No way! That’s Paul’s response to the question . . . no way! By no means are we to continue in sin so that grace may abound (Rom. 6:1). No longer should we play around in the muck just to show again and again how clean the blood of Christ can make us. We’re not to keep on pursuing the world and it’s realm of darkness so that God’s patience and kindness might repeatedly be redisplayed. To be sure, we will fail and falter, and He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins because of Christ’s finished work on the cross, but we are not to presume upon it. That’s not grace’s end game.
While it’s true that where sin abounded, grace did much more abound (Rom. 5:20 AV), grace was never intended to be a perpetual counterbalance to sin’s ongoing dominion in our lives. Instead, grace abounded, it increased much more, so that it might redefine our lives. That now, grace would reign by the righteousness given through faith in Jesus Christ (5:21).
And what’s the power enabling grace to have governing authority over our minds and motives? Something I read in Romans this morning makes me think it’s tied to a participation and to an expectation.
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 6:4 ESV)
That day when we confessed our need to be rescued from sin and believed that Christ had come to be the Savior from sin, we were united with Him. Just as He had died for our sin, by whatever measure of faith we had been given, we declared, though feebly perhaps, we wanted to die to our sin. That we were done with the old and were looking for something new. And so, just He was raised from the dead, we too were gifted with all we needed to walk in newness of life. Our participation in His death and resurrection becoming the enabling dynamic to walk free from sin’s dominion in our lives.
But beyond the promise of participation, what’s grabbed me particularly this morning is a promise which fuels a heightened expectation.
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.
(Romans 6:5 ESV)
We shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. Future tense!
While it’s true that the believer currently knows something of resurrection power through the active agency of the indwelling Spirit of God, we ain’t seen nothing yet. ” For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face” (1Cor. 13:12).
Faith will give way to sight. Just as Christ anticipated being with the Father after His resurrection (John 17:11), we too live in the expectation of one day being absent from the body and present with the LORD (2Cor. 5:8). Just as Jesus reigns today through the power of an indestructible life (Heb. 7:16), we too, one day, will know the reality of doing life, real life, life to the full, as these natural bodies of ours are raised spiritual bodies. As that which was sown perishable, is raised imperishable. As that which was sown in dishonor, is one day raised in glory. As that which today is so weak, will eventually be raised in power (1Cor. 15:42-44).
Beyond the blessing of today’s participation in the life of Christ, we have been given the sure promise of tomorrow’s great expectation of being with Christ. Today, I am invited to lean in and to participate in the power of Christ’s resurrected life. One day, and perhaps sooner than I think, I have been told to look up and to expect being in the presence of His resurrected life.
Participation and expectation.
All because of grace. All for His glory.