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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Romans 6

Verses 1-14

  1. Intro: [Title: Newness of Life]
    1. Ok, whats Paul shared w/us so far?
      1. We’ve been Justified by faith. We are standing in Grace. And, rejoicing in Glory.
      2. We formerly belonged to Adam(the author of sin & death) & now belong to God.
      3. Paul put works, ritual, & the law in its rightful place!
      4. And where sin abounded, Grace super-abounded!!!
    2. I have a Riddle: When asked this riddle, 80% of kindergarten students got the answer, compared to 17% of Stanford University seniors. “What is greater than God - More evil than the devil - The poor have it - The rich need it - And if you eat it, you'll die?”
      1. HINT: The answer is 1 WORD and is 7 letters long. Give up? – “NOTHING!”
    3. Today’s Riddle: What is both dead & alive at the same time? [A: believers]
  2. OUR POSITION IN CHRIST! (1-5)
    1. DEATH! (1-4a)
    2. We need not "continue in sin that grace may abound."
      1. We are sinners and need only to confess, that grace may abound.
    3. Being a Christian is a matter of life or death?
      1. This question was stimulated from 5:20.
      2. “If God is gracious, then we should sin more so we can receive more grace…right?”
        1. Certainly not! – or, “No way Jose!”
        2. They’re thinking, Paul’s unlimited grace encourages sin doesn’t it?
          1. His answer – God’s grace frees us from sin not to sin!
            1. True - Saints are safe; False - They can live as they like.
              True - God will keep His own; False - Sin will do them no harm.
              True - God gives us liberty; False - That He gives us license.
              True - He gives us protection; False - He allows us presumption.
          2. Can you speak of liberty while you are still wearing handcuffs?
            Can you boast of healing while the disease is still growing worse?
            Can you boast of Victory when your army is about to surrender?

            Can you have salvation in Christ when you continue to give full swing to evil passions? (Adapted from, Spurgeon At His Best, pg.319.)
    4. Believers identify w/Christ’s death, burial, & res in the symbol of baptism.
      1. That old life of sin in Adam is past for us.
      2. Note: In the early church people didn’t “walk an isle” or “raise a hand” to receive Christ. Instead, they made public their confession of faith in Christ by submitting to baptism.
        1. Have you “gone public”? Have you submitted to baptism?
          ½ hour Class Wed night, after service April 25th - Baptism is April 29th 2:30pm.
    5. (4a) The old life is buried!
      1. Obviously this doesn’t mean that our struggle w/sin is over.
        1. Paul will deal with this struggle in chapter 7 as a “normal part of the Christian life”.
        2. Paul’s point? – We are no longer under sin’s mastery!
      2. Yes, our old life is buried...but we are like my dog Rambo, who remembers right where he buried his bone. Digs it up. And finds enjoyment with it one more time.
        1. Any ol’ sin you’ve gone and dug back up lately?
        2. Kelly’s dad Bob has a Blue Jay that he hand feeds. At Easter he showed up. In his case he’s buried so many he forgets where they are! [Let’s be more like the blue Jay]
    6. LIFE! (4b,5)
    7. (4b) Paul isn’t talking about our eventual bodily resurrection (though that’s included).
      1. He is talking about living the resurrected life here & now on earth.
      2. A life free from sin’s domination, a life of “newness”.
        1. Newness = life that has a new or fresh quality.
        2. “The resurrected of Jesus was not just a resuscitation; it was a new form of life.”2
      3. Christ’s death & resurrection are as important for living out your faith (Sanctification) as they are for being saved (Justification).
  3. HOW TO LIVE OUT OUR NEW LIFE! (6-14)
    1. Here is a 3-fold strategy for living out our new life! Know; Consider; Present!
    2. Slide #15 KNOW! (6-10)
    3. Right Living grows out of Right Thinking.
    4. So, step one is knowing how His death & resurrection affects us!
      1. Know that, old man is crucified…but he is long at dying!
      2. Know that, When death stung Jesus Christ, it stung itself to death. [Like a bee stinger]
    5. So, living the new life starts with Knowing
      1. Knowing that He died to set us free from sin. Knowing that our old self was nailed to the cross w/Him.Knowing that just as Jesus rose from the dead & will live forever, we have been raised to a new life in Him, that has no end.Knowing that we live no longer by the tyranny of sin. (Swindoll, Romans, pg.5 (slightly modified))
    6. Let me add what I think we need to know today CM saints!
    7. The Gospel...not only rescues us from the penalty of sin; it rescues us currently from the power of sin; & will one day rescue us from the presence of sin, altogether.
