The Doctrine of Grace and Sin

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The Doctrine of Grace and Sin
Florante A. Zagada Bible and Legal Reflections
November 27 at 9:40 AM
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THE DOCTRINE OF GRACE AND SIN
(Why Christians should not habitually live in sin)
(My Bible Reflection and Exposition-FAZ)
 
SCRIPTURE REFERENCE:  Romans 6:1-2
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in SIN, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”
 
INTRODUCTION:
Many believers are confused about the relationship of GRACE and SIN. Some say, since we are under grace, if we habitually sin, we just ask forgiveness from God and He will forgive us everytime when we ask for His forgiveness. If this is the case, is it  alright to commit sin because anyway God’s grace of forgiveness is always available to us?  Is this not a license to sin? Can we abuse the grace of God by committing sin? 
 
PAUL'S RHETORICAL QUESTION- 
In the above-passage, Paul proposes the question, “What shall we say then?”  Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  So, objectors ask, “Paul, do you mean to tell us  that God is willing to forgive a person’s sins as often as he commits them?” “Well then, if that is the case, shall we Christians keep on habitually sinning in order that God may have an opportunity to forgive us and thus display His grace?” 
 
In this reflection, I will share with you the implication of Paul’s  rhetorical question “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in SIN, that grace may abound? God forbid."
 
THE MEANING of SIN in ROM. 6 -
The first thing we must settle is the meaning of the word “SIN” in Rom 6. Does it refer here to acts of sin committed by the believer, or to a sin coming from our sinful nature that is still in believer’s life? 
 
According to St. Paul, when God saved us from our sins, our SINFUL NATURE was NOT removed,. There is still an evil nature which is still resident in us. And every time we sin, it comes from the evil  nature  living in us. 
 
And here is the key to the interpretation of the entire chapter 6.  Every time the word “SIN” is used in this chapter as a noun, it refers to the EVIL NATURE IN THE CHRISTIAN. Read the following verses and substitute the words “sinful nature” for the word “sin,” and see what a flood of light is thrown upon our understanding of this section of God’s Word (Romans 6: 1, 2, 6, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 20, 22, 23).
 
GOD SETS UP HIS MACHINERY IN US THROUGH THE INDWELLING HOLY SPIRIT.
 
Thus, the key word in Romans 6 is “MACHINERY.” When God saved us, God set up in us a machinery through which the Holy Spirit who now resides in us works in us. And when the Holy Spirit dwells in us, he BREAKS the power of our indwelling sin and His divine nature is IMPLANTED in us. In Romans 8, we have the dynamics of the Spirit-filled life. There we have the Holy Spirit mentioned all through the chapter, the source of power and the Operator of the spiritual machinery in the inner being of the believer. In Romans  7 we see the monkey wrench of self dependence, which when dropped into the inner workings of this machinery, stops the works, preventing the Holy Spirit from giving the believer victory over the sinful nature and producing His own fruit. 
 
Thus we have a trio of chapters:The Mechanics of the Spirit-filled Life (Chapter 6), The Dynamics of the Spirit-filled Life (Chapter 😎, and The Monkey Wrench of  Self Dependence (Chap. 7).
 
In chapter 6, Paul is not talking about what kind of a life the believer should live, but by what method or how he should live that life. 
 
The question reads as follows, “Shall we CONTINUE in the sinful nature?” The word “continue” is menō (μενω)in Greek, which means  “to remain, abide.” It is used in the New Testament of a person abiding in some one’s home as a guest, or of a person abiding in a home. It has in it the ideas of fellowship, of cordial relations, of dependence, of social intercourse. Thus, the question now can be further interpreted to mean,
 
 “Shall we continue HABITUALLY to sustain the same relationship to the sinful nature that we sustained before we were saved, a relationship which was most cordial, a relationship in which we were fully yielded to and dependent upon that sinful nature, and all this as a habit of life?” 
 
WE SIN BECAUSE WE YIELD TO OUR SINFUL NATURE.
The idea of habitual action comes from the use of the present subjunctive which speaks of habitual action. The fundamental question therefore is not with regard to acts of sin BUT WITH RESPECT TO THE BELIEVER’S RELATIONSHIP WITH SINFUL NATURE. This is after all basic, acts of sin in his life being the result of the degree of his yieldedness to the sinful nature. Thus we may translate verse 1 simply like this, “What then shall we say? Shall we habitually sustain an attitude of dependence upon, yieldedness to, and cordiality with the sinful nature in order that grace may abound? 
 
GOD FORBID! 
 
