The Apostle Paul writes to the world-renowned believers in Rome, the center of the world at that time, in order to answer a slanderous charge made to them against Paul and his message. Paul’s detractors claim his emphasis on faith overturns the law. Paul says that ” just living by the law” does not achieve personal justice before God, while “just living by faith” does. Paul then demonstrates what a just life looks like: harmonious living with Jesus as the leader. Paul also makes clear the choice a believer has: to walk in faith and the power of the resurrection and experience resurrection life, or walk in sin and unnecessarily experience the negative consequences.
Paul writes about the nature of grace. Grace will always abound; God covers all sins—past, present, future. But we’ve been given a new life, raised up in Christ’s resurrection. We have the resurrection power of Jesus to live a transformed life. Why would we keep sinning?
We are now united with Christ because we have put our faith in Him. He died and was resurrected, and we who believe in Him have died to sin and have been spiritually resurrected with a new power to live without following our sinful nature. We are empowered to choose to follow God.
Paul emphasizes the reality that we have a new nature and can walk in it—we have the power to choose to live the resurrection life of Christ. We should have a mindset of being free from sin (dead to sin) and living for God (alive to God in Christ).
Since we have died to sin and share a new life in Christ’s resurrection, we have been empowered to live righteously (harmonious living, which is what God designed for humanity). Paul’s warning is simple: don’t let sin continue to lead you. Don’t obey it. Our old self—our sin nature—will always try to drag us back to our dead way of living before we had faith in Christ.
Paul also dismisses the false notion that he endorses sinful living among Christians. God will always forgive our sins; we cannot out-sin His grace. Even though God will always forgive our sins, we shouldn’t consider it an advantage to sin, because there are still dire consequences for living sinfully.
Paul is asking the Roman Christians: What good did it do for you to live in sin? Was it really good? It kept you from righteousness. Worse yet, the outcome of sinful living is death.