      1. Christians today need a radical reorientation to the NOW power of the Gospel...in your life, in your church.
      2. I used to think Rom.1:16 only brought about conversion, For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. I thought this was only for evangelism.
        1. But it is for salvation past, present, future. [It justifies; sanctifies; glorifies]
        2. But the Gospel doesn’t simply rescue us from the past; It doesn’t only rescue us for the future; but it is the power of God that rescues us in the present! (Tchividjian)
          1. Its not just the power of God to convert us; Its the power of God to change us, once we’re saved.
      3. Jerry Bridges said, “We need to be preaching the gospel to ourselves every single day!”
        1. Its Jesus’ Law fulfilling life; His death defying death; His res that guarantees 1 day all things will be made new.
        2. All of Jesus’ work is the center of the gospel.
          1. His life alone is not the center of the gospel; His death alone is not the center of the gospel; His res alone is not the center of the gospel.
            1. All His work brings about Redemption!
    8. CONSIDER! (11)
    9. What is both dead & alive at the same time? (we are!)
      1. Believers are both dead & alive. Dead to sin & alive to God.
        1. And by faith we must live accordingly!
      2. A cartoon read, "Well, I haven't actually died to sin, but I did feel kind of faint once."
    10. Reckon – Consider, or calculate. Regard or recognize.
      1. It means, see the truth of your situation!
      2. This doesn’t just happen! - It is something the believer can & must do daily.
      3. Christ’s’ death & resurrection has altered their position, & they should live in accordance w/the new reality.
    11. He doesn’t say that sin is dead! But that, we are to count ourselves as dead to it!
      1. The sin of an unbeliever is a natural consequence of the fact that he’s a slave to sin! The sin of a believer is quite out of character…he has been set free!
    12. Alive to God – We’ve not only been free from something, but we’ve been freed for something.
      1. We are now free to love & serve God.
    13. Lazarus’ life, death, & life again give us a good picture of this concept!
      1. Jesus raised him from the dead then said, “Loose him, and let him go.” (Jn.11:44)
        1. Lazarus left the grave, got rid of his grave clothes, & began a new life.
    14. Consider, recognize, remind yourself that you are dead to sin & alive to Christ!
    15. PRESENT! (12-14)
    16. (13) Do not go on presenting the members(parts) of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness(weapons). (NASB)
      1. Instrument – tool, weapon.
        1. Sin is regarded as a sovereign(vs.12 reign) who demands the military service of its subjects (present your members).
      2. Don’t let sin reign in your mortal body!
    17. Present – to put at one’s disposal, to place beside.
      1. “The most useful members of a church are usually those who would be doing harm if they were not doing good.” (Spurg)
        1. Our goal isn’t to domesticate/tame you! [I think of Tatoo Brian. He has a crazy past. But coming to Jesus didn’t make him docile, he’s just crazy for Jesus now!]
        2. Remember Jesus din’t come to make bad people good, but dead people alive!
        3. Present yourself how you are.
    18. (14) Has sin dominion over you?
      1. The believer not only hates sin, but has the power to say no to it!
        1. Sin doesn’t own us, even though it still tries. Christ owns us. He is our Lord/Master.
          1. He has won the victory over sin & death for us.
          2. One day(heaven) we will enjoy the fullness of that victory.
            1. For now, the battle rages!
    19. Legalism says God will love us if we change; The Gospel, or being under Gods grace says God will change us because in Christ He has infinitely loved us. [Big difference!]
      1. It’s not behaving better, it’s believing better. Believing better?
      2. Become increasingly what you already are! [what Christ has already secured for you]
        1. It does not say, “become something you’re not”. It says, “become practically what you already are positionally!”
    20. Our problem as saints is not thinking we can earn God’s favor(we know better). No, our daily struggle is thinking we can keep God’s favor!
