Romans Series - Part 3 - Dealing with Habitual Sin

 In Romans 6, Paul deals with the sanctification of the believer who has been justified by faith. In verses 1-14 he addresses habitual sin.


[Music] I don't know if you guys remember back in the day where phones were actually they used to be plugged into the the wall right I'm I'm not talking to two older than two young of an audience rather sorry to date you guys but back in the day yes some of you are looking at me like what No so phones they used to be plugged into the wall right and you would pick up a phone the phone and what happens sometimes is three people pick up the phone and everyone would hear each other on the phone right and sometimes you'd pick up the phone and the other person would hear you pick up the phone and in my house we all used to sprint mad dash to get to the phone to pick it up because I don't know why we all thought people were calling for us when we were like seven years old and no one's calling for us it was usually like a bill collector tacked like someone was calling and they needed something from my parents one of their friends and we'd all sprint to the phone pick up the phone and then we would have a fight over the phone while people are listening it was the joy and the pride of my parents they felt so great died in front of their friends so as we got older people actually started calling for us my sister was the eldest and so she was the first one to get phone calls and she would pick up the phone and sometimes you'd go and you would pick up the phone right and she'd hear you and she'd scream at you hang up the phone but every once in a while you guys know you pick up the phone the other person the other line wouldn't notice that the phone had been picked up right and anyone else do this come on come on there's some other creepers and mouse yes all right so you'd pick up and you you would not know what they're talking about because you would catch them in the middle of a conversation right they'd be talking about God knows what and you don't know what they're talking about but you know there has to be they have to be talking about something they shouldn't be talking about most likely but so you would listen attentively and as I would listen I was five years junior to my sister I would have no idea what they were talking about most of the time it only happened a few times okay don't give me those looks but only happen a few times but each time I had no idea and then I just gave up and I said I'm not listening to these guys I have no clue what they're talking about and usually the reason was I'd pick up in the middle of a conversation and so I had no idea what was being said before and so what was being said at this point moving forward I had no idea and that's actually where we pick up in Romans chapter 6 because Saint Paul says what shall we say them okay what shall we say then by the way is like picking up the phone in the middle of a conversation you have no idea what he's talking about what shall we say then imagine you open up right Romans 6 verse 1 say what shall we say then shall we continue in sin that grace may abound and you're thinking to yourself what is he talking about same moment you pick up the phone you have no idea what st. Paul's talking about so we need to back up to what we spoke about last week verse 20 and 21 because that really frames chapter 6 okay verse 20 21 says moreover the law entered that the offence might abound the law entered that offence might abound and we said that the law entering that offense might abound the law was there in a sense as a ruler okay the law was there as a ruler as a canon to tell people this is what it looks like according to God's standards to live a holy life so when the law was given people began to learn what sin was and so he says here moreover the law entered that offense might abound and the the offence we said offense in the Greek implies that we either walk unrighteous ly or we move outside of the truth okay so we have a distorted idea of who God is and that reflects in our own lives but where sin abounded grace abounded much more sin more sin equals more grace right this is what he's saying okay sin abounded grace about it much more and some of you are looking at me saying like that that's crazy and you then are gonna ask the next question that st. Paul actually preemptively knows you're about to ask him that's why brilliantly he asks it okay he must add that father type heart where you knew what was coming next you know parents they will say something and you can read your kids face and you know what they're about to ask they're about to ask like but you said I can do this what about what about this how does how how does it affect me over here can I do this now this is what st. Paul's about to do all right so as sin reigned in depth even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord it sounds like to me a pretty sweet deal sin all up grace a lot this sounds like a good deal so then the next step is let's keep on sinning let's sin a lot so we can have a lot of grace like this sounds like a sweet sweet deal let's just not live a holy life at all let's like do as much devious stuff as we can because we're sin abounds grace to balance once more and st. Paul says hold up what shall we save him and that's where the question comes in shall we continue in sin that grace may abound he knows the question that somebody all were starting to think about last week when we read through verse 20 sin abounds grace abounds much more what shall we say shall we continue in sin that grace may abound much more certainly not how shall we who died to sin live any longer in