Romans 6

Show Notes for Romans 6:1-23

Study Notes

6.1  Romans 6:1-14
6.2  Romans 6:15-23


6.1 Sin’s Power is Broken (6:1-13)


6:1-2  Believers & Sin
6:1-2, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? [2] By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” NIV

I.  The question: If God loves to forgive, why not give Him more to forgive?
“Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” NIV

II.  The answer: The gospel provides freedom from sin, not a license to sin
“By no means” NIV

III.  Five ways believers have died to sin:
“We died to sin” NIV

i. In the legal sense

ii. In the conversion sense

iii. In the baptismal sense

iv. In the moral sense

v. In the resurrection sense


6:3-4  Water Baptism: The Mark
6:3-4, “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? [4] We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” NIV

Definition:  “Baptized into His death”
Christ’s death is effective atonement for a person when he puts faith in Christ, even before he is baptized.  But baptism is 1) God’s public proclamation that He is accepting Christ’s death as satisfaction for this particular believer’s sins, and 2) the believer’s public proclamation that he is accepting Christ as satisfaction for his sins and Lord of his life.

Definition:  “Buried”
Burial is a public acknowledgment, ratification, and seal that the person in question has died.  Like burial, baptism is not the death of the old self but the rite which publicly confirms that a death has occurred.

I.  Water baptism is a picture of spiritual truth
“All of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus” NIV

II.  Water baptism represents death
“Were baptized into his death” NIV

III.  Immersion in water represents burial
“Buried with him through baptism” NIV

IV.  Death is our motivation for choosing life
“We too may live a new life” NIV


6:5  Water Baptism: Death and Life
6:5, “If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.” NIV

Definition: “United”
United literally means, “we have become grown together.”

I.  Water baptism unites believers with Christ’s death
“United with him like this in his death” NIV

II.  Christian life is a slow death
“Certainly also be united with him in his resurrection” NIV


6:6  A New Option
6:6, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin–” NIV

Definition: “Old self”
Literally, “old man.”  The whole of our fallen human nature, the whole self in its fallenness.  No part of a person escapes condemnation and death in God’s sight when the person unites with Christ.  In this way, a wholly new self can be born, a completely new creation.

Definition: “Body of sin”
The old, unregenerate self, dominated by sin.  It includes the physical, emotional, psychological, intellectual, and spiritual self.

I.  Believers have died with Christ
“Old self was crucified with him” NIV

II.  Our death releases us from blindly obeying our sinful desires
“We should no longer be slaves to sin” NIV


6:7-8  The Definitive Release
6:7-8, “because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. [8] Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.”

I.  Death creates a release that cannot be reversed
“Anyone who has died has been freed” NIV


6:9  No Mastery
6:9, “For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.” NIV

I.  Sin cannot enslave a believer
“Death no longer has mastery” NIV


6:10  Complete Pleasure
6:10, “The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.”

I.  Christ’s death makes His work final and complete
“He died to sin once for all” NIV

II.  Believers now live for God’s pleasure
“The life he lives, he lives to God” NIV


6:11  No Response
6:11, “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” NIV

I.  What is true for Christ is true for believers: we have died to become alive
“In the same way” NIV


6:12  Live Free
6:12, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.” NIV

I. Believers are to live as free people, not as people controlled by sin
“Do not let sin reign in your mortal body” NIV


6:13  A Believer’s Tool
6:13, “Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.” NIV

I.  Our body is a tool to be used to do what is right
“Instruments of righteousness” NIV

II.  Some tips on how to exterminate personal sin:
“Do not offer” NIV

i. Identify personal weaknesses

ii. Recognize temptations

iii. Confront sinful desires

iv. Stay away from known sources of temptation

v. Practice self-restraint

vi.  Consciously invest time in good habits and service

vii. Depend on grace

viii. Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart

6:14  Law and Grace
6:14, “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” NIV

Definition:  “Not under law”
Christians are freed from the condemnation and penalties God’s Law required.  Instead, they are judged according to the gracious intervention of Jesus.  Also, apart from grace, people can only try to meet God’s expectations by their own effort, but grace empowers believers to live up to what God desires.

I.  What it means to no longer be under the Law:
“You are not under law” NIV

i. We are not under the law’s demands, as were the people of the Old Testament.

ii. We are not under curse implied by the impossible standard of the law (see Galatians 3:10-14).

iii. We are not under its system of requirements, the ceremonial laws that had to be meticulously kept.

iv. We are not under the fear of failing the just standard of the law.