      1. Our hearts are naturally bent on trying to maintain favor w/God. Sustaining a performance driven relationship w/God.
    21. We must depend on His gospel. We must depend on His grace.
      1. We focus more introspectively on our sin, & our need to improve, than we do Christ’s victory over sin, and our guaranteed success.
      2. If you focus more on your sin than on your Savior, you will become a neurotic narcissus. [when we focus on our sin(that’s miserable) & we think because its miserable it’s good for us]
  4. Wrap Up!
    1. ​​​​​​​Know that who you once were has been crucified w/Christ & that you are a new creation!
    2. Consider, recognize, remind yourself that you are dead to sin & alive to Christ!
    3. Present this new life to God for His glory & service.
      1. This side of heaven sin will always be with us; but so will the truth of Christ saving us from it!
    4. Oliver Wendell Holmes said, The great thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving. To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it - but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor. (Oliver Wendell Holmes, Leadership, Vol. 10, no. 2.)

Verses 15-23

  1. Intro:
    1. Steve Brown tells a story about a time his daughter Robin found herself in a very difficult English Literature course that she desperately wanted to get out of. She sat there on her first day and thought, “If I don’t transfer out of this class, I’m going to fail. The other people in this class are much smarter than me. I can’t do this.” She came home and with tears in her eyes begged her dad to help her get out of the class so she could take a regular English course. Steve said, “Of course.” So the next day he took her down to the school and went to the head of the English department, who was a Jewish woman and a great teacher. Steve remembers the event in these words: She (the head of the English department) looked up and saw me standing there by my daughter and could tell that Robin was about to cry. There were some students standing around and, because the teacher didn’t want Robin to be embarrassed, she dismissed the students saying, “I want to talk to these people alone.” As soon as the students left and the door was closed, Robin began to cry. I said, “I’m here to get my daughter out of that English class. It’s too difficult for her. The problem with my daughter is that she’s too conscientious. So, can you put her into a regular English class?” The teacher said, “Mr. Brown, I understand.” Then she looked at Robin and said, “Can I talk to Robin for a minute?” I said, “Sure.” She said, “Robin, I know how you feel. What if I promised you and A no matter what you did in the class? If I gave you an A before you even started, would you be willing to take the class?” My daughter is not dumb! She started sniffling and said, “Well, I think I could do that.” The teacher said, “I’m going to give you and A in the class. You already have an A, so you can go to class.”
      1. Later the teacher explained to Steve what she had done. She explained how she took away the threat of a bad grade so that Robin could learn English.
        1. Robin ended up making straight A’s on her own in that class.
      1. That’s how God deals with us. Christians already have an A.
      1. The threat of failure, judgment, and condemnation has been removed.
      2. We’re in–forever! Nothing we do will make our grade better and nothing we do will make our grade worse. We’ve been set free!
    1. What motivates you toward obedience? What is the best motivator, to motivate others towards obedience? (Like your children; your employees; your students; new believers)
      1. Some try fear, guilt, threats, shame. And it works...for a time, a short time.
        1. But fear & guilt aren’t big enough nor powerful enough to get someone to obey...for the long haul! (try it on your kids & you’ll see)
        2. Its the engine of the gospel, Gods radical & outrageous Grace is the only thing that can fuel a long joyful obedience in the same direction.
      2. The bible esteems Grace! - The kind of grace that is...uncomfortably radical; unbearably scandalous; & unbelievably scary. Why? Because it wrestles control out of our hands.
        1. What do I mean?...I mean when a new believer gets saved, they come into church & we immediately try to churchify them. So God will be pleased with them, or by them.
          1. We tell them how to dress; talk; what music they can listen to now; what movies they can see; & most importantly, which words are cuss words & which ones aren’t.
      3. Let’s see how Paul deals with this.
    2. Title: Set Free. Theme: A New Master.
    3. Outline: A New Problem; The New Obligations; The New Duties; The New Rewards.
  2. THE NEW MASTER! (6:15-23)
    1. A NEW PROBLEM! (15a)
    2. Under law implies at least 3 things:
      1. A Divine commandment demanding perfect obedience.
      2. A Divine promise of reward for perfect obedience.
      3. A Divine threatening of punishment for falling short of perfect obedience.
    3. Under grace implies at least 2 things:
      1. A revelation of the Divine attitude & will as gracious.
      2. A Divine bestowment of inward power to obey.
        1. Thus, under grace cannot possibly mean license to sin.
    4. Some see that there are 2 equal dangers Christians must avoid: Legalism & Lawlessness(license)
      1. Often talked about like 2 ditches on the side of the road of life.
      2. Legalism deals too much on law/rules - Lawlessness deals too much on Grace.
        1. They think, If all you talk about is Grace, then lawlessness happens.
      3. I would say NO, there is only one enemy of the gospel of grace & that’s namely legalism...yet it comes in 2 forms:
        1. Front door legalism: keeping rules, doing what everyone tells me to do, being a good boy, then if I stay w/in these boundaries, & keep the rules, then I will save myself.
        2. Back door legalism: is for those who go the other way, breaking the rules, doing whatever. But this is just another form of legalism. It’s just another law you are submitting yourself to. (they are simply a slave being lead to death - vs.16)
      4. Again, under grace cannot possibly mean license to sin.
    5. The protest once again...Certainly not! God forbid!
    6. THE NEW OBLIGATIONS! (16-18)
    7. (16) Who will you present yourself to obey? Joshua 24:14,15(msg) So now: Fear God. Worship him in total commitment. Get rid of the gods your ancestors worshiped on the far side of The River (the Euphrates) and in Egypt. You, worship God. If you decide that it’s a bad thing to worship God, then choose a god you’d rather serve - and do it today. Choose one of the gods your ancestors worshiped from the country beyond The River, or one of the gods of the Amorites, on whose land you’re now living. As for me and my family, we’ll worship God.
    8. Bob Dylan, hit it on the mark in the late 70’s w/his hit “Gotta Serve Somebody!”
      1. You may be an ambassador to England or France You may like to gamble, you might like to dance You may be the heavyweight champion of the world You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed You’re gonna have to serve somebodyWell, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.
      2. No one is completely free! (i.e. absolutely dependent from authority or control)
        1. Ironically, only by being a slave to Christ are we truly free.
      3. Paul says we only have 2 choices!
        1. Serve Sin = leads to death.
        2. Serve Christ = leads to eternal life.
    9. Both demand what? - Obedience!
      1. Some actually think that they are in control of their own destiny.
        1. They feel neither their handcuffs nor their fetters.
      2. Regardless of the religious claims they made, their real master was identified by the commands the obeyed.
        1. If they obeyed the commands of sin, then sin was their master, & death their destiny!
        2. If they obeyed the commands of rt., then rt. was their master, & life their end!
          1. You get to choose who you want to serve, but once you have, you must perfectly obey that master.
          2. And what a slave does, is absolutely determined by the master to whom he belongs.
    10. So, Lets talk about Obedience! - Surely now Gods telling to “do” something! No.
      1. God deeply cares about what motivates our obedience.
        1. Cain & Abel both obeyed...externally...to come up w/a sacrifice.
          1. But Abel did it because he got to, & Cain because he had to.
      2. Compare the obedience of the Pharisees to any OT saint (David, Noah, Moses) These Pharisees rocked w/obedience. Yet Jesus gives his stiffest rebukes to these obedient moralists.
      3. Its why NONE of Paul’s letters start with what we need to do.
        1. Instead, always begins w/what God has already done!
          1. To get this the other way around is to miss the gospel!
        2. Eg. Colossians has 4 ch.’s - Ch’s 1,2 describe the glowing & remarkable things God has done for us in Christ! Ch. 3 starts w/then live this way! Seek those things which are up above. Set your mind on things above.
