“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? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-4)

We who are believers have been baptized into Christ. Our sins are forgiven. Because of this many may raise the question that since salvation is not based on works, but on faith, why not just continue to sin so that God’s grace will be even further exalted? Paul’s emphatic answer to this dilemma is that grace never gives anyone license to sin. Grace does not cancel out our responsibility to pursue righteousness. Paul teaches this truth by pointing out the results of Baptism. In Baptism we die to sin. If we are dead to sin then it should no longer rule over us or enslave us. Yet since we are in this world, it is a constant influence that we believers often allow to rule over us and wreck our lives and destroy our Christian witness.

The idea of fighting against sin and temptation should not be foreign to us if we are indeed united with Jesus. If we do not feel the need or the desire to put up resistance then perhaps we ought to examine our lives. Perhaps we have been utterly corrupted by the world, like so many of those in our society and culture who have redefined sin in order to excuse or commend 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 children. They no longer live for self but for Him. They are not perfect but are aware of their sin and their need for God’s help in overcoming it. Rather than sin rule us we must avail ourselves of the resources which Christ Jesus has given us to fight against all its attempts to dominate and control us: the Holy Spirit. the Word of God, the sacraments, and the church.