Sermon: Dead to Sin, Romans 6

This sermon was originally preached a First Baptist Church Sudbury on March 27, 2022.

When you think about your relationship to sin, what comes to mind? Is it an image of a battle? A fight between David and Goliath? Sin is Goliath and you’re David and you have to defeat sin using nothing but a bag of rocks and a flannel graph? When you think about your relationship to sin, do you picture an advertisement for candy that says something like “sinfully delicious caramel with a decadent fudge filling. Indulge yourself. You deserve this.” Is sin something exotic, forbidden, and pleasurable? More seriously, when you think about your relationship to sin, do you picture is an out-of-control train heading toward a canyon? Sin is the engine and you’re the passenger car desperately trying to unhitch yourself from it before it takes you over the edge? Today, I want to show you the image Paul gives you in Romans Chapter 6, if you are a Christian. He says “you are dead to sin.” You are a dead body. A corpse. What does that mean? That’s what I want to explain today.

Let me give you a road-map of this morning’s sermon. First, since I’m preaching on Chapter 6, I’ll provide a quick overview of Romans chapters 1 through 5 to explain the context and show you the questions Paul is addressing. Second, I’ll read Chapter 6 in its entirety. Third, I’ll explain the chapter. Finally, I’ll apply the chapter to us. So #1: summarize the context, #2 read the chapter, #3 explain the chapter, #4 apply the chapter.

So let’s start with an overview of Romans 1-5.

I. The Gospel: Summarizing Romans 1-5

In Chapter 1, Paul’s main message is God’s wrath against the lawless, those who break God’s commands: “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (1:18). He’s mainly thinking here of Gentiles, non-Jewish people, who don’t have God’s law as revealed in the Bible. He lists all kinds of immoral behavior: idolatry, pride, sexual immorality, violence, and so forth. The Gentiles practiced those sins and Paul’s Jewish readers would probably have been nodding along in agreement with Paul.

But then, in Chapter 2, Paul turns to his Jewish hearers and says: “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself because you, the judge, practice the very same things.” People without God’s law are under God’s judgement, but so are people who have God’s law and fail to keep it. Paul says: Just having God’s law in the Bible isn’t enough. If you have the law, but don’t keep it, you’re still guilty. Imagine that a police officer pulls you over and says “do you realize you were going 90 mph in a 55-mph zone?” So you respond: “Yes, sir officer. But before I left the house, I printed out a complete 34-page copy of the Massachusetts State Rules of the Road document. Look, it’s right here in the passenger’s seat. And it says very clearly that it’s illegal to exceed the speed limit. In fact, I even took a picture of the speed-limit sign a few miles back (it’s a little blurry!). So I’m free to go, right?” Wrong. You have the law, but you don’t keep it. So you are now guilty. That’s what Paul is saying to the Jews. You have the law, but you don’t keep it. So you are guilty.

In Chapter 3, Paul explains the solution: “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (3:21-24). God sent Jesus to live a sinless life, to die in our place, and to rise from the dead to rescue us. Gentiles, you don’t have the law. Jews, you have the law. But all of you break the law, so all of you need salvation.

Now, do we earn God’s salvation? Absolutely not, says Paul in Chapter 4. God’s righteousness is a gift. We are forgiven by God purely as an act of grace apart from anything we deserve or anything we do. You can’t buy a gift. That’s the very nature of a gift. If you pay for something, it’s not a gift, it’s a purchase. Some of my wife’s favorite flowers are stargazer lilies. Imagine I handed her a bouquet of stargazer lilies and said “I bought this gift for you. It’s yours. It’s an expression of my love for you. Also, it will cost you $24.99 plus tax. I’ll accept cash or credit.” If she pays me for the flowers, that’s not a gift. That’s a purchase. (Pro-tip: do not make your wife buy flowers from you. This is a sermon illustration only. Do not send me angry emails about how bad my marriage advice is.)

Paul says: salvation is a gift, not a purchase. And if you try to pay for forgiveness with your good works, it shows not only that you don’t understand the depth of your sin, but also that you don’t understand the riches of God’s mercy.