Paul now proceeds to deal with this question. His first reaction is an emotional one, “GOD FORBID” His second answer is a rational one. He shows that for a Christian to habitually sustain the same relationship to indwelling sin, namely, that of a dependence upon it, a yieldedness to it, and a cordiality with it, is a MECHANICAL IMPOSSIBILITY.  “God-forbid” in the Greek text is mē genoito (μη γενοιτο), an optative of wishing. One could translate literally, “may such a thing never occur,” or “away with the thought.” 
 
IT IS A MECHANICAL IMPOSSIBILITY TO HABITUALLY LIVE IN SIN AS BELIEVERS. 
Paul declares the mechanical impossibility of such a thing in the words, “How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” The word “how” is pōs (πως), “how is it possible?” Paul is not asking a question for information, but is rather presenting a rhetorical question designed to declare the impossibility of the thing. He says that it is a mechanical impossibility for a Christian to habitually sustain the same relationship to the evil nature that he sustained before God saved him. Paul is saying,  “How is it possible for such as we are, born-again children of God, to do such a thing. It is against our nature to habitually yield to the evil nature. We are not persons of such a nature as to do so.” 
 
GOD'S MACHINERIES TO PREVENT FROM SINNING HABITUALLY: DESTRUCTION OF THE POWER OF INDWELLING SIN and the IMPARTATION OF HIS DIVINE NATURE. 
 
Then Paul tells us what there is in the inner spiritual and mechanical set-up of a Christian which prevents him from habitually obeying the behests of the sinful nature. These two things are the result of a MAJOR SURGICAL OPERATION which God performs in the inner being of every sinner He saves. They are the BREAKING OF THE POWER OF INDWELLING SIN and the IMPARTATION OF HIS DIVINE NATURE in us. 
 
CHRISTIANS ARE DEAD TO SIN BECAUSE WE ARE SEPARATED FROM OUR SINFUL NATURE.
 
The first is referred to in verse 2 in the words “are dead to sin,” and the second, in verse 4, in the words, “walk in newness of life.” Christians are dead to sin. Just what does that mean? Sin here, we have established, is the sinful nature. We are dead to the sinful nature. Death means separation. Physical death is the separation of a person from his body, spiritual death, the separation of the person from God. 
 
WE DECEIVE OURSELVES IF WE THINK WE HAVE NO MORE SINFUL NATURE.
 
As physical death is the separation as man's soul from his physical body, when God saved us when we  put your faith in Him, God separated  us from the evil nature, yet He did not take it out of us, but left it in our inner being. Yes, the evil nature remains in believers  throughout his earthly life and is not eradicated until that Christian dies or is glorified. This is what he says in his Greek; “If we say that sin we are not constantly having, ourselves we are deceiving (nobody else), and the truth is not in us.” We deceive ourselves if we think that God has already removed our sinful nature. 
 
Bu while our sinful nature remains in us, GOD HAS SEPARATED BELIEVERS FROM HIS SINFUL and EVIL NATURE. That separation is a permanent one, one and for all disengagement. This God’s surgical operation  of separation is never repeated. So far as God is concerned, He has so thoroughly done His work that separation could be permanent. 
 
Yes, because of our frailty as Christians, at infrequent intervals we yield to the evil nature and sin. But the point is, God has reminded us that we need not do so because He has imparted his divine nature which gives the Christian a hatred of sin and a love for righteousness. In addition to this, the Holy Spirit has been caused to take up His permanent residence in him to aid him in his battle against sin, and in his effort to live a Christian life. 
 
So Paul says, “How is it possible for such as we who have died off once for all with respect to sin, any longer to live in it?” Or to translate and interpret, “How is it possible for such as we, Christians, who have been separated once for all from the sinful nature, any longer to live within its grip?” Yes, while we remain a free moral agent, capable of choosing between obeying the divine nature or the evil nature, yet, the preponderance of our choices are Godward. 
 
CHALLENGE:
If we are true believers of Christ,  it is mechanically impossible for us to HABITUALLY  sustain the same relationship to the evil nature which we sustained  before were saved. But now that the Holy Spirit indwells in us and God has imparted his divine nature in us, yielding to our sinful and evil nature should no longer occur. That's Paul said "GOD FORBID."
 
Brethren, how is it possible for such as we who have died off once for all from sin (have been separated once for all from the sinful nature), any longer to live in it (in its grip)? 
 
If you are truly saved, it is impossible for you to habitualy live in sin. You are separated by God from your  sinful and evil nature and you have the Holy Spirit who indwells in you to give you power to live in rigthteousness.  Yield to Him and the victory is yours. Indeed, grace is the power for us to overcome sin and not a license to live in sin. 
 
So, the choice is yours! 
 
God bless us all.
 
Reference:  Wuest's Word Studies in the Greek New Testament by Kenneth S. Wuest, 1950 Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
 
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