“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” (Romans 6:1-3).
God’s grace is amazing. The free and abundant gift of justification/righteousness for sinners which results in eternal life through Christ (Romans 5:12-21) necessitates the first question of “What shall we say then?” What IS the appropriate response to the gracious offer made by God and His amazing grace?
Question # 2 asks and answers the most inappropriate response possible: “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!” To respond to God’s salvation from sin by living in sin is as wrong as wrong can be; you cannot get any more wrong-er. It is as gross as a dog eating its vomit; it is as foolish as cleaning up a pig and then letting it go back to wallowing in the muck and mire (2 Peter 2:22).
Embedded in Question # 3 is the explanation for why Question # 2 is so categorically wrong—“How shall we who died in sin live any longer in it?” There are certain things all dead people don’t do: they don’t steal, lie, cheat, murder, or commit adultery; in short, they don’t sin. So, just as no resident of any cemetery around the globe is currently involved in sinful activity on earth, no righteous person who is dead to sin ought to be currently involved in any sinful activity.
Question # 4 pinpoints when one’s spiritual death to sin occurred: “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” Baptism is not some empty ritual; it is not an outward expression of an inward grace. It is an appeal to God for a good conscience (1 Peter 3:21 NASB, ESV). It is a watery grave which buries a condemned spiritual criminal seeking divine pardon and raises him a forgiven and new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17); he has newness of life because of God’s amazing grace.