This is the message of the gospel: all of us have sinned. Jesus came to die on the cross for our sins and rise from the dead for our justification. And we can receive God’s gracious forgiveness  simply by trusting in Jesus, apart from any works. No matter the depth of our sin, God’s grace is sufficient.

And then we come to this key bridge verse. Romans 5:20 says: “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (5:20). This statement is crucial because it’s going to lead into Paul’s message in Chapter 6.

So we’re finished with part #1, summarizing Chapters 1-5. Let’s start part #2 and read Chapter 6 in full.

II. Romans 6

<read Romans 6, ESV>

III. Indicative, Imperative, Incompatibility

So #1, I’ve provided an overview of Chapter 1-5, and #2, I’ve read chapter 6. So we’re on part #3: let’s walk through chapter 6 under three headings.

 First, Paul teaches that we are dead to sin. If you are a Christian, you are dead to sin. This is a fact. It’s not a command. It’s not something you have to do. It is a statement of reality. If I say, “you have a sunburn” I am not commanding you to do something. I’m just making an observation about reality. That’s what Paul is doing here.  But Paul doesn’t stop there. He says more.

Second, Paul teaches that we need to reckon ourselves dead to sin. Now, this is a command. This is something that Paul is telling us we “ought” to do as Christians. Yes, you are dead to sin. Now, here’s how you should respond to that truth. Yes, you do have a sunburn. That’s a fact. But now I’m giving you commands: “sit in the shade. put on a hat. Wear some sunscreen.” These are things we ought to do in response to reality. That’s Paul’s second point. But then, someone might ask: “ok, but why. Why should we wear sunscreen? What should motivate us to do that?”

That’s Paul’s third point: Paul teaches us about the contrast between spiritual death and spiritual life. He gives us reasons that we should flee sin and lead a new life in Christ. Here the analogy would be to a doctor sitting us down and explaining skin cancer: “You have a sunburn, so you ought to wear sunscreen. Why? Ah, well, let me explain what can happen if you don’t wear sunscreen. Let me explain what melanoma is. Let me show you why you ought to care.”

So let’s examine Chapter 6 under those three headings: we’re dead to sin; we need to reckon ourselves dead to sin; and there is a stark contrast between spiritual death and spiritual life.

Indicative: Dead to sin

First, Christians are dead to sin. Paul writes: “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.” (2-4)

“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.” (6-7). So Paul’s message is: “you have died to sin.”

What does it mean that we died to sin? It doesn’t mean that we’re never tempted by it. It doesn’t mean that we never commit it. It means that it no longer has a hold on us in two ways: we’re no longer under its penalty and we are no longer under its power.

First, we’re no longer under sin’s penalty. There’s a funny scene in C.S. Lewis’ book The Horse and His Boy where a very vain, silly princess threatens her servants with punishment by saying: “anyone I catch [disobeying me] will be first beaten to death and then burned alive and after that be kept on bread and water for six weeks.” Now, why is that funny? Because you can’t punish a dead person any further. They’re dead. They’ve already suffered the ultimate punishment.

Now, what does Paul say? “all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death” and “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death.” When Jesus died on the cross, our sin died with him. In fact, we died with him. The penalty of sin is death, but Jesus died that death in my place, so now I’m freed from that penalty. Just as free as if I myself had died. So we are free from sin’s penalty.

Next, what does it mean that we’re no longer under sin’s power? Paul writes: “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.” What he means is that sin no longer owns us. It no longer controls us. Its power has been broken. Why? Because “the one who has died has been set free from sin.” And then in verse 17 he writes: “having been set free from sin, [you] have become slaves of righteousness.” What does that mean?

He’s saying that, before you were a Christian, you were under the power of sin. Sin commanded and you obeyed. Sin was your master. But now, Jesus has freed you from sin’s bondage and he is your master.

Let’s think about Paul’s illustration a bit because it’s very encouraging if you’re a Christian. Sometimes, we can get discouraged when we sin. We think: “if I were a Christian, I wouldn’t be tempted like this. If I were a Christian, I wouldn’t sin.” But Paul’s point is not that you never sin, but that that your ownership has been transferred from sin to God. That has happened. Past tense. Your status has changed.

