May 18, 2018

License to Sin?

Romans 6

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Dead to Sin, Alive to God

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.

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 self1 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 free2 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. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 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. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Slaves to Righteousness

15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves,3 you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 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. 22 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. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


[1] 6:6 Greek man
[2] 6:7 Greek has been justified
[3] 6:16 For the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface; twice in this verse; also verses 17, 19 (twice), 20

License to Sin?

Bio | Calvin Strain

Howdy! My name is Calvin Strain, and I'm a member of the Fightin' Texas Aggie Class of 2013. I grew up in College Station and definitely bleed maroon. After graduating from college, I moved to Dallas where, soon after, the Lord rescued me from myself and saved me from my destructive ways. I got plugged in at Watermark, turned back to my first love (Hosea 2:7), and was diverted from my route of living that led to death (Proverbs 14:12). I now serve with re:generation, a 12-step discipleship program through recovery at Watermark Community Church!

I have a beautiful bride named Kelsey. I am so thankful for her; she is a constant reminder of God's grace!

Central Truth

If you are a Christian, you are identified with Christ! You are no longer a slave to sin like you once were. Rejoice that you are no longer a slave to sin but a slave to righteousness! 

Devotional | Romans 6

Not too long ago, I was talking with a friend at work who asked me if God saw his good deed that day and gave him a "point" in his "good column." I explained that no matter how God viewed...

Not too long ago, I was talking with a friend at work who asked me if God saw his good deed that day and gave him a "point" in his "good column." I explained that no matter how God viewed his actions, he could never have enough points in his good column to earn eternal life with God. We then went over the gospel and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. He had heard this before, but it prompted him to ask this question: if a person is saved by grace, then why would they not continue to sin? Delighted with his question, I told him that is what Romans 6 is all about! 

The chapter starts off by asking that same question in verse 1. "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?" Paul anticipates his reader's question and addresses it! The answer is NO (verse 2). 

Romans 6 is all about how we are dead to sin and alive in Christ. We no longer have to live under the dominion of sin, because we are no longer slaves to sin (verse 6). We are now identified with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (verses 7-9). Not only are we no longer slaves to sin, but we are slaves to righteousness (verses 16-18)! Now your allegiance has changed! You are no longer living the way that you formerly lived, because there has been a change in your life. Your allegiance is no longer with the sinful patterns that used to define you, but with Jesus Christ, who has set you free from the bondage of sin! 

I used to be neck-deep in the bondage of sin. My addiction to pornography is what brought me to re:generation, Watermark's recovery ministry. I was a slave to my sin. Everything that I did revolved around my addiction, and it led to death. I now am a slave to righteousness because of Christ. Everything I do revolves around my relationship with my Lord and Savior, and it leads to life!

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Discussion Questions

1. Is there a sin or habit that you might love more than you love God?

2. Has there ever been a time in your life when you thought you had a license to sin?

3. What does Romans 6:16 mean when it says that obedience leads to righteousness?

9 Comments available

Arch Tignor 8 months ago

Sadly many churches perpetuate “good column” religion. I was starving for a Christian family that did not think they were good but held to righteousness through Christ. The truth in my heart was is fully lived out at Watermark. Love this message today.

Julio Cortes 8 months ago

Thank you, Calvin, for having been my re:gen leader (2017-2018). Your love, patience, and care, truly helped transform my life. I am not the same anymore. I am, for the first time, better. May God bless you as you continue to transform other lives or plant the seed of God.

Jennifer Kling 8 months ago

Wow! I don’t run into too many other College Station natives outside of College Station. Howdy and gig 'em!

Loved your devo and the way you shared with your co-worker. God definitely put you in that office for a reason.

Mark Bowman 8 months ago

Thank you for sharing, Calvin! The co-worker in your devo reflects the same “good column” position of many folks in my life. They may not say it like that, but that is how they live it. So, I truly appreciate the approach you laid out and will add this new understanding and example to my own Re:Gen reconciliation plan for future conversations. It’s by Grace alone through faith, not works . . . or points in the good column.

This also reminds me of my favorite “eternal equation” which I recently taught to my two young boys. It’s a title of a book by Tullian Tchividjian . . . .

Jesus + Nothing = Everything

Jesus + nothing = everything!

greg jones 8 months ago

Like it. Life change is a life that is changing, past tense and present tense.

Sue Bohlin 8 months ago

Thanks, Calvin! It occurred to me that some people might think we (Watermark) have a higher than usual population of porn users and addicts, but the truth is, we’re just more honest about it. That’s what can happen when confession is met with the grace of acceptance.

Re-reading Romans 6 right before baptism weekend makes my heart smile as I am reminded of being baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection. I love being part of a church where the word “baptism” immediately evokes images of bounce houses and grilled meats, not to mention a LOT of clapping, cheering, and over-the-top JOY!!

Michael Scaman 8 months ago

In Romans 6:22 Freedom from sin and slavery to God leads to sanctification and eternal life. In Romans 6:23 The free gift of God, justification leads to eternal life. Sanctification and justification are different but neither ‘optional’ God loves you as you are but doesn’t leave you as you are.

Abigail Noell 8 months ago

Great devotional, Calvin! We are so thankful to know you. Praise our holy God who liberated us from our bondage!! He is so good.

Hugh Stephenson 8 months ago

Old Me: “I am doing fine. Sure, I have bad days but mainly I am on track. Doesn’t everyone go to Heaven anyway?”

New Me: “Check out John 14:6, Ephesians 2:8-9 and Romans 10:9-10 for the answers.”

OM: “Uh-oh.”

NM: “Besides, it’s all about having joy”

OM: “I have joy. I have achieved all of my life goals.”

NM: “I am talking about REAL joy. Joy that comes from an eternal focus & purpose, from knowing what God’s plan is for your life, from having deep committed relationships. BTW, how’s your relationship with Amy and your kids?”

OM: “Good days, bad days”.

NM: “Think about the best moments you have ever had with them. Then think about having that all the time. Even in really tough times.”

OM: “Wow! Really? What does it take?”

NM: “Surrender. - Total. Complete. Surrender.”

OM: “…”

NM: “See you at re:gen”

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