THE argument commenced in this chapter is continued through the two following. The general design is the same– to show that the scheme of justification which God had adopted does not lead men to sin, but, on the contrary, to holiness. This is introduced by answering an objection, v.1. Paul pursues this subject by various arguments and illustrations, all tending to show that the design and bearing of the scheme of justification was to produce the hatred of sin, and the love and practice of holiness. In this chapter, the argument is mainly drawn from the following sources:
We must not abuse the boundless goodness of God by continuing in sin, under the wicked persuasion that the more we sin the more the grace of God will abound,
For, having been baptized into Christ, we have professed thereby to be dead to sin
And to be planted in the likeness of his resurrection
For we profess to be crucified with him, to die and rise again from the dead,
We should not, therefore, let sin reign in our bodies, but live to the glory of God,
The Gospel makes no provision for living in sin, any more than the law did; and those who commit sin are the slaves of sin,
The degrading and afflictive service of sin, and its wages eternal death; the blessed effects of the grace of God in the heart, of which eternal life is the fruit,
The argument commenced in this chapter is continued through the two following. In the preceding part of the Epistle the universal depravity and guilt of man, and the free salvation through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, had been fully exhibited. Paul now proceeds to prove the intimate connection between the justification of believers and their sanctification. He begins his lesson by stating an objection which has in all ages been advanced as an unanswerable argument against salvation by grace. He asks, “What is the consequence of the doctrine he has been inculcating? If justification be bestowed through faith, without works, and if, where sin abounded, grace has much more abounded, may we not continue in sin that grace may abound”?
Paul refutes this charge by declaring the union of believers with Jesus Christ, by Whom, as is represented in baptism, His people are dead to sin, and risen with Him to walk in newness of life. Having established these important truths, he then (in verse 11) urges on those whom he expresses their duty of being convinced that such is their actual state.
In verses 12 and 13, Paul warns them not to abuse this conviction; and for their encouragement in fighting the good fight of faith, to which they are called, assures them, in verse 14, that sin shall not have dominion over them, because they are not under the Law but under grace. Thus he proves that, by the gracious provision of the covenant of God, ratified by the blood of Him with whom they are inseparably united, that they who are justified cannot continue to live in sin; but though sin shall not have dominion over them still, as their sanctification is not yet perfect, he goes on to address them as liable to temptation.
Paul concludes his exhortation by appealing to their own experience of the past, and to their prospects for the future. He asks them what sort of fruit did they have in their former ways, a way which could only conduct to shame and death? On the other hand, he exhorts them to press onwards in the course of holiness, at the end of which they would receive the Crown of Everlasting Life. And along with this assurance, he also reminds them of the important truth, that while the just recompense of sin is death , eternal life is the gift of God, through Christ.