A Commentary by John Stott
Paul begins with a vehement rejection of the notion that God’s grace gives us licence to sin. *What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning, so that grace may increase? (1). By no means!.* (2a). But on what grounds can he be so categorical? At first sight, logic seems to be on the side of the antinomians, since the more we sin, the more opportunity God will have to display his grace. What counter-logic does the apostle propose? Because the first half of Romans 6 is such a tightly packed argument, it may be helpful to outline it in eight steps or stages.
1. We died to sin. This is the foundation fact of Paul’s thesis. How can we live in what we have died to (2)?.
2. The way in which we have died to sin is that our baptism united us to Christ in his death (3).
3. Having shared in Christ’s death, God wants us also to share in his resurrection life (4-5).
4. Our former self was crucified with Christ in order that we might be freed from sin’s slavery (6-7).
5. Both the death and resurrection of Jesus were decisive events: he died to sin once for all, but he lives continuously unto God (8-10).
6. We must realize that we are now what Christ is, namely ‘dead to sin but alive to God’ (11).
7. Being alive from death, we must offer our bodies to God as instruments of righteousness (12-13).
8. Sin shall not be our master, because our position has radically changed from being ‘under law’ to being ‘under grace’. Grace does not encourage sin; it outlaws it (14).
We need now to consider these eight steps in greater detail.
Tomorrow: Romans 6:2. (1) We died to sin.