Study Guide on Romans Chapter Six

Study Guide on Romans Chapter Six

Study Guide on Romans Chapter Six: Many professing Christians struggle with this chapter of Romans. Their struggle is largely based on misunderstanding Paul’s argument on sin, grace, and holiness.

Some have argued that since “where sin abounded, grace super-abounded” then believers should practice more sin to experience even more of God’s grace! Paul rebuffs this idea with forceful exhortations and arguments.

I. WE ARE DEAD TO SIN! Romans 6:1-14

In Romans 6, Paul begins a discussion of the believer’s current state as one who is dead to sin and alive to God (Romans 6:1-14). This passage does not develop baptismal theology, but it does present an important point concerning the relationship between a Christian and his/her old sinful nature.

Paul uses the analogy of slavery to help his readers understand this concept. It seems that he wanted to present it in a very clear and direct way since he felt that his readers needed to be reminded of the truth of their position. It was their responsibility to present themselves to God as slaves of righteousness and thereby experience progressive sanctification.

Paul begins his explanation by asking the question: “How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” It is not so much a statement as it is a rhetorical question. It is a question that believers are often asked and it is a question that they must answer in the affirmative. Christians are not able to continue living in sin and the reason is that their old sinful nature has been crucified with Christ and therefore cannot dominate them any longer. However, this does not mean that sin is not a real and present danger to believers.


This is the key point. Once Paul has emphatically denied that being “under grace” leads to license, he begins to draw the contrast between slavery, sin, and death and obedience, righteousness, and eternal life. The choice is ours; to whom will we present ourselves?

It may seem strange to our modern minds that Paul should describe his commitment to God’s righteousness as “slavery” (doulos) but it is the most accurate word. He is referring to the slow, cumulative effect of giving ourselves over to something. If we give ourselves to sin, the results will be painful and deadly. Over time, sin begets sin and then becomes a tyrant that we cannot shake.

When we present ourselves to Christ, on the other hand, we will be transformed from slaves to sin into slaves of obedience, and the result will be sanctification and eternal life. It is not a coincidence that when Christians are delivered from sin’s tyranny, they also experience true freedom and a new direction in life. This is why it is said that justification by faith always brings sanctification with it. This is the big purpose of Romans 6: It shows us that a right understanding of God’s grace will always lead to true freedom in Jesus Christ!

III. Conclusion

Paul concludes by emphasizing the importance of keeping oneself from sin. He states that “sin is a bondage, and a yoke of iron.” He reminds them that in their unregenerate days they obeyed sin’s lusts, and used their body’s members for the pursuit of sinful aims. Now, as slaves to righteousness, they should use their bodies for the pursuit of God’s aims. This will be the evidence of true spiritual reality.

Those who continue to live in sin will only earn what they deserve, death (v. 21). They will also receive no help on their final day of judgment, when they will meet face to face with the Lord. Sin is like an enemy that cannot be pleaded with; its punishment must be met.

One can see why Paul was so insistent about the necessity of holiness. He wants to make sure that believers understand that the connection between justification and holiness is inseparable. This chapter shows that the apostle is very full in his exhortations to holiness, and he abhors those opinions which give any countenance to sin on the pretext of advancing free grace. This chapter also gives an illustration of the nature and necessity of sanctification by comparing it with baptism.

Related Reading:

Study Guide on Romans Chapter Five

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