Imagine that you moved from Massachusetts to Hawaii and you filled out all the appropriate tax forms and updated your residence information. You are now a resident of Hawaii. Period. Hawaii will now collect your state tax. All the money withheld from your paycheck will now go to Hawaii. But let’s say you sometimes forget that you’re a Hawaii resident and occasionally send a check to MA. In fact, let’s say you frequently send checks to the Massachusetts state government in an attempt to pay your taxes to them. Does that change your residency? No. You can send them all the money you want, but they have no legal claim on you nor will your errors change your status. You now belong to Hawaii. End of story.

In the same way, if you are truly a Christian, your ownership has been transferred. Your residency has been transferred from the kingdom of sin and death to the kingdom of God. Jesus is your master and he has a claim on your service. Sin has none.

However, if you are not a Christian, some of you may react in a different way. You may hear Paul’s claim that you’re a slave to sin say “no way. I’m not a slave to sin. I’m not perfect; I have my faults. But I do what I want. No one tells me what to do: not God, not the government, not Hollywood, not my parents, not the Bible, not anyone. I’m free.”

Are you though? The essence of slavery is that you’re not your own. You belong to someone else and you must obey your master. To update the analogy, we could substitute “addiction” for “slavery.” An addiction also controls your life. You belong to your addiction and you must obey it. An addict is someone who is in bondage: to alcohol, to drugs, to sex, to anything they can’t go without. So here’s a question: are you a sin addict? You are indeed. I’ll prove it to you.

Imagine I offered you $1 million dollars to obey the Bible’s interpersonal ethical commands for just one month. Forget the religious commands: I won’t require you to go to church or to pray or to read the Bible. So could you do it? No, you couldn’t. How long before some unkind word crossed your lips? How long before you gossiped or slandered? How long before you lied? How long before you stole something or acted dishonestly. And remember, God’s commands apply not merely to our behavior, but to our thoughts and our motivations. So forget about saying something unkind; how long before you entertained an unkind thought? Or a lustful thought? Or a vengeful thought? Could you make it a month? Or a week? Could you even make it an hour?

Be honest with yourself: you couldn’t. And if I renewed the offer and said “give it another shot. Try again” how long would you last this time? And when you sinned again and I said “ok, try another time and another time and another time” do you know what you’d eventually do? You’d say “look, forget it. This is stupid. Keep your money. I’m tired of this game. I may not be perfect, but I’m doing just fine, thank you very much. I can stop sinning whenever I want. If it gets really bad, then I’ll quit. Leave me alone.”

My friends: that’s the language of addiction. You are a sin addict. You can’t not sin. You are enslaved to sin. You need to be set free.

So if you are not a Christian, then you are dead in sin. You can’t stop sinning and sin is going to eventually eat you alive. You are still under the penalty of sin and you are still under the power of sin. You need to receive God’s forgiveness in Christ and be transferred from the rule of sin to the rule of Christ. But if you are a Christian, if you have trusted in Christ, then you are dead to sin. You are dead to sin’s penalty because God sees you as righteous in Christ. And you are dead to sin’s power because God has given you a new heart that no longer must obey sin’s commands. Paul says: “sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”

Now how is that relevant to the rhetorical questions Paul posed? In verse 1, he asked “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” He answered: “By no means! And then again in verse 15 he asked What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace?” He answered again “By no means!”

Consider an analogy. Imagine that you’ve gone into debt to a mob boss and you’ve had to sell yourself into slavery to pay the debt. The mob boss is a terrible, cruel master who drags you into a locked cell in his house and chains you to your bed so you can’t escape. But one day, a stranger comes and pays your entire debt and then strikes off your chains, kicks open the door of your cell and says “you’re free to go. And if you ever get into debt again, I’ll pay it off and make sure you never end up in slavery.” So you’re free from the penalty your master imposed on you and you’re free from his power because you’ve been rescued from his prison.

Now what’s the first thing you go do? Do you pull out a deck of cards and start playing high-stakes poker with the mob boss? Do you haul a roulette wheel over to his house? Do you go down to the racetrack he owns and start betting on horses? BY NO MEANS.

