Introduction: Last week we learned of an “alternative route” to
salvation. This route did not involve keeping the law, it involved
having faith in Jesus. As we more closely studied Romans chapter 3,
we found that our “bypass” route around the Law turned out to be the
only possible route. Instead of being an “alternative, bypass” route,
we learned it is the only path to righteousness. That leaves us with
the problem pointed out by Meic Pearse; this righteousness by faith
stuff leads to an immoral culture. Or, does it? Let’s jump into our
lesson and find out!

  1. Increase in Sin

    1. Read Romans 5:18-19. How is Jesus the counterpoint to
      Adam? (Some may say it was “unfair” that Adam and Eve
      brought us sin – when we had no choice in the matter. To
      those who say that, Romans teaches us that Jesus brought
      us grace – when we had no choice in that either.)

    2. Read Romans 5:20-21. Why was the law added? (So that sin
      might increase.)

      1. Why would God want sin to increase?

      2. Why does grace grow with the increase in sin? (I
        think Romans is telling that our awareness of our
        sins increased with the law. We understood, when we
        considered the law, how far we were from the plan of
        God. This awareness of the extent of our sins helped
        us to realize the vast power of grace.)

    3. Read Romans 6:1. If grace increases to cover our expanding
      sins, does that mean that it is okay with God for us to
      sin? This goes to the heart of the argument by Meic
      Pearse – if we are justified by grace, can we forget about
      right behavior?

    4. Read Romans 6:2-3. Last week we discussed how Jesus died
      in our place. He died instead of us. This text refines
      this idea just a bit. What happened to us when Jesus died
      for our sins? (When Jesus died, we died.)

      1. Is this automatic? Jesus died, thus symbolically we
        died, and therefore we all have grace? (Romans
        teaches us that the symbolic mechanism for accepting
        this death is baptism. Grace is automatically
        available, but not automatically applied.)

    5. Read Romans 6:4. When do we have this “new life?” (Romans
      paints a wonderful picture here. Jesus’ death on our
      behalf is accepted by us when we are “buried” in the water
      of baptism. This is our symbolic death to sin. Jesus’
      victory over death in His resurrection symbolizes our
      victory over the old life of sin. As we rise out of the
      waters of baptism we enter new life (new eternal life).)

  2. Increase in Right Living

    1. Read Romans 6:5-7. What is our relationship to our old
      life of sin? (Our “body of sin” was “done away with” so
      that we are no longer “slaves” to sin.)

    2. Read Romans 6:11-13. What is our obligation after we have
      been saved by grace? Will we find that sin is
      automatically gone when we accept grace? (Consider the
      language of Romans 6:12 “do not let sin reign in your
      mortal body.” This tells us that we have a choice to make.
      Sin is a choice.)

      1. What kind of picture comes to your mind when you are
        told not to let sin “reign” in your life? Will you be
        completely sin-free? (We may fail in our struggle
        with sin, but we cannot let it have the upper hand.)

    3. Last week in my class, I drew a picture of the Ten
      Commandments with a little door entrance by the first and
      a little exit door by the tenth – with the word
      “righteousness” written just outside the exit door. Romans
      3 teaches us that we cannot reach righteousness by taking
      this path through the Ten Commandments. Instead, I drew a
      path around the Ten Commandments, called “faith in Jesus”
      which ended in the same place – righteousness. As we
      stand at the point of righteousness looking up at the Ten
      Commandments, what is our obligation? (Our obligation is
      to try to obey them.)

    4. Is it likely, as we are looking up at the Ten
      Commandments, that we will sometimes feel that sin has the
      upper hand in our life – even after baptism? (Read Romans
      7:14, 21-24. We see that Paul struggled with the problem
      of doing the sinful things that he did not want to do.)

    5. How do we avoid, according to Romans 6:13, having sin
      reign in our life? (We make choices every day. God tells
      us that a key to right living is to “offer” our body to
      God instead of to sin.)

        1. What do you think this means, as a practical
          matter? What does it mean, say, on Monday of
          this week, to offer yourself to God? (We have
          thoughts and actions which are not, in
          themselves, sin. But, each thought and action
          tends to lead us towards God or towards Satan.
          God tells us to pay attention to this. Move
          towards (“offer yourself to”) God, not Satan, if
          you want to enjoy the new life in which God
          reigns. If you want a practical, Biblical
          illustration of this, read 2 Samuel 11:1-4. Each
          time the Bible mentions some activity of King
          David ask yourself, “Is this sin?” “Is this
          moving towards God or moving towards sin.” You
          will quickly see how important it is to be sure
          your “innocent” actions are moving you towards

    6. Read Romans 6:14-16. To what are we “slaves?” (Obedience.
      The conclusion seems inescapable that in my little picture
      of the Ten Commandments and the doors, we enter the “exit”
      door of the Ten Commandments and “work” our way through
      them. The goal is not salvation (we already have that by
      the grace of Jesus). We are not “working” to be saved.
      Instead, we are working to obey – to live a life that is
      consistent with the new life that Jesus has given us
      through faith.)

    7. Step back just a moment and consider where we are. I’ve
      got you back keeping the Ten Commandments. Is this just
      some slick way of tricking you back into salvation by
      works? What is significantly different between what I am
      teaching and righteousness by works? (The key difference
      is yours assurance of salvation. You make choices to keep
      God’s law knowing that your salvation is assured because
      you are saved by the gift of grace, not your own efforts.)

    8. Read Romans 6:14 & 18. What other help do we have in
      making right choices? (By saying we are under grace, this
      text implies that God helps us in our decisions. By
      saying we are “set free” from sin, this suggests we have
      supernatural help. Let’s leave Romans 6 for just a little
      bit and explore this idea.)

    9. Read Romans 8:6-9. What is available to us for right
      living? (The Holy Spirit. We must have the Spirit of God
      living in us in order to belong to Christ.)

    10. Read Romans 8:10-11. What do these verses suggest is the
      mechanism for giving “new life” to our bodies which died
      to sin? (This teaches us that just as the Spirit of God
      raised Jesus from the dead, so the Spirit of God will
      power our new life. When we rise in baptism to that new
      life, the Holy Spirit is there to aid us to live in
      obedience to God.)

    11. Read Romans 8:12-14. How can we have the ability to “put
      to death” sin in our life? (The power of the Holy Spirit.)

    12. Now, let’s go back to Romans 6. Read Romans 6:19. Recall
      again, that we are righteous only because of our
      acceptance of Jesus’ life and death on our behalf. After
      we have this righteousness, what is the goal of our life,
      according to verse 19? (Holiness.)

      1. Will this be immediate? (No. This gets back to my
        contention that we daily make choices that lead us
        towards sin or towards God. Romans 6:19 teaches us
        that when we were slaves to sin we were constantly
        making choices which led to “ever-increasing
        wickedness.” Now that we are righteous, we are
        expected to make choices that will lead to ever-increasing holiness. Imagine you, holy!)

    13. Read Romans 6:20-23. What is the benefit of leading a life
      tending in the direction of holiness? (Eternal life.)

    14. Friend, the path to eternal life is before you. Jesus
      gives you salvation as a free gift. It requires nothing
      but your acceptance. But, after you become righteous, you
      have decisions to make every day. God expects, through
      your choices and the power of the Holy Spirit, to see you
      making progress towards holiness. There, friend, is the
      path – go forward in it.

  3. Next week: The Cross and the Great Controversy.