Section Recap

With the previous post, we have completed the third main section of Romans comprised of Romans 6-8. The proposition that Paul set about to prove is: Grace gives us total victory over sin. As we saw in our tour of this section Paul once again sought to prove his proposition with three arguments:

  1. Grace does not make sin irrelevant (6:1-7:13)
  2. Grace gives us total victory over sin (7:14-8:13)
  3. The victory of grace over sin is assured (8:14-39)

As I did with the last section, I thought I would recap his arguments so that you can review his reasoning and see his logic…

Proposition: Grace gives us total victory over sin

  1. Grace does not make sin irrelevant (6:1-7:13)
  2. Sin still matters (6:1-14)
  3. Freedom from the Law is not freedom to sin (6:15-7:6)

1) We are slaves to God (6:15-23)

2) We obey God from our hearts (7:1-6)

Paul’s two supporting points here are interesting, both were set up with questions that one might be prompted to ask and followed with emphatic negative responses. Sin still matters and we must not mistake our freedom as license to go crazy, for this is not only displeasing to God, but it denies us the total victory that grace can provide. It is far too easy for a person to stop looking at behavior once they see their slate is wiped clean legally, but God wants an intimate relationship with His people, and that cannot happen when we are chasing every fancy around with our backs turned to Him. The second supporting point takes this underlying thinking to the next level:

 

Proposition: Grace gives us total victory over sin

  1. Grace gives us total victory over sin (7:14-8:13)
  2. We continue to struggle against sin (7:14-25)

1) The nature of the struggle lies within our humanity (7:14-20)

2) Our struggle is more than transactional (7:21-25)

  1. Victory over sin is provided by the Holy Spirit (8:1-13)

1) God has saved us from the penalty of sin (8:1-4)

2) Sin and death are defeated within us by the power of the Holy Spirit (8:5-13)

Freedom from sin is not freedom to sin; this is at the core of Paul’s reasoning in this section. We are not perfect, and contrary to the notions of some, humanity never was perfection, for we have within us free will as a gift from God. Yes we struggle, yes we will fall short sometimes, but the penalty for our sins has been taken away by the blood of Christ; so great was God’s love for us. Even better, God did not take away our sins and then leave us all alone, for He has also given us the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide us. This guidance is not simply a matter of helping to keep the rules handy, for the Holy Spirit also gives us the strength to grow beyond our impulses so that over the course of time and growing maturity, sin become less and less appealing, and as a result, grace not only gives us victory over sin’s consequences, but victory over sin’s appeal, which is a great transformation indeed. With this fresh in mind, Paul moved to his final supporting point:

 

Proposition: Grace gives us total victory over sin

  1. The victory of grace over sin is assured (8:14-8:39)
  2. The Holy Spirit within us makes us God’s sons and heirs (8:14-17)
  3. The entire creation is our inheritance (8:18-25)
  4. God has promised to bring his family through earthly trials (8:26-30)
  5. God’s gracious love gives us clear assurance of our victory over sin (8:31-39)

In this wonderful section, Paul paints us a picture of God’s commitment to our success, which is proven so clearly by the presence of the Holy Spirit within us. When we allow the Holy Spirit to be the center of our lives, when we stop trying to be in charge of everything, when we surrender to His love and guidance, His victory over sin in us begins to emerge no matter our circumstances. This is a life-long process, a work in progress and it requires great faith, but victory is assured. All that is left for us to do is to make a commitment to let Him lead the way.

Well, what do think? Did Paul prove his case; does God’s grace give us victory over sin in all of its forms? I think he did a great job… but that’s just me.

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About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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