Well, why not? Your benefactor said he’d pay off your debt. Why not continue in debt so that grace might abound? Do you see now? No sane person in that situation would go back into debt. They have been freed from their former master’s penalty and from his power. So how could they go back into bondage? Why would they want to?

When we become Christians, God cancels the debt of sin and he breaks the power of sin. We are dead to sin now. How then can we possibly go back and start living in sin? That’s insane. That makes no sense. That’s impossible.

Imperative: Count yourselves dead to sin

“Oh wow great” some of you say “so I don’t have to do anything. I can just sit back and relax and do nothing. I’ll just never be tempted again. I just let go and let God. He doesn’t want me to do anything.”

Wait! Paul has more to say. He’s just declared: yes, you are dead to sin. You are dead to its penalty and dead to its power. So? Now you do nothing? No: “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.”

Whoa whoa whoa Paul. Do this. Do that. Do the other thing. You sound like my parents. You sound like my boss. Can’t I just take life easy now? No! says Paul. He asks: “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?”

When you say “I’m going to take life easy” what do you mean, says Paul? You’re not just going to lie in bed motionless all day. You’re still going to work and play and eat and sleep and talk and think. And when you do all of those things, you will be serving someone. You will either be serving sin or serving God. You will either be obeying God or disobeying God.

“No!” you say, “I really will just sit at home in my pajamas eating peanut butter out of the jar and playing video games.” Uh-huh: that’s the sin of sloth and probably gluttony. When you say “I’m not going to serve anyone,” you’re really just serving yourself. So Paul says: “choose this day whom you will serve. Serve God, not sin.” Yes: Work. Play. Eat. Sleep. Talk. Think. Do all of those normal, inescapable things in life. But do it all to the glory of God by obeying His commands in Scripture.

But there’s a key word here: “Consider.” “consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God.” You can also translate that word “reckon” or “account.” Reckon yourself dead to sin. Account yourself dead to sin. View yourself as dead to sin. Why? Because you are dead to sin.

In other words, because you actually have died with Christ, because you actually are dead to sin, because sin’s penalty has actually been cancelled and its power has been broken, now act that way. Live that way. Paul’s not saying: “live this way, so that you will die to sin.” He’s saying “you are dead to sin, so now live like you are.”

Go back to the mob boss analogy. When we sin, it’s like returning to the mob boss to play a few rounds of Texas Hold’Em. It’s like chaining yourself to your own bed in your own room and locking the door, because you’ve gotten so used to your slavery. Yes we sin. The mob boss sounds appealing. Sometimes, he temps us and we obey, even though we no longer have to. We act like his slaves even though we’re not. That’s why we have to remind ourselves daily, hourly: “no. This is not who I am anymore. I do not need to do this. Jesus has set me free, and I am free indeed.”

Incompatibility: The contrast between death and life

Finally, Paul tells us to look honestly at our lives. He says: think back to before you were a Christian: “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.” How did that work out for you? Maybe we were living in overt rebellion: getting drunk, hooking up with random people every weekend, squandering our money on ourselves, cheating to get ahead at work. Or maybe we were living in covert rebellion. We were like Ned Flanders: law-abiding, upstanding, tax-paying, church-going citizens on the outside. But on the inside? Self-righteous, arrogant, jerks. That was me, by the way. Paul’s point is: it doesn’t matter.

Are drunkenness and premarital sex and covetousness sins? Yes. They end in death.
Are pride and self-righteousness and gossip sins? Yes. They end in death.

Put it all away, Paul says. Turn from that way of life and run to Jesus. If you live apart from God, you will die apart from God. All of us have sinned. And “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

IV. Think: Applying Romans 6

So we’ve read the chapter, and we’ve explained the chapter. As I bring the sermon to a close, let me list two ways that we can apply the chapter to our lives.

First, this passage helps us understand repentance.

Second, this passage helps us understand grace.

