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Lesson 7: Overcoming Sin *

Introduction: Two weeks ago we learned that Jesus died to justify "the wicked" ( Romans 4:5). That is great news, but it might lead us to conclude, "wicked is fun" (at least for the moment), so I can be wicked and saved. That is not the conclusion Paul wants us to reach. It certainly is not God's goal for us. God wants us to be walking towards righteousness instead of wallowing in sin. Let's dig into our study of the Bible this week and learn more!

  1. New Life

    1. Read Romans 6:1. How would you answer Paul's question? Recall that in Romans 5:20, Paul told us that where sin increased "grace increased all the more."

    2. Read Romans 6:2. What answer does Paul give to his question? Is Paul ambiguous about the answer? (No, he in not ambiguous and no, he does not want us to "go on sinning.")

    3. Read Romans 6:3-4. Do you know people who have some sort of long term medical problem, and they should do things like lose weight, exercise and eat more wisely? However, instead of doing those kinds of things, they just take medicine to combat the medical problem. If that makes sense, why not just rely on grace and go on sinning? What reason does Paul give us to be concerned about the underlying problem, the sin in our life? (When we were baptized, we died with Jesus for our sins. The goal is to be done with sin, and live a new life.)

    4. Read Romans 6:5. How would you compare death to resurrection? What are the different characteristics? (Death is something terrible. It is generally the end of life. Resurrection is the beginning of life. It is hope and joy. We want that!)

    5. Read Romans 6:6-7. Why did Jesus die for us? (To free us from sin and its penalties.)

      1. Can you see why remaining in sin defeats the whole purpose of Jesus' death for your sins?

      2. Notice one particular phrase Paul uses, "slaves to sin." How does sin enslave us? (A young man my daughter dated just died from a drug overdose. He could not get free from his addiction. He was a slave, and it took his life. Paul says "live the new life," not the old life of slavery to sin.)

    6. Read Romans 6:8-9. We find another word that is often associated with slavery, that word is "mastery." What no longer has mastery over Jesus? (Death.)

      1. Is that also true for us?

    7. Read Romans 6:10. How does Jesus live His life after resurrection? (He lives to God.)

      1. How should you lead your life after baptism?

    8. Why do you think that Paul is saying so much about death in a discussion of righteousness by faith? (Read Romans 7:1-2. This is a theme of Paul's. When we died to the law, it no longer has authority over us. Likewise, when we died with Jesus through baptism, sin no longer has authority over us. Exercise your freedom and refuse sin!)

  2. New Attitude

    1. Read Romans 6:11-13. Paul talks about offering our body to "sin" or offering ourselves to "God." Give me a practical example of how you would offer yourself to God as opposed to offering your body to sin?

      1. When Paul uses the word "offer," what does that tell us about the importance of our choices? (Grace does not relieve us from making tough choices. We need to choose to follow the path God sets before us.)

      2. Are we alone in this choice? (The Holy Spirit helps guide our choices. See, John 16:7-11 and Galatians 5:16.)

    2. Read Romans 6:14. Let's see if we can understand this text. Why does grace help us more than the law helps us when it comes to being free from the mastery of sin and death? Doesn't the law more clearly point out the problems in our life? (The law does point out our sin. But, the law simply, as Paul says, "brings wrath" (Romans 4:15). When we are secure in our salvation, because of the grace Jesus provides, then we are free to make the right choices unburdened by the condemnation of the law. We are not stuck with sin being our master.)

      1. Have you ever felt discouraged because the standard for heaven was so high, and you were so low? (That is the attitude that is banished by trusting that Jesus gives you righteousness by faith alone. Sin and death are no longer your master.)

  3. Slavery

    1. Read Romans 6:15. Does this sound a lot like Romans 6:1-2? Why do you think Paul repeats this idea in the same chapter? (He is emphasizing that grace is not supposed to be an encouragement to sin.)

    2. Read Romans 6:16. What are our two choices? (Ultimately, they are death or righteousness.)

      1. Describe the path to each? (We make a choice to "offer" our self either to sin or to obey. That choice puts us on the road to either death or righteousness.)

      2. Why does Paul use the phrase "leads to" death or righteousness? (Because this aspect of the Christian life is a process. Grace is instant. A life choosing to obey is a process.)

      3. There is a great deal of un-Biblical thinking in the modern world. One involves an attack on a "binary" view of sex and gender. Instead of "male and female [God] created them" ( Genesis 1:27), we can choose to be whatever blend of male and female we want. How would you defend a "binary" view of sin and obedience? Don't even those saved by grace sin? (What is binary is the choice. If you are not choosing to obey God, you are choosing not to obey Him. You have chosen sin.)

    3. Read Romans 6:17-18. What kind of obedience is Paul thankful for? (Wholehearted obedience.)

      1. Since we know sin does not just disappear when we are baptized, what does Paul mean when he says that we have "been set free from sin?" (If you choose sin, then you are a slave to it. When you choose obedience, then you are no longer a slave to sin.)

      2. Think about this in political terms. You either support or don't support the country in which you live. If you choose not to support the country, you still live there, but you are in rebellion with its principles. If you choose to obey God, are you in rebellion against the principles of sin?

    4. Read Romans 6:19. What do you think Paul means when he says he is putting his argument in "human terms?" How else could he put it? (Slavery was common in Paul's day. Paul compares our choice to slavery, although Paul realizes that this is far from the perfect way to compare the two.)

      1. Let's test what Paul says against your own experience. When Paul refers to "ever-increasing wickedness," is this a concept you understand? Is sin addictive and progressive?

        1. If you say, "yes," that is my experience, what does that say about the argument about the choice we face being binary? (It is proved true. If one choice leads to a similar choice, and each takes us further down the chosen path, then we really have only two choices.)

      2. Can you also confirm that once you choose to obey, the choice becomes easier with time?

    5. Read Romans 6:20-22. Paul asks an incredibly important question. Consider the time in your life when you chose sin. How did that work out? Did you end up being embarrassed by your choices? (Our choice has both immediate and long-term consequences. Choosing sin leads to harm, embarrassment and death. Choosing to obey leads to righteousness, an improved life, and eternal life.)

    6. Read Romans 6:23. Recall that when we studied Romans 4:4-5, we discussed the difference between earned wages and a free gift. Do we earn death, but not earn eternal life? (Yes! Death is not a gift. We earn it. On the other hand, eternal life is a gift which we cannot earn.)

    7. Friend, your future lays before you. Have you chosen to accept the gift of grace? Great! Will you now continue on that path by choosing to obey rather than choosing to be a slave to ever-increasing sin? Why not choose obedience?

  4. Next week: Who is the Man of Romans 7?
* Copr. 2017, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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