whisperers and  backbiters, and/or haters of God, and/or violent, and/or proud and boasting, and/or inventors of evil things, and/or disobedient to parents, and/or undiscerning, and/or untrustworthy, and/or unloving, and/or unforgiving, and/or unmerciful, and/or for practicing such things are deserving of death. Please forgive me even though I knew better and I understand the righteous judgment of You, God. Please wash me with the Blood of Jesus. Cleanse me and help me turn from my evil ways – convict me strongly when I do wrong that I may notice and stop. And send a fresh filling of your anointing to break the yokes of bondage and help me destroy the roots with a mindful effort and focus on you. Please reignite the fire in my belly that I may burn for you in boldness. In the name of Jesus we pray ~amen

HEALTHY ROOTS CHALLENGE: this challenge is to heal and strengthen our roots
One – Give God ALL the Glory
Two – Dedicated time for thanksgiving, and be thankful for all things!
Three – Guard our hearts and mind, rebuking and stopping sinful or not godly thoughts, not letting our minds wander and be prayerful and intentional in thinking.
Four – And finally, let us be humble. Humble enough to say I do not know it all and God has something new to reveal to me in this book and in this day.
(Please review the blog post from 4/25/22 for an explanation as to why we are doing this daily and for the scriptural reference instructing us to make these things a practice in our lives. Until they flow from us naturally, we can intentionally and with all of our hearts, scheduled them into our lives and watch them heal and reroute our unhealthy roots that gave sinful/evil fruits.)

Now, staying humble and honest with ourselves – let us look at chapter six…

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
Do I want more of God’s favor? Do I want more of the transforming power in Grace? Do I want abundance, abounding, grace? Yes! Yes! Yes! BUT wait! That is NOT what this is asking. This is asking, do we want to grieve grace. To we want to exploit it, take advantage of it – certainly not. And therefor I understand the New King James using those words for verse 2a.

2a Certainly not!”
Comes from the Greek word: genoito; and according to Strong’s 1096 that is a prolongation and middle voice form of a primary verb, meaning: to cause to be, i.e. to become, used with great latitude. Then we add the “not” and it becomes to cause to NOT be. Therefore I prefer the King James Version which says: “God forbid.” And most read it as an exasperated “Oh goodness, no!” However, I have always read the weight of the “used with great latitude” to reflect a warning and command. It is not wrong, just a different way to reading it: “God forbids us to continue in sin and exploit grace.”

If God forbids it, that means it will be revealed at some point and we will be forced to choose between God and that sin – it will come to a fever pitch. Let’s use my recent experience. Over a year ago God told me to go visit two pastors. I went and visited one. And I never got around to stopping in to see the other. It is not like their salvation or mine was on the line and I did not feel an urgency, just a “go do this”. So I never made it a priority and did not do it.  Grace was upon me – grace abounded. I was able to keep studying and learning and growing and reaching others… but only because I had need of grace not an abundance of grace. And it came to mind with vision a month or two ago… and I still did not go visit him. But I prayed for him. Then it came to mind one day while driving by and I still did not stop there. And so Sunday it came up at lunch and now, instead of dealing with my disobedience quietly and repenting, humbling myself, and making it right – instead I was exposed, declared a sinner, humbled by God instead of by myself. So, now I can either pride-fully make a to-do about things. Or humble myself and repent, and finally go visit that pastor.
Honestly, I did not want to and I did not make it a priority, AND I DID NOT SEE MY OWN SIN. I did not call it a sin. I was gunna, someday, maybe…. But that alone is enough of a sin. So grace grieved, I was being separated from God and I did not mean to be, nor did I see it or know it. So when God says be careful NOT to be deceived – look! See?! See how easily we buy the lie of the enemy. It is difficult times and we must beware of false teacher and false prophets – but also of every lie that sneaks into our minds and hearts. See that we aren’t deceived even if by ourselves.

2bHow shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

Paul introduces a new thought as if we have been saying it this whole time – dead to sin. Those of us who talk about taking the Bible literal, but we mean to keep it pure and in context, should be careful of our words – otherwise someone might read this and think it is a passage about suicide. Paul is going to use the symbolism of Christ’s death and resurrection to explain the concept and how to apply it to our lives. So, as we read this chapter and apply it, we will apply the symbol of death as a type of metaphor.

