“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” (Romans 6:1-3 ESV)
Up to this point in his letter epistle to the Roman church Paul has stressed salvation by grace in order to refute those in the church who claimed that Gentile Christians had to follow the Mosaic Law. Yet he now addresses questions and objections that such people in his audience may raise such as since we are saved by grace not works, why not just continue to sin so that God’s grace will be even further exalted? Paul’s emphatic answer is that grace never gives anyone license to sin. Grace does not cancel out our ethical or moral responsibilities to pursue righteousness. He teaches this message through the symbolism of the rite of Baptism. Baptism reminds us that we have died to sin. It has no power over us and so it should no longer have any appeal for us. We must fight against all its attempts to rule and enslave us.
The idea of fighting against sin and temptation should not be foreign to us if we are indeed united with Jesus. If it is, if we do not feel the need or the desire to put up resistance then perhaps we ought to rethink our relationship with Jesus. We should do this if we, like so many of those in our society and culture have already redefined sin in order to excuse or commend our own personal lifestyle choices regarding sex, pleasure, money, or material goods. Paul warns us that we cannot have it both ways. Those who give in to sin become enslaved by it. Those so enslaved lose their ability to choose freely. They go along their merry way, thinking they are willingly pursuing their personal lifestyle preferences. In fact are being led around by the nose. Those who are in Christ are His servants. They no longer live for self but for Him. They act in His righteousness and walk in His will.