Let us review the first five chapters of Romans. Ch 1. God’s wrath is revealed against mankind, because they knew God, but chose to reject Him. God gave them over to their lusts. God gave us the law, which showed us how to get to heaven. We just had to obey the Law completely. Ch 2. Now, the problem was, instead of caring about the whole world, the Jews were proud that they had the law and looked down on the Gentiles who were all sinful. Paul showed that any gentile who obeyed the law that he knew about was going to heaven and Jews who disobeyed weren’t.
Ch 3. Then Paul lead us to see that there was no man, ever, who obeyed the law, so no one at all was going to heaven, at least by obeying the law. We needed to see how utterly doomed and helpless we are. Once we understood that, we could comprehend why Jesus had to come and die, to give us the gift of justification. We receive it by faith, which eliminates all boasting and pride in our state.
Ch 4. So many Jews saw the law as the central point of Judaism, that they would struggle with this apparent rejection of the law. Paul says we uphold the law and refers to Abraham to show that before circumcision was required of Abraham, he was justified by faith. Abraham, the father of many nations, not just Jews was in a sense the spiritual father of gentiles who are justified by faith. Thus, since salvation by faith came before the Law, the Law has a different purpose than salvation. Thus being saved by grace doesn’t nullify the law.
Ch 5. So now that we are justified, we have peace with God, His love through the Holy Spirit is poured in us and we will be saved from His wrath. The chapter concludes that the law was added so the trespass might increase. Where sin increased, grace increased more. Now that we have this get out of jail free card, what is our attitude?
Chapter 6 asks the question, “Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?” The answer refutes the idea that people thought Paul was teaching get out of Jail free. The question focuses on Grace junkies. Jesus had to contend with miracle junkies. Ever time they saw a miracle, it was great, but immediately hoped to see a new one. Seeing a second one didn’t satisfy them, they kept wanting another. Paul refers to something similar, grace junkies. If by my sinning, grace abounds, I am going to sin just to see grace work again. By no means! Spiritually, we died with Jesus, we were buried with Him, and we were raised to new life with Him. Water baptism is a symbolic portrayal of the spiritual event.
Look at the picture. What dead man has ever sinned? They don’t steal, murder, commit adultery, or anything else. Our old self has died. We should reckon ourselves as having a new life, one that is supposed to live for God. We should offer our bodies to God as instruments of righteousness. Then the chapter shifts to another emphasis than the death and new life image.
It starts with a similar question, are we free to sin because we are under grace and all are future sins are also paid for? By no means! If you offer yourself to sin, you are a slave to sin. Whether you say the person was never saved or he lost his salvation, by sinning, you have returned to the old state. The alternative is that you obey (don’t sin.) You are then a slave to obedience, righteousness, and holiness. That is you are a slave to God. God has gifted us with this new life, a holy life, which is eternal.
The problem of the get out of jail free misconception has been answered just to lead us into another. We are told to reckon ourselves as dead to sin and alive to God, or no longer slaves to sin, but slaves to righteousness. We know this in our heads, but just like knowing the law, it has no strength. Chapter seven addresses the problem.