it this chapter in particular we're gonna split it up into two sections the first 14 verses deal with habitual sin and the last eight verses deal with occasional sin now we're going to look at Paul's remedy for how do we deal with the habitual sin and how do we deal with occasional sin this week we're just gonna focus on the first half if I'm a person in Christ if I've been justified by faith I have peace with God I have access by grace to stand in the Holy Place I was once an enemy of God he's now saying to me you're my friend you're brought into my house you have wholeness I'm gonna pour out my Holy Spirit upon you and I fill your heart with love how do I deal with habitual sin okay and that's where we're gonna pick up this week should we live in sin so we may receive more grace if God loves sinners the question some people ask is then why worry about sin I'm part of the issue with this teaching right here is that the idea of grace is a dangerous idea the idea of grace is a dangerous idea there is no question in the biblical idea in the Orthodox the idea that we are saved by grace that the saving effect upon us is the grace of God and we access that we're gonna find the entrance to the access of that is through the sacramental life baptism which we're gonna read about in verse 4 in just a few minutes and and not just the sacraments but the sacramental aspects as well through our life of prayer a life of reading the scripture and what not so but the issue is sometimes people look at grace and they say it's dangerous we prefer not to teach on Grace we prefer to teach law you have to do these things in order to be approved in front of God and the problem with that is then we reduce grace back to law okay and that's not what grace is grace is God's work on us that we choose to participate into that we submit ourselves into it's God's favor upon us that we say I am drawing close to your grace I'm drawing close to you so that your grace can work in my life and that your grace can give me power over the habitual sin that it can give me effect to overcome occasional sin and importantly your grace is what restores your image into me sometimes we look can we just say hey it's just it's that's that's a little bit too dangerous just tell people what they should do what they shouldn't do and call it a day the problem is that's not the gospel the gospel if you remember when we spoke about Ephesians is not you have to do these things it's because of who you are this is what your life will look like right he says because in Ephesians chapter 4 because you are a child of God you have an inheritance you're a masterpiece you're a saint you're holy all of these things therefore now your life should look like this it's because of your identity in Christ this is what your life looks like right if your identity is you're a criminal you're a gangster you're mafioso then therefore your life should look like this you're saying I relate to being a gangster if you relate to being a gangster that's your identity then you should be someone then then it's gonna be reflected in your life you're gonna be out robbing people roughing people up trying to work one over on the system because that's what your identity is but if your identity is Christ himself then your life reflects that and your life reflects that because you're saying God's brakes is working at me it's effective to work at me and I believe in the power of the resurrection of Christ that that power can grant me life how shall we who died to sin live any longer in it when he says certainly not he's basically saying perish the thought it is unthinkable that we would continue in sin that grace may abound he's saying that this is like this is insane to even consider the thought that we would sin more so that God's grace might abound more now as you look at your your the text you'll notice in verse 1 and in verse 15 he asks a question okay in verse 1 he says what shall we say and in verse 15 he says what then and if you have your Bibles you can underline that because that is really Paul's way of he's engaging in this kind of Q&A session with the people okay he's asking a question he's responding it's a polemical way in the ancient world you'd ask a question then you'd give the response and then he asked the next question he gives the response okay so in verse 1 to 14 he's asking the question and he's dealing with habitual sin verse 15 to 23 he asking the question and he's dealing with occasional sin how do we deal with these two things but he's saying in verse two how shall we who died to sin live any longer in it what he's telling us is we were dead to sin you I've ever told someone you're dead to me I hope not okay maybe in your pre Jesus days you said someone you're dead to me what you're saying to that person is you have no place in my life you have your voice means nothing to me your wants mean nothing to me what you want from me it's zero you have no effect on my life why because you are dead to me hey anyone watch the show shark tank alright the show shark tank there's a guy his name is Kevin O'Leary you guys know what I'm about if someone tries to do with a deal with Kevin O'Leary and they don't do the deal that he wants he either calls them a cockroach or he says you're dead to me goodbye in other words I'm done dealing with you you lost your opportunity in the tank get out of here go home okay he's a little bit rude a little bit aggressive maybe it's just for drama on TV and whatnot okay but that's really how what st. Paul is telling us about our relationship with sin how shall we who died to sin live any longer in it how shall we if we look at sin we say you are dead to me then