Know You Are Righteous

Read: Romans 6:1-14

Last Sunday, Pastor Ken preached from Romans 6:1-10 on how our union with Christ leads us to walk in newness of life. This week he will continue teaching on this as we continue on through Romans 6:14. As you prepare your heart for our corporate gathering, let these words from Tim Keller spur you on to know and live according to the truth.

Heart Preparation

In verse 14, Paul [says] that sin “shall not be your master”— is not, and must not, be our ruler— and then we might expect him to say: because you are not under its power. Instead, he continues: “because you are not under law.” Instead, “you are … under grace.” Paul is saying that knowing we are “not under law” helps us break the power of sin in our lives.

Verse 14 shows us that to be “under sin” is the same as being “under law” (compare 5: 20-21 with 6:14). It tells us that our freedom from the law as a salvation system is what makes us free from sin’s mastery over us. Why? It is only as we break away from works-righteousness that the power of sin is really broken.

We are righteous in God’s sight. If we remember this, the motives
for our sin will be undermined. Individual sinful acts have sinful motivations. When we ask why we are moved to particular sins, we discover that our sins come because we still seek to find our “justification” (our identity, our sense of worthiness) in other things besides God. Thus, to remember that we are completely loved and righteous in Christ undermines and saps our motives and desires for sin.

Through these verses, Paul has repeatedly said we “know” or “believe” (v 3, 6, 8, 9). This shows that any Christian who continues to sin or falls back into sin has failed to “know” or think out the implications of what has happened to him or her in Christ. How can we use this approach on our sin?

We need to realize that we are not to be stoics when it comes to sin: Just say NO! Paul is showing us here that sinning comes not so much from a lack of willpower, as from a lack of understanding our position and a lack of reflection and rejoicing.

So the key is to know, to remember, and to think like this:

  • I am bought with Christ’s blood. If we remember that, we will not act as if we belong to ourselves. We owe Jesus Christ our lives and salvation, and we cannot live in disregard to his will.
  • I have been delivered out of the “dominion” of sin. This means that the Spirit of God is within us, and though sin may seem too powerful to resist, that is not the case. We are children of God, and we can exercise our authority over our sinful desires.
  • I was saved by Christ specifically so I would not sin. Christ “gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:14). All the suffering and torture of Jesus was for that purpose; any Christian who gives in to sin is forgetting that. We should ask: Will I defile the heart Christ died to wash; trample on the very purpose of his pain; thwart the very goal of his suffering?

Paul seems to be saying that if you can see and think about these things and still sin, it shows that you don’t understand the gospel, that your “old self” was never crucified, that you are still thinking and looking at life the old way!

So we see that the gospel gives us a new and different incentive for godly living than we had when we were under the law as a system for salvation. When we were using the law to save ourselves, our motives for being obedient were fear and self-confidence. Now, however, we know that Jesus died for us so that we wouldn’t sin. When we realize the purpose of Christ’s death and as we think of it in gratitude, we find a new incentive to be holy! We long to, and we love to, be those who “offer yourselves to God,” because we know we are “those who have been brought from death to life” (Romans 6:13).

Adapted from Romans 1-7 For You, by Tim Keller

Song List for Sunday
1. “Prince of Peace,” by Arr. by Crosspoint Worship
2. “Your Great Name,” Arr. by Shane & Shane
3. “Once For All,” by Shane & Shane
4. “Behold the Lamb,” by Keith and Kristyn Getty


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