Most of you who are reading are also professing “Christians”, and I thank God for you and your hunger to read about His word. Have you also been baptized in water for repentance? In the book of Acts, the Apostles preached get saved (or repent and begin a real relationship with Christ) and get baptized in water. That Baptism in water is also referred to in the Bible as the Baptism of repentance.  It is another symbol. God gives us many symbols to help us understand the abstract and difficult to explain spiritual principles.  Why do I ask? Because Paul ties it all together:

 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

So, we should not continue in sin and grieve grace – because we have repented (asked forgiveness and turned away from it). Then we through our baptism, participated in Christ’s death. Dying in our sin and going under the water. Then when we come up out of the water – we have newness of life. The old man is passed away and all things become new. If you have not yet been baptized as an adult for this purpose, please ask at your local churches. And know there is no correct method of baptism (some submerge backwards, some forwards, some in the water with you, some not in the water with you, and some have you dunk yourself. Oh some do complete submersion and others only partial. The Bible doesn’t give a full detailed instruction. Records show that during the end of the first century there was a drought and the Christian who fled to the dessert from persecution were baptizing in sand, because there was no water.   Do not get hung up on the details that are not a heaven of hell issue. But DO get baptized. 
The Bible does command you repent of sins and get baptized in water, besides here where it compares it to Jesus’s death – it can also be compared to being born. We came out of a mother’s belly that was surrounded by water and immerged as a new life – the same with baptism we go into the water and come out a new life. If you are not baptized and you die, or Jesus comes again – baptized or not, it will not prevent you from going to heaven. But Jesus will ask you why you did not get baptized, because he did tell us to.

For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. 

A young friend of mine asked a very logical question at this point – having read this passage preparing for his baptism a few years ago. If we are freed from sin, why do Christians sin? Another logical question is – does this mean we cannot sin any longer? Sadly, we are still tempted and lied to and buy into lies that slide us down into the path of sins. But sin doesn’t and shouldn’t rule over us.
I have another friend who has said the sinner’s prayer for salvation when he was a child. He strongly believes in once saved, then you are always saved because that is what he was taught and he will not listen to any verses that say otherwise. He also believes he can continue to sin – because he cannot help it. He says it is not a choice, it is who he is made to be. He believes the lie that he is controlled by sin.  Sadly, whenever offered water baptism he refuses because he is afraid of being the center of attention and will not go up in front of many other and be baptized. Therefore there is a small amount of truth to this huge disabling lie that keeps him in bondage! You see, he is NOT dead to sin. He never participated in Jesus’s death and laid down his own propensity, will, desires, and choices to sin – therefore, it is more difficult for him as he refuses to be free from his slavery to sin.

Let us look at Sampson in the book of Judges (chapters 13 – 16).  He was to be set apart for God and not sin – yet he followed his own lusts often and got himself in trouble. He was covered by God’s grace, through disobedience after disobedience. Yet in the end – this rebellious man ends up recorded in the chapter of Hebrews which we call the Hall of Faith. How? Well, to quickly summarize his story, his grace ran out – he was captured by the bad guys and was made to be their slave. Thankfully, when he ran out of grace he turned to faith and believed! He knew in who he believed and knew he was able! So he asked for one last anointing.
So – if we continue in sin, grace abounds for a season. We see this when a big church’s pastor falls very publicly (which we have seen countless times in my lifetime alone as well as throughout history). In those cases, like Sampson, like my friend, and even like me (who has already confessed, today, that I was harboring the sin of disobedience without realizing it) – grace abounded and our ministries did not suffer and people still were touched by God through us or in the case of my friend – his life was blessed to of course he was in good standing with God. But it is only a season.
Like I was called out by my pastor at lunch on Sunday when it came up. (I am so thankful he drew it to my attention and made me accountable to him to complete the task and lovingly reminded me I cannot pick and choose when to obey and when not to). I did received that in repentance. I honestly want to make my Jesus happy with me and I will obey and I am so sorry I did not give it priority.
I need to go back to the place of participating in letting my old man die, and refreshingly be made new – I needed a strong reminder! Does this mean I need baptism again? No. Just some time studying this chapter and applying it to my life because having been symbolically raised from the dead, I can die no more – I just need to repent and make it right.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Now, there are people who slid away from God. I did. I will not get into how it happens, but we can all slide away of we do not stand fast in our freedom. We all slide away in various degrees. Continuing in one sin not knowing you are sinning – will not usually do it. But if you harden your heart and continue to sin knowingly, then that hardness can spread and infect all areas of your life until you have turned away.  Regardless of how it happens – when you come back, do you need baptism again? Well there is no book, chapter and verse that answers that. When I came back, I discussed it with a pastor and he said if I felt I needed to make a public confession of my faith again, then I should. Well, when I came back I caught that fire and was telling everyone about Jesus!! I made my public confession of faith! So I did not get baptized again. I also know many people who came back and just wanted to start over new and went through every step all over again. That is ok too.
It is like, you do not have to ask for forgiveness of sins daily according to most theologians. I encourage it because when the disciples asked how to pray, Jesus said to pray daily and say: “Our father who art in Heaven….” And it includes asking for forgiveness and forgiving. Once you are forgiven, do not repent of the same sin over and over. You are freed. But, as we are learning with the list provided for us at the beginning of Romans (and we are praying it daily), it is amazing how easily we might sin and how much we need to learn not to.  Maybe a sexy scene in a movie temps your mind and your thoughts wander – oops! Maybe a slow driver frustrates you so you speed (breaking the law) past them the first chance you get – oops! Maybe you have a hidden sin you didn’t even see and needed God to reveal it – like me and not obeying God telling me to do something – oops! Maybe…. Oh wait, I’ll let Jesus point out to you where you sinned between the last time you prayed for forgiveness and the next time.

