READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary l We have been justified and made right with God by His grace through faith in Christ. However, our discipleship journey does not stop here. Although believing in Christ changes our status, our substance and inner being is still works in progress. We are still on a journey of growing unto holiness.
The goal of justification is sanctification. “By sanctification we are saved from the power and root of sin, and restored to the image of God” (John Wesley). The grace of God is not a one-time transaction. It is meant to lead us to transformation; a progressive sanctification where we are less like the world and become more and more like our Lord Jesus.
The apostle Paul anticipated that people would distort his teaching on God’s grace, that when sin abounds, grace also abounds even more. (Rom 5: 20) Paul asked, shall we therefore continue in sin that grace may abound? His emphatic response was certainly not!
How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? (v2) Before justification, humanity was trapped and “dead in sin”. (Eph 2: 1) But God, in His grace, has freed us from sin. With justification we “died to sin” and are alive in Christ. (Rom 6:2) It is therefore absurd to think that God’s grace has given us a free license to sin — to live as if we were never justified and still in bondage to our flesh and fallen nature.
Principles for Growing in Christ-likeness: K R P
To Know and be cognizant of our identity in Christ. Sanctification begins with knowing this fundamental truth. Firstly, as believers, we are in union with Christ. We were baptized into His death, so that we can bury the life of sin. When Christ rose from the dead, we also walk in newness of life. Our vital union with Christ grafts us to Him. It breaks us free from the bondage of sin. Christ’s death was our death, and His resurrection was also our resurrection. Secondly, our old man (i.e. our old status derived from Adam, which is enslaved to sin) was crucified with Christ, who took on the sins of the old man. We are a new man in Christ, and the body of sin is rendered powerless. While our bodies may not be completely rid of sin, we are no longer entrapped by it. We can choose not to sin. Instead of relying on our will power and perseverance; we fight sin through knowing that we are in union with Christ, and that our old man has been crucified with Christ. God has already done this for us in Christ. We are a new creation and we can walk in that victory. (v3-6)
To Reckon and count as true our status in Christ. We are to reckon ourselves as being dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. To reckon is an imperative to have a confident belief and to continually lay hold of our status in Christ. When we count it to be true in our lives, it changes the way we live. Reckoning is not a command for us to try to die to sin. It is a command for us to count that truth as real, and to trust in what Christ has already done for us. We must continually count our status in Christ as true, because sin is crouching at our door. While Satan constantly tries to lead us to bondage, let us not allow him to rob us of our inheritance in Christ. By the grace of God, we can live as new persons in Christ. (v11)
To Present ourselves in full surrender to God. We must not let sin reign in our mortal bodies, but present ourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and our members as instruments of righteousness. Sanctification involves us saying yes to God, and yielding our daily lives for the purposes of God’s kingdom and His righteousness. (v12-13).
Let us live for what really matters to God. We can trust the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, making us men and women with hearts sanctified for God, and yielded as an instrument of righteousness. Will we aspire to be such a man and woman for God? We are made right with God, and we can walk right with Him, in this world to make a spiritual impact for Him.
(Sermon notes by Denis Koh)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
1. Read Romans 6:1-14. How does Paul proceed to answer the question he raises in 6:1?
2. Discuss the meaning of “justification” and “sanctification.” The journey of sanctification (i.e. growing in Holiness) begins with knowing certain fundamental truths.
2.1 What are the important truths that Paul states in verses 3-5 and 6? What implications can you draw from them?
2.2 How does knowing these important truths help you to deal with sin and temptation?
3. The word in verse 11 that is translated as “reckon” (in the NKJV) or “count” (in the NIV) is a word that is used in book-keeping and calculating accounts.
3.1 What do you think Paul means when he says (in verse 11), “reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord?” (NKJV)
3.2 The word “reckon” is in the present tense, meaning “keep on reckoning it to be true.” Reflect and share how might you practice this spiritual discipline of “reckoning” in your daily life?
4.1 Read verse 13. What does Paul mean when he says, “present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God?” (NKJV)
4.2 Prayerfully consider what the Lord might be leading you to “present” or “yield” to Him (whether time, talents or resources etc.) for His purposes and glory as part of your discipleship?
5. What is your main takeaway from this week’s study on “knowing,” “reckoning” and “presenting” (i.e. yielding)? Share your own challenges with temptation and sin. Take time to pray for one another, as our sanctification journey is dependent on God’s grace.