Transformed by Grace
Have you ever found you had a misconception in how you thought about something? You thought one way, but it turns out there was a hole in your thinking? Like have you ever said the phrase, “blind as a bat?” Because it turns out you have a misconception. Bats can see. And did you know that the Empire State building was struck by lighting over 100 times last year, proving the lighting does strike in the same place twice? Today, we’re taking a look at one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. Romans 6 has been a source of hope for me in a life changing way. It corrected a misconception I had about my relationship with God. Somewhere in my thinking, I had this idea that grace got me out of hell, but I was on my own when it came to obeying God in my life. Romans 6 taught me that I am transformed by grace.
This powerful chapter actually clears up two possible misconceptions about the Christian life. The second is the one I just mentioned, but before Paul address HOW grace impacts our lives, he make it clear THAT grace impacts our lives. The chapter starts like this:
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:1-4 ESV)
Paul has spent 5 chapters building up to the big truth: we are not saved by our obedience to God, we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus’ perfect obedience, death, and resurrection. So here comes a possible misconception. If I’m not saved by obedience, and if God is showing us how gracious he is by forgiving me, then I should just sin a lot to make there be a lot more grace! Paul says, “wrong!” Jesus gave his life so that our old life of sin and death could die with him on the cross. He was raised so that we could “walk in newness of life.” This is our calling as Christians. Here’s the question, How? How do we walk in newness of life? We are called to, so that clears up one misconception. But how?Are we on our own to live out obedience? Praise God; the answer is no.
“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.  We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.  For one who has died has been set free from sin.  Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.  We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.  For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.  So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.  Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.  For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:5-14 ESV)
Did you just skip reading that because it’s a long quote? Get back up there and read it. Or read it again. This is life changing stuff guys. Your old way of life, your sinful habits, your sinful desires, they hung on the cross with Jesus. They died. Your old self was crucified with him so that sin’s power over you could be brought to nothing, In Christ, you have been set free from sin. I love verses 12 and 13. Our fight against sin is no longer a fists clenched, failure ridden, guilt producing, never ending attempt at finding acceptance before God. No, we have a new life. Sin no longer has dominion. Grace has transformed us.
Grace invites us to a new way of life that is filled with the fruit of joy. The real choice before us each and every day is this: Do we want to choose to enjoy God’s transforming power in our lives as we say no to sin, or do we want to feed the old, dead flesh that died with Christ? What we choose has serious impact on our lives. Paul closes out the chapter by saying it like this:
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.  But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:20-23 ESV)
Even as Christians, we can choose to live a life that brings death for a season. But why would we choose that? God has given us grace, he’s given us his Spirit, he has invited us into a transformed way of life. It’s a gift, let’s receive it day by day and moment by moment.
Questions for Reflection:
What is so wrong about the idea, “let’s sin all the more that grace may abound?” Can you imagine saying that to Jesus after what he did for us on the cross?
In your life right now, what fruit are you getting from the things you know are feeding the old way of life? Is that really what you want? Can you think of some defining moments where you have lived in obedience by grace and found joy?
What are some ways, in addition to daily devotions, that you can meet with God and learn to “walk in newness of life?”
Grace & Peace.