        3. Eg. Eph.’s 1st 3 ch.’s - This is what God in Christ has done for you. Ch.4, Therefore, walk worthy of your calling.
    11. Here’s the Key: The gospel focus on Jesus performance for us, not our performance for Him!
      1. On what He’s done, not on what we can do!
      2. I believe if we understand this, grab on to this CM, we’ll be less enslaved to our sin, & more grateful for Jesus!
        1. And the more grateful we are for Jesus, the more we’ll want to live a life that pleases Him!
      3. So when we identify the Gospel as “the death, burial & resurrection” yes this is true.
        1. What HE DID is the gospel. And because of that we simply respond with awe & adoration; grateful hearts & a desire to now live out from that a life that pleases our Lord.
        2. Which is our Mission To Love God completely, To Love people authentically, & To Make disciples globally.
        3. Which is our Motto To Live the Great Commandment, To Fulfill the Great Commission.
      4. And now, because Jesus is Extraordinary, we are free to be ordinary; Because Jesus is Someone, we are free to be no-one; Because Jesus Succeeded, we are free to fail. (Tullian Tchividjian, podcast.)
    12. (17,18) As Christians though, our choice of Masters has already been made!
      1. Note: past tense in these verses.
      2. So, the question of ownership & our allegiance has already been settled.
        1. Christ has rescued us from the cruel reign & mastery of sin, & brought us under His caring ownership.
      3. (17b) yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine(gospel) to which you were delivered(entrusted).
        1. Grab the picture from the word form, the believer being poured into a form/mold & thus taking on its shape, by yielding, by obedience from the heart.
          1. Eg. Mac Rumor iPhone5 will be made of Liquid metal! Different metals liquified & then molded into the new case. Soft like plastic. Hard like metal.
        2. At salvation God poured us into the mold of His Son Jesus. May we be soft/pliable when it comes to loving others; & hard/unbending when it comes to truth & obedience.
    13. THE NEW DUTIES! (19,20)
    14. Our new duties is yielding to righteousness w/a view to holiness!
      1. It’s a transfer of moral energy.
    15. (19) Human terms? – i.e. metaphor of slavery doesn’t completely do justice to the new Christian’s freedom in Christ. But it does help us in seeing the change of allegiance and domination from sin...to Christ!
      1. Also remember, slavery is an ongoing condition, rather than a 1-time purchase.
    16. THE NEW REWARDS! (21-23)
    17. New Rewards like...being set free from sin(22a), bearing fruit to holiness(22b),everlasting life(22c), the gift of eternal life(23).
    18. (22) If a Christian fails morally, it is not because the needed power was not available. It is because it was not appropriated.
    19. (23) Fruit - is the expression of life & may be said to indicate character rather than conduct.
      1. The 9-fold description of the Fruit of the Spirit is an expression of the believer’s character as indwelt by the Spirit of God.
    20. (23) Wages – provisions, wages of a soldier.
      1. Deserved payment, versus an undeserved gift!
      2. The pleasures of sin are never compensated for by the wages of sin. – Sinning is not worth it.
      3. Two things there are which man has no arithmetic to reckon and no line to measure. Slide #15
        1. ​​​​​​​One of these things is the extent of that man's loss who loses his own soul.
        2. The other is the extent of God's gift when he gave Christ to sinners.
    21. Why did Muhammad Ali change his name from Cassius Clay? He said that Clay was a name that came from slavery and he would not wear it any longer!
      1. What he did not know was this: the Cassius Clay for whom he was named was a fiery opponent of slavery. He opposed it at a time when it was quite dangerous to do so. On the other hand, the original Muhammad Ali did nothing to replace slavery with freedom.
      2. As Christians we wear the name of the one who set us free! [In Christ Jesus our Lord]
    22. Chinese proverb: You don't drown by falling in the water, you drown by staying there.
      1. Will you receive the gift? Or, continue to earn sins wages?
        1. Choose your Master!
    23. Knowing that God’s love for you and approval of you will never be determined by your performance for Jesus but Jesus’ performance for you will actually make you perform more and better, not less and worse.
    24. In other words grace mobilizes performance; performance does not mobilize grace
      1. Just ask Robin who got the “A”!
    25. Rock of Ages wasn’t just a song about Justification, but about sanctification.
      1. Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to the cross I cling; Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless look to Thee for grace; Foul, I to the fountain fly;Wash me, Savior, or I die.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Romans 6". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/romans-6.html. 2017.