that has an effect on how we deal with habitual sin okay this whole section remember is st. Paul saying if you are a believer in Christ if God's grace is effective in your life then sin should not have a grip on your life verse three and four or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ remember we talked about in Ephesians how many times st. Paul uses the word in Christ or the phrase in Christ okay and it's a it's a term that's not exclusive to Paul John and the Gospel of John chapter 17 uses it and the Epistle uses it Peter uses it Jane it's used many times but the one who uses it probably the most is st. Paul and what he's telling us here is if we're baptized into the person of Christ baptism is not a cute little ceremony that we do to remember something that was done at some point it's not just a symbol of our faith but when we're baptized we're actually entering into the person of Christ that there's act that there is something that is happening even if our eyes just tell us the person's going into water and they're coming out in the same way that in a wedding we look at we see two people and we read the text in Matthew where it says the two become one flesh how are you looking you saying but I see two people it's the same way that you would look and say the Eucharist is a piece of bread but we believe the Holy Spirit comes upon it jesus said this is my body you say but I see a piece of bread it's the same way when a person is anointed with holy chrism and a holy oil or the bishop lays their hands on it as in in in acts that the Holy Spirit comes upon that person you say but I just see oil as it is for any of the sacraments as it is when we read the description and you say when you read the scripture the word Himself is being communicated to you as you read the words of Scripture and you meditate upon them but you're saying I don't see that but that's where the whole idea of a sacramental or mystical view of our relationship with Christ comes in is that we don't just focus on the visible but be invisible as well that God uses the visible to communicate himself invisibly that in baptism were actually united to him and so he says as many of you 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 should walk in the newness of life turn with me real quick to Revelation chapter 6 verse 11 as we're turning there in the first century and I'm going to read you a text from Justin Martyr Justin Martyr it was a he in his dialogue with try foe he wrote a number of different articles but this is around the middle end of the second century and he he uses the image he says putting on oh he talks about putting on a white baptismal robe i candidates for baptism he's describing what happens in baptism this is in dialogue with try fo chapter 116 he's describing that in baptism a person puts on a white baptismal robe in order to be prepared to be baptized which is what we do actually with adults right when an adult is baptized they put on a white robe it's not just because they're we don't want them to be naked as they're getting in right but it actually comes from Revelation chapter 6 and revelation chapter 7 this practice was already there in chapter 6 verse 11 says then a white robe was given to each of them and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer and so both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who would be killed as they were was completed and in the next chapter of chapter 7 verse 11 it says all the Angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures and they fell on their face and if you skip down with me to verse 14 and it says and I said to him sir you know he's asked the question who are these arrayed in white robes and where did they come from he sees this heavenly scene with those who are arrayed in white robes says these are the ones who came out of the Great Tribulation and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb we spoke last week how it's the blood of Christ that that draws us close and it was understood in Baptism that they would put on the white robe and that they would be united to Christ who died for them who shed their blood for them and they would be brought close they would be given access to God they would now begin their relationship with Christ and so this white robe that we put on in Baptism reminds us of just that that we are being clothed with Christ Himself were being washed by the blood of the Lamb were being purified were being drawn into and because blood in the Old Testament in Leviticus it says the life is in the blood that we are given life the life of Christ it's all speaking about the life that we have in Christ but what we understand here in verse three is that if we were baptized into Christ were baptized into his death and what that means for us is that when we deal with sin we're saying you're dead saying you're dead to me how powerful would it be when you're tempted by something that you struggled with habitually throughout your life and you're looking you say you're dead to me not I'm going to try to overcome this not I'm I hope with your prayers with hopefully one day no you look and you say you're dead to me you're dead to me you have no place in my you have no voice in my life anymore you're dead to me this is the habitual sin the things that have enslaved us for so long therefore we were buried with him through baptism into death just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father even so we should and he's gonna give a profound comparison so what he says here is this Christ was buried were buried in Christ because why were united to him what happens Christ is raised from the dead we are raised to walk in the newness of life he died we die and we die to sin he's raised were raised to walk in the newness of life okay that for us the resurrection is witnessed through the way that we live our lives in throughout the New Testament any time you see the word walk it's either gonna be one of two things literally someone was walking or the way that they lived their lives has changed right Jimmy Johnson famously said back in the day this was during the Super Bowl heir of the Dallas Cowboys just talking about all the trouble that his boys were getting into on the team and he said if you're gonna talk to talk you've got to walk the walk right what he's saying is you can speak it but you've got to show it with the way that you play the game and importantly for us the way that we we can speak words that's wonderful but it Paul here is telling us it's got to be reflected in the way that we live our lives Matthew chapter 9 verse 5 you don't have to skip that I'm just gonna read a few verses for you for which is easier to say your sins are forgiven you or to say arise and walk so that connection between resurrection right arise and walk it's the same word Anastacio arise and resurrection mark 7 verse 5 then the Pharisees inscribed asked him why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders right why is their life not like the the life that the elders are teaching how the people should live their lives John chapter 5 verse 8 the man sitting in the pool beset by the Pool of Bethesda 38 years which is a lifetime this was a you could think of this as you and I we've had a habitual sin a lifetime we've struggled with a certain sin Jesus says to him rise take up your bed and walk you're gonna have a newness in the way that you walk Romans chapter 8 verse 1 there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who do not walk according to the flesh Romans chapter 13 verse 13 and 14 let us walk properly right he's not talking about like walk with a strut he's not talking about like you were hurt and you need to walk properly he's not saying like our parents said stand with your shoulders straight and walk properly now he's saying our lifestyle should be proper let us walk properly not by not by sight sorry let us walk properly as in the day not in revelry and drunkenness not in lewdness and lusts not in strife and envy but buts put on the Lord Christ there's a connection on the way I walk with who I'm clothed if you if you say oh you know I'm gonna I'm gonna I'm gonna toughen up I'm just gonna start living a better life I'm gonna say to you good luck same thing I'd say to myself good luck if I try to do without putting on Christ I'm gonna fail miserably every single time ain't gonna happen ain't gonna happen this is not a teaching on living a life of piety apart from Christ it's about putting on Christ so that my life is transformed and that when I die with him and and he's raised it impacts the way I live my life and I still look and I say Lord I've so far to go but I'm in you and so long I'm is I'm in you I'm gonna continue to look at sin and say your debt to me and I'm gonna continue to strive towards your image Ephesians chapter 2 right after we've been told we've been saved by grace not of works lest any man should boast he says for we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them it's not enough to say I've been saved by grace but I'm gonna go on I'm gonna continue sinning so grace can abound you say no no you are dead to sin you're dead to sin my life should look different than it did before ours in Christ I'll tell you something one of the scariest things is when I look at the church and I look at the world I see no difference and the way people live it should scare the bejeebers out of us the church should be an icon of Christ the world is in a fallen corrupted state and the gospel is not given for us to condemn the world the gospel is given for us so that we might know who we are supposed to be as the body of Christ verse 5 to 10 read with me for if we have been united together in the likeness of his death certainly we also should 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 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 for the death that he died he died to sin once for all but the life he lives he lives to God likewise you also reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin but alive to God in Christ the first implication is in verse 5 is that we've been united together in the likeness of his death that we've been in a sense grafted as in a vine to be in the likeness of his death and his resurrection in other words we've received God's mercy for two reasons number one is to destroy the kingdom of the devil and number two is to experience the rule of God that it might be proclaimed in my life through a life of victory and joy sometimes we just want to focus on one or the other the Crucified life or the life of resurrection enjoy and we've been united to him to experience both that we might experience both that we might crucify the flesh crucify the sin we might look at sin and say you're dead to me and so that we might experience the joy of the resurrection in our lives if we understand the power of the Resurrection was the very source of life in the church for the early church always husband look in the book of Acts at the preaching that the Apostles were forbidden to teach from they were not forbidden by the way to preach that Jesus crucified they weren't forbidden to to give any of the teachings teachings of Jesus maybe they're beautiful they were accepted by everyone love your neighbor give to the poor blessed are those who are persecuted live a humble life all