“Since Grace is Grace…” Pt. 5
February 25, 2018
In his book Comrades, historian Stephen Ambrose writes about the nature of war:
Combat requires all the nerves, all the physical attributes, every bit of the training. It is only in combat, nowhere else, where time is measured in other ways than by clocks or calendars. Only in combat does the soldier realize that he is in the worst situation that can ever be imagined, that nothing else can compare to it, that the longer he stays where he is the more likely that he will be dead, or if he is extremely lucky he will be wounded. Only in combat is one in a position in which youngsters his age he doesn’t know, has never met, are trying to kill him — and he is trying to kill them. 
Some of you have seen the kind of combat that Ambrose speaks of. But all of us are in a series of battles that are far more severe than any war this planet has ever known. In addition to your physical body, you are a spiritual being and have a spiritual life. And the spiritual life is war. That war has infinitely more costly implications for victory and loss than physical war. And the enemy we battle is far more devious than any worldly commander. And the general we serve is far greater in equipping us than any earthly general.
And if we will succeed in the spiritual battles we face, we will need to assume the mindset that we are not on vacation, but that we are in a succession of battles against sin. We are not fighting to save our souls (only God can save us, which is what Romans 4 is all about), but we are in a battle to live the salvation that God has granted to us. And that is Paul’s point in Romans 6:12-14 — because we were identified with Christ’s death and resurrection when we were justified, we must therefore “not let sin reign” over us (v. 12). Sin is not our master, and because sin is not our master, we should not live in a way that makes it appear as if sin is our master. That is our battle.
We might summarize the theme of this passage this way:
Because we are united to Christ, we are able to and must fight against sin.
We are in a battle against sin, how will we fight that battle? We will fight the battle by living out four implications of our union with Christ.
- Do Not Let Sin Rule Your Life (v. 12)
- Do Not Use Your Life in Unrighteous Service (v. 13a)
- Do Use Your Life to Serve God (v. 13b)
- You Will Master Sin Because of Grace (v. 14)
Download the rest of this sermon on Romans 6:12-14.