Life, Not License

Read: Romans 6:1-14

In order that . . . we too might walk in newness of life. (v. 4)

One misunderstanding of the abundant grace in Romans 5 and 6 is that, because God’s grace is greater than our sin, we can go on sinning. I have actually heard a person say, “I’ve professed my faith and been baptized, so I can do whatever I want.” Such thinking sees sin as merely bad behavior and turns God’s grace into a license to sin. But sin is not just bad acts; sin is death. And grace is not a license. It opens a whole new life (v. 4).

In baptism, we are “brought from death to life” (v. 13). As a sacrament, baptism is a visible sign of an invisible grace. It represents our being united with Christ. When we pass under the water (either by sprinkling or dunking), we join Christ in his death so that “just as Christ was raised from the dead . . . we too might walk in newness of life” (vv. 3-4).

This does not mean that we will never be tempted or that we won’t ever sin again. This new life does, however, open us to experience true union with God in Christ by the Holy Spirit in our hearts (John 17). The more that we present ourselves to God (v. 13), the more we will savor his goodness and desire the new life Jesus purchased for us. Sin will lose its appeal. It may grab us for a moment, but it will not have dominion over us (v. 14). —Jon Opgenorth

As you pray, ask God to help you walk in newness of life.

About the Author

jon opgenorth

Rev. Jon Opgenorth serves as president of Words of Hope. Previously, he served for 18 years as senior pastor at Trinity Reformed Church in Orange City, Iowa. In preparation for ministry, he received a BA in Religion from Northwestern College, and an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary.