Sunday, 12 May 2013
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Romans 6:1
We now enter into chapter 6, a chapter divided by two questions Paul asks in order to set the tone for his explanations. Both questions are answered with “Certainly not!” In other words, Paul is asking the most outlandish possible question in order to give the most logical refutation of the thought. He is standing as a debater in an argument and entering into the debate by giving a false premise and then arguing against it.
The first question is Romans 6:1. Based on his comments at the end of chapter 5, he asks “What shall we say then?” This is Paul’s – “How far can we go with God’s grace?” And then he floats the question, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?”
This question is given in response to 5:20 – “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more…” The thought is, “Ok, if grace abounds through the committing of sin, then can we continue to commit sin so that God’s grace shines all the more brightly?”
The answer should be obvious and evaluating it against the perfectly holy standard which necessitated Jesus’ cross in the first place make the question all the more preposterous. One man’s sin brought about judgment and condemnation to all humanity. Were it not for Jesus, there would be no hope. If the cross was necessary to rectify this one act, then how could we presume to add to our guilt under a misdirected notion? All the more so, how could we even consider this after we have been cleared of the guilt we once bore?
Despite the obviously outlandish nature of the question, Paul submits it because he knows the wickedness of the human heart, even of the soul saved from past sins. In our moments of weakness, we will go through steps in our mind to justify why the wrong thing we are doing is really ok. In essence we are attempting to excuse the sin we wish to continue in. Paul knows this is the logical pattern of those weak in faith and weaker in deed. His argumentation will reflect this.
Life application: The Bible is as much an instruction manual as it is a love letter. God demonstrates and displays His love for us in its pages and in the process He instructs us in how to keep safe, healthy, honoring of Him, etc. The love directs the instruction and so when you read a passage which seems confining or restrictive, don’t forget to evaluate it from that perspective. The restrictions are given because God loves you. Don’t we treat the children we love in the same manner?
Heavenly Father, the taste of honey is a delight and yet salt enhances the bland. The sun allows me to enjoy my daily activities and yet when it sets I am relieved because the time of rest is ahead. A new baby’s laughter reminds me of Your goodness and yet attending a funeral reminds me of my short time to enjoy this life. Thank You for the many contrasts which show us Your wisdom and love. Yes, thank You, O God. Amen.