II.  Where the Law left no room for failure (highlighting that we were on a path to death), grace is our path to God
“But under grace” NIV



Water baptism is a wonderful picture that expresses a spiritual reality.  Believers have been freed from sin by uniting themselves with Christ’s death and resurrection.  Because we have died with Christ we have a new option available to us.  We can now choose to please God rather than slavishly following our sinful desires.  Having died with Christ, we have been released from sin’s mastery over us.  Although we can still sin, we now have a choice where we had none before faith in Christ.  Our choice should be to reject our old slave ways and to please God.  It is important for us to consider ourselves as having died with Christ, because dead people cannot respond to temptation.  We need to exercise our freedom by using our bodies in ways that please God.  Part of what it means to please God and to live free is to intentionally die to our old self day by day.  It is because of God’s grace that we have this freedom available to us.


6.2 Slaves to Righteousness  (6:15-23)


6:15  Refined Question
6:15, “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!” NIV

I.  This question looks similar to the question in verse 1
“What then?” NIV

II.  The Question: Because sin is no longer our master, can we indulge without fear of being controlled by it?
“Shall we sin because” NIV

III.  The Answer: We have the freedom not to sin
“By no means!” NIV


6:16  Definitely Slaves
6:16, “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey–whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?” NIV

Definition: “Slave”
A slave was a person owned as property by another. It also refers to the relationship that bound the owner and the slave. Slavery was widespread in the ancient Near East, although the economy was not dependent upon it. By Roman times, slavery was very commonplace. In the early Christian period one out of every two people was a slave. From at least 3000 BC, captives in war were the primary source of slaves.

In Roman times, when the number of slaves increased dramatically, household slaves remained the best treated. Many became servants and close friends. Some even established good businesses to their own and their masters’ benefit.

I.  We are slaves to whomever we obey
“When you offer yourselves to someone to obey” NIV

II.  There are only two masters available to choose from
“Whether you are slaves to sin… or to obedience” NIV


6:17  Obediently Free
6:17, “But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.” NIV

Definition: “Form of teaching”
This is probably the basic doctrines of the gospel and its implications for life which new converts received.  This teaching probably included ethical instruction.

I.  Obedience to the gospel leads to freedom from sin
“Wholeheartedly obeyed” NIV


6:18  There Can Be Only One
6:18, “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” NIV

I.  Every person has a master – either sin or righteousness
“Set free… have become slaves” NIV


6:19  Why Slaves?
6:19, “I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.”

Definition: “Human terms”
Paul explains why he uses the imperfect, human analogy of slavery to describe our relationship to God.  In some ways it is wholly inappropriate, but in other ways it expresses important truths.

I.  Paul’s illustration: everyone knew what a slave was
“In human terms” NIV

II.  Being a slave to righteousness is much better than being a slave to sin
“Offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness” NIV


6:20-21  Shameful Freedom
6:20-21, “When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. [21] What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!” NIV

I.  Being free of righteousness is the opposite of freedom
“Free from the control of righteousness” NIV

II.  It is appropriate to feel ashamed of our pre-Christian actions
“The things you are now ashamed of” NIV


6:22  Slave Benefits
6:22, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.” NIV

I.  The benefit of being God’s slave is immeasurable
“The benefit you reap leads to” NIV


6:23  Wages and Gifts
6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” NIV

I.  Sin leads to eternal separation from God in hell
“Wages of sin is death” NIV

II.  Eternal life, an eternal relationship with God, is offered as a free gift
“The gift of God is eternal life” NIV

III. The appropriate response to God’s gift is grateful acceptance
“Gift” NIV


We are slaves.  We are either slaves to sin or we are slaves to righteousness.  There is no middle ground, so we must choose our slavery wisely.  Being a slave to righteousness is far better than being a slave to sin.  There are immeasurable benefits to serving Christ, but eternal disappointment for obeying sin.  So, which slavery will we pursue?  If we spend our lives pursuing our sinful desires, wanting separation from God, then eternal separation from God is what we will get.  However, if we gratefully accept God’s merciful offer of salvation and choose to become a slave to righteousness, we will look like Christ more each day and will spend eternity with Him.