those were beautiful but tell someone Jesus risen from the dead if you you say man you we should love our neighbor people look and say that's that's beautiful you tell them Jesus risen from the dead you'd be like dude don't don't don't get strange on me don't get weird on me I don't get crazy because the resurrection is the very power it's the catalyst it's the thing that drove the church it was the thing that moved the church the power of the resurrection of Jesus in the church is what transformed people to walk in the newness of life verse 6 tells us knowing this that our old man was crucified with him knowing that our old man was crucified with him in other words we don't battle the old man we simply say he's dead he's dead the old man is dead he goes on look with me in Ephesians chapter 4 verse 20 to 24 in Ephesians 4 st. Paul says the phone verse 20 to 24 but you have not so learned Christ if indeed you have learned him hurt him and have been taught by him as the truth is in Jesus that you put off concerning your former conduct the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts and be renewed in the spirit of your mind and that you may put on the new man which was created according to God in true righteousness and holiness the word there for holiness is actually the word probably more appropriately understood as piety piety or a devoted committed saintly religious life okay so what he's saying to us here is that when we put on the new man which is created according to God in true righteousness that word Diaco Sunni that we looked at in Ephesians 5 right we said that we've been justified we put on the decoy of God we've been decoyed by God in Christ and in verse 21 he says in verse chapter 5 verse 21 he said that he might put on we might put on that righteousness that Diaco suni that word we put on the new man which was created according to God in true righteousness that we might have the image of God and in holiness which is the likeness of God that we live a virtuous life a life that's committed it's it's beautiful to say that we're created in the image of God that we have the dignity of God that's the image but the likeness the likeness is that we might live a virtuous life we might live a devoted life we might live a committed life a simple life what do you think of the word piety of highest person you look and you see that person as a person that is committed and they live their life in Christ in a gentle manner clement of rome when speaking about this passage he said the following he says now since many gates have been opened the gate of righteousness is that which is in Christ the gate of righteousness is that which is in Christ's happier all that they they that enter therein and who keep their path straights in holiness or in piety and in righteousness quietly performing all their devotion or their duty okay so the idea here is that when I'm in Christ I lived the life of grace it doesn't mean that my life is simply like there's no order to it but no I'm uncommitted and I'm not committed because it's a law and to me I'm committed because it's he's my life imagine you know someone who's who's sick on to death but there's medicine that will help them live and you say to that person you have to take this and they say you can't force me to do it it's a law it's a command no they would never say that they would say of course I'll take it because without it I have when I die it's the same thing for us it's not that when you pray and you read the scripture and you go to church and you worship and you receive any of the sacraments it's not a law that's life all right I would some people like you don't have to read the Bible I don't have to go to church I don't have to take communion if you don't want you'd be crazy not to be a lunatic forgive me because you're saying grace is available here here's base access to God's grace you can stand and pray in your room they said I don't feel like it okay it's your choice forgive me it's a crazy choice it's great you can read the scripture I don't feel like reading it okay words of life are in there it's your choice I don't feel going to church okay your choice I don't feel like that okay so the idea is it's it's not it's not law it's this is medicine that's presented before us and we're told you can check you can choose but just understand if you take if you engage with the grace of God you'll have power in your life if you engage with the grace of God with a pure heart and an open heart you will experience the power of God in your life in verse 6 it says that the body of sin might be done away with our inner being has desires and impulses and passions that oftentimes are played out in our mind and our will and in our emotions the old man is dead but the passions still labor within us and sometimes those get expressed and not the prettiest of ways right I mean sometimes like we've got to understand that we are a new creation but the old passions still sometimes burn within us and it's only by the grace of God that we can have any victory and healing over those passions that we should no longer be slaves of sin for he who has died has been freed from sin I was reading about the 1950 film Spartacus it was with it's with Kirk Douglas and he played the escaped slave Spartacus and Spartacus he you as a slave who led a widespread rebellion in ancient Rome at one point the movie Spartacus these are is where it's beautiful says death is the only freedom a slave knows that's why a slave is not afraid of death we are set free from sin because the old man has died with Jesus on the cross and now a new man a free man lives the reason the slave was not afraid to die is because