Understanding repentance

First, how does being “dead to sin” help us understand repentance? When many people hear the word “repentance,” we think about “stopping bad behavior.” And repentance certainly isn’t less than that. If there is no change in your behavior at all, then you haven’t really repented. But repentance is more than “stopping bad behavior.” The word “repentance” in Greek is “metanoia” which literally means “a change of mind.” To repent is to change your mind about sin and that change of mind produces a change in behavior.

For example, imagine two teenagers who both decide to go to the mall and get huge, red and green dragons tattooed on their faces. So they get in their cars and start driving to the mall. When they’re half-way there, they both turn around and start heading back home. Have they both repented? No. One of them realized he’d forgotten his wallet and as soon as he gets it, he’s going right back to the mall to get that really, really, really stupid tattoo. But the other one suddenly said to himself “you know, this is a really, really, really stupid idea; I should probably not do this.” Now, on the outside, their behavior looks the same. They both turned their car around. But only one of them had actually changed his mind. Only one of them had actually repented.

Well, ok, what does that have to do with this passage?

Remember what Paul said in v. 21: “what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed?” And in v. 23 he writes “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” Take a time-out and say: where am I headed? Is this where I want to go?

There’s a powerful scene in the movie American History X where Ed Norton plays Neo-Nazi Derek Vinyard who has been in jail for years. His former teacher Bob Sweeney, who is Black, is trying to get through to him. He’s trying to reach him.

Sweeney says this: There was a moment, when I used to blame everything and everyone for all the pain and suffering and vile things that happened to me, that I saw happen to my people. Used to blame everybody. Blamed White people, blamed society, blamed God. I didn’t get no answers ’cause I was asking the wrong questions. You have to ask the right questions.

Derek Vinyard: Like what?

Bob Sweeney: Has anything you’ve done made your life better?

There’s a moment of silence. And Derek shakes his head and just breaks down and start weeping. He realizes that his Neo-Nazi ideology, his violence, his swagger, his rage: it’s all gotten him nowhere. It’s a dead end. It has ruined him. And he changes his mind. That is repentance. Repentance is changing your mind. Repentance is waking up. Repentance is realizing that you are on a path that is leading you to a bad place.

Understanding grace

Second, this passage helps us understand grace. Remember how this chapter started? Paul was responding to people who were asking “if grace abounds when sin abounds, then why not just sin?” I think there are three kinds of people who ask that question: first, the presumptuous; second, the offended; third, the confused.

First, some people love to hear that if they sin, they’ll be forgiven because they think that’s an excuse to sin as much as they want. They don’t tremble with gratitude. They don’t weep with joy to know they’re free. They just shrug and saw “Cool. Time to go sin then.” But if that’s your attitude: be warned. The Bible consistently says that the fruit you bear is evidence of whether you have actually repented.

Here’s an example. Imagine I’m a farmer and, after a long hard day in the fields, I enjoy taking a cold drink of water from a well in front of my house. But one day, a man from the EPA stops by and says “we’ve tested all the wells in this area and I’m sorry to tell you that your well water contains extremely high levels of arsenic. If keep drinking it, you are going to die.” I tell him “Thank you so much. I had no idea. I will definitely stop drinking from this well. I have tap water in my house that’s just as good. Thanks for warning me.” But then, I just continue to drink water from my well as if nothing had happened.

Now: have I changed my mind? Absolutely not. Why? Because if I had changed me mind about the well, I would have stopped drinking the water. The fact that I haven’t stopped drinking the water is evidence that I didn’t change my mind.

In the same way, if you hear the message of the gospel and your first thought is “YES!!!!! NOW I CAN GO SIN WITH IMPUNITY” that is presumption. If you hear the gospel and your reaction is to go out and sin as much as possible, you may have heard the gospel, but you have not repented and believed the gospel. A Christian has changed his mind, and that changes his behavior. A Christian has a new heart, a new love for God, and a new desire to please Him. That shows. If there are no outward changes in your life at all, then it is legitimate to ask whether you have really trusted Christ. So do not respond to the message of the gospel with presumption.