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 

Which is exactly what we are discussing. Let’s find those sins and root them out! Pull them out and dig out every piece of roots. (Which is why we are also focusing on developing a healthy root system of praise, worship, thanksgiving and glorifying God! A root system that will produce love and the fruits of the spirit!)

13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

Theology time again: In chapter 3 we learned we are not under the law of atonement but under the law of faith. It was kind of a new concept for some of us as many preacher say we are not under the law but under grace and this is where they get it! So what does it mean? To answer that we must, just like Paul, summarize what we just learned here in verses 1 through 14.
We cannot atone for sin – that is fulfilled by Jesus’s sacrifice. But we can accept that sacrifice and participate in it ourselves by dying to our sinful nature – this can only be achieve through grace that leads us to true repentance. We are under ample grace to get us to repent through the law of faith. You see, it’s a time of dispensation of grace but it is only a season. And like Paul said in chapter 3 – we are under the law of faith from Abraham – we too must have faith. And like Sampson, when the season of grace dries up will we still have faith?

To further drive this point home Paul says:

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 

You see that word OBEY. Oh don’t we dislike that. One of my first blog posts here was a discussion on obedience being the fruit of faith from grace. (kind of here again although different passages) And I was told by a friend to use a thesaurus and find a word to substitute for obedience. Because it will turn people away. I looked at her and said, God’s word does not return void – and if you are offended by the word obedience then you are offended and an offense to the gospel. It is fine if those people do not read this.
People share this and people have been saved through it. It fulfills God’s purpose. And I can stand before Him and say I did my very best to make hungry word eaters who, surrendered, sacrificed self and served with ALL their hearts in worship. We repent and obey – good at repenting like David was. And we do not shy away from obedience nor are we ashamed of the Gospel. We have followed Paul and our hearts led us into slavery to our calling in Christ. To be disciple and to make disciples and win souls along the way.

17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 

DELIVERED! Hallelujah! There is freedom in obeying God – but you don’t know that until you do it and do it completely surrendered. And it seems morbid to make a huge death metaphor and act it out in baptism and in remembrance of our baptism – but it does make it real and relatable – easier to understand.

19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.

In the first century we were called Christians because we strived to be Christ-like. Are we living up to it, still today? That is what verse 19 means with “righteousness for holiness”. 
“because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16 NKJV

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 

Sinner are free to sin and that looks super appealing since man is born under the curse with a propensity to sin – but we have been taught by the word and confirmed with our own experiences or watching others that it is dirty and full of bondage and death.

Now, once we die to sin and death, we rise up no longer under the cure of man. We are in this world but not of it, not of the curse, not of the bondage, and not of the death. We are kingdom people, washed in the blood of Jesus and freed from sin.

22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So, we work on healthy roots and growth – that we may bare much fruit.
We are able to overcome temptation and sin and live in total victory. We live like a new creature – since mankind is curse – we are now something new. And we will live eternally with Jesus! Hallelujah!

Although, hell is real and made as a punishment for the devil and his followers and he tricked humans into following him without even realizing it and here Paul calls it death and contrasts it with eternal life, it does seem that hell is eternal as well, without escape or reprieve. Jesus describes it as a place where mankind will maintain conscious and cognitive functions – knowing forever they are tormented, ashamed, and regretting their choices. Why we call it death and not explain there is still eternal consciousness seem like we rob people of a full understanding of our consequences. It would suck to be there and say – but I did not know.

You and I cannot say that. Not only do we know, we also know we should be digging out any and all unrighteousness within us. We should set our eyes upon Jesus and pursue him with all our hearts.
If you are unsure today, if you will spend eternity I heaven or hell – choose to repent of your sins, humbly turning away from them and talk to Jesus and ask Him to save you from hell and to have a relationship with Him. At the top of the blog is a sample prayer you can make your own if you are unsure what to say.
Honestly – I looked up at my ceiling, hoping to see Him and cried (ugly cried) “Help”. I followed it up with “I give up – I surrender all”. Then once I was a little less sobbing, I listed my sins and apologized for each asking forgiveness from each. I wrote them down in hope of remembering NOT to do them. God slowly worked on me removing them and the temptation to do them. God is gentle, loving, kind and His grace transforms me into something new and is sufficient to get me into eternal life. It is not about what words you say – it is about repenting and being humble. From that you’ll grow faith through grace unto obedience and bountiful good life bringing fruits.  

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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