he was enslaved and that was no life to live at all but what we've been told is that we are to live a life of freedom in Christ that the things that once shackled us that habitual sin that shackled us were to be free from those things there are many people there is a number many studies that have been done in the past actually of people that have been imprisoned for twenty thirty years and they would be released from prison and they didn't know how to operate in society there was a certain system that they learned to grow accustomed to and some of them would actually confess that they would commit crimes simply so they could go back because they didn't know how to be free they only learned and maybe that's an issue with our our legal system our our prison system that it doesn't rehab people but that's also importantly an issue with how sometimes we view sin we look and say well they I don't know how to deal without this sin but st. Paul's telling us we've been freed from sin verse 8 says if we've died with Christ we believe that we shall also live with him we'll live with him sin doesn't have to have victory over us it doesn't have to hold us back it doesn't have to have rule over us we're supposed to reign and rule over death and over sin verse 10 says for the death that he died he died to sin once for all but the life that he lives he lives to God likewise you also reckon yourselves or account yourselves or consider yourselves or suppose yourself that word reckon literally means account yourself reckon is an accounting word Paul what you hear is telling us he's telling us to account or reckon that the old man is dead that he has no victory and that sin is dead so we look we say old man sin you're dead to me you've got no place in my life you've got no place in my life that if we understand that we're a new creation you're gonna say but what about the things that I struggle with those are passions that is not who you are you're the image of God you're the glorious beautiful image of God and the passions that are burning within you need healing and that's the occasional sin that we're gonna talk about next week okay but we've got to know that those things that once enslaved us that's not who we are that's no longer identity we are in Christ we've been buried with him we've raised with him just as he was raised to the glory of the Father we too are raised to walk in the newness of life let's wrap up with the last part here verse 12 to 14 therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey it in its lusts and do not present your members as instruments that word instrument literally means a weapon okay so don't present your members your body your life as a weapon of unrighteousness to sin but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead and your members as instruments or weapons of righteousness to God for sin shall not have dominion over you for you are not under law but under grace I want to wrap up with a story here about a man two brothers actually from the 14th century their names were Raynald and Edward they were two brothers that after their father died they fought over who would be the ruler of what is now known as Belgium the elder brother Raynald was commonly called in Latin crassus which means Fats yes and the reason being is he was he was horribly obese okay I'm not being mean this is an important part of this story after they had a heated battle with each other Raynald lost the older brother lost and he was taken in he was put into the castle and there was a room that was built around him four walls and there was a door that was there and it wasn't it was like an ordinary size or slightly smaller than ordinary science that any regular-sized person could walk through but he was he was super sized okay and so he couldn't actually get out of the room and the younger brother Edward told him if you would like to leave the room at any point you can leave and you can seek to reclaim your kingdom or the kingdom and he said but what I'll do is every day I'll send you the best foods the most delicious foods and Raynald continue to eat and eat and eat he couldn't control himself and so he lived in the midst of the castle in the midst of the kingdom a slave to that room he spent ten years true story ten years in that room because he couldn't control his appetite he had to continue eating more and more and more and his little brother when he was asked is they said you're being a horribly mean person he said he has the right to walk out it's not my issue that he can't control his appetite ultimately ten years later Edward dies in battle and Raynald is freed from from the room but how crazy is that that we have the Kingdom all around us and we're supposed to live in freedom and in victory and in joy and yet what we oftentimes do is like Raynald we just keep eating ourselves feeding our appetites are maybe not physical appetites but we feed our appetite of sins sometimes and that keeps us enslaved from experiencing the full authority and blessings of the kingdom of God and right and we're in the middle of it okay all right let's wrap up with that next week we're gonna pick up with verse 15 on or we'll talk about how do we deal with occasional sin so habitual sin we said we are freed from that we are supposed to have victory over that we're not supposed to that is not something supposed to be something that consumes us that we shouldn't our life should not be a habitual lifestyle of sin but that we should walk in the newness of God by the grace of God who we engage with through a life of prayer and reading the scripture a life of the sacraments of life and engaging in the sacraments all right [Music]