Second, some people are offended by the message of the gospel, for various reasons. They hear the message that we can be received by God freely, apart from works, on the basis of grace alone through faith alone, and they say “Hmph, sounds like a pretty easy religion. A religion for weak people. A religion for people who can’t get it together. A religion for losers. A religion for sinners.” Friends, that’s exactly right. Christianity is a religion for losers, and sinners, and rebels, for the poor and needy, for the sick and wretched. Christianity is not a religion for righteous people but for unrighteous people. Jesus himself said that he’d come to call not the righteous, but sinners. So if you think of yourself as a righteous person, Christianity is not for you. But hear this: you are not righteous and you need Jesus just as much as the losers you despise.

Others are offended because they think the gospel will inspire us to sin. They say “look, you can’t teach people that they’re freely forgiven. You have to make them work. Make them do a little penance. Tell them that God will only love them if they are very obedient. How will you get people to behave if they think they’re loved unconditionally?”

I’d offer two responses.

First, that’s not the way reality works. If Scripture says that salvation is a free gift from beginning to end, then it is. It doesn’t matter whether you like it. It doesn’t matter whether you think it will be good for society. It doesn’t matter whether you think there are better ways to get people to behave. What’s true is true. God’s Word says that man is justified by grace through faith apart from works.

Second, that’s not even how real life works. Do you really think that lasting behavioral change only comes about through threatening and not through unconditional love? Think about times you’ve been deeply changed or transformed in a relationship. Was it because someone threatened you? Or was it because, even when they challenged you and admonished you, you knew that they loved you and were 100% completely committed to you? That’s how real, lasting transformation happens.

Third, some people are genuinely confused. They assume that Christianity is just like every other religion. They think Christianity teaches that good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell. Then they read the Bible and they realize that Christianity teaches something entirely different. It teaches that there are no good people and that if anyone is going to be saved, it has to be entirely on the basis of God’s grace, his unmerited favor, his unearned kindness towards wicked, corrupt rebels. So if you’re genuinely asking –in wonder and astonishment– “What? Is God’s grace really that great? Will God’s mercy really cover every sin? Is salvation truly, 100% free?” then you are finally starting to get it.


So, in conclusion, what should you take away from this passage? If you are a Christian, THINK. Remind yourself of what Jesus has done for you. Remind yourself of who you are. Remind yourself of what sin is and where it leads. Sin wrecks your life. Sin corrupts you. Sin destroys your relationship with God, with others, and even with yourself. Sin put Jesus on the cross. Why on earth would you toy with it? Why would you flirt with it? Let gratitude and joy lead you to flee from sin and embrace Christ.

If you are not a Christian, THINK. The message of the Bible is that you are either serving sin or you are serving God. Serving sin doesn’t necessarily mean being a murderer or a drug dealer or an adulterer. You don’t have to be a Jeffrey Epstein or a Neo-Nazi to serve sin. If you have made anything in your life more important than God, then you are a slave to that thing. You are serving it. It is your god. It doesn’t matter whether it’s money, or sex, or family, or respectability, or your own personal freedom. You have put it in God’s place and you are bowing down to it and that is sin.

Listen: how’s that working out for you? How is that going to work out for you? Maybe, right now, things are pretty good. You’ve got money. You’ve got a nice house. You’re enjoying the promiscuous lifestyle. But you’re just one footstep from the edge. One stock market crash, one car accident, one call from the doctor away and your whole world will crumble. If your world is built on anything less than Christ, it’s built on a foundation that will perish. One day, you will be lying on your death bed, and you won’t be asking questions like “what’s going on this weekend? How’s my 401k? What are the Celtics’ chances this year?” You will be asking questions like “Is there a God? What comes next?”

Ask these questions now. Don’t put them off.

But listen to Paul’s last line in this chapter: “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” If you are a non-Christian, you are serving a master. You are earning a wage. Your master is sin and your wage is death. That’s what you deserve. That’s what I deserve. But God offers you something better: not a wage, not a reward, but a gift. Something you can receive freely today at no cost to you but at infinite cost to Jesus Christ, who paid your debt to God on the cross and rose from the dead so that you could be forgiven and reconciled.

Let’s pray.


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Mounce, R. H. (1995). Romans (Vol. 27)

Moo, D. J. (2000). Romans.