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Sermon #64 — Romans Series


      Title:                     The Doctrine of Godliness


      Text:                      Romans 6:1-23

      Subject:   Grace Producing Godliness

      Reading: Hebrews 10:1-25

      Date:                    Sunday Morning — September 13, 2015




The title of my message is — The Doctrine of Godliness. Our text will be Romans 6:1-23. — The Doctrine of Godliness (Romans 6:1-23).


The gospel of God declares, and declares plainly, that the only way a sinner can be saved is by the grace of God.


(Ephesians 2:8-9) “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.”


  • By Grace Alone
  • Through Faith Alone
  • In Christ Alone


Both righteousness and holiness, both justification and sanctification are gifts of God, operations of grace, obtained and enjoyed only by faith in Christ.

  • We are not justified by works.
  • And we are not sanctified by works.
  • We are justified, made righteous before God, by grace alone.
  • And we are sanctified, made holy, made partakers of the divine nature, made “meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” by grace alone.


When we assert this fact, as the Apostle Paul has done in the first five chapters of this epistle, self-righteous legalists, will-worship Arminians, and works religionists unanimously cry, “Licentiousness! That kind of doctrine promotes ungodliness! It opens the flood gates to sin!” Of course, this is exactly what the Spirit of God tells us to expect (Jude 4). Self-righteous, religious legalists, promoters of law-works religion are always really antinomians who turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, telling us that free grace salvation promotes ungodliness.


(Jude 1:1-4) (1) “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: (2) Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. (3) Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. (4) For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”


Here, in Romans 6, the Apostle Paul, shows us the absurdity of that claim. In these 23 verses of Inspiration, God the Holy Ghost shows us that… 


Proposition: Salvation by the free grace of God, without works, is “the doctrine which is according to godliness” (1 Timothy 6:3).


Divisions: Hold your Bibles open on your laps at Romans chapter 6. As we read this chapter together, I will call your attention to seven things regarding “the doctrine which is according to godliness.”

  1. It is absurd for anyone to imagine that grace promotes ungodliness (vv. 1-2).
  2. Our baptism confesses and portrays the fulfilment of all righteousness by Christ and newness of life with Christ (vv. 3-7).
  3. Union with Christ assures us of freedom from sin (vv8-11).
  4. Godliness is both our responsibility and God’s promise (vv. 12-16).
  5. What great reason saved sinners have to give thanks to God and live for his glory (v. 17).
  6. Saved sinners are servants of righteousness in true holiness (vv. 18-22).
  7. Salvation is God’s free gift to sinners in Christ Jesus (v. 23).


Utterly Absurd


First, in verse 1 and 2 the Apostle shows us that it is absurd, utterly absurd, absurd beyond imagination, for anyone to imagine that grace promotes ungodliness. That is such an absurd notion that Paul gives no argument to refute it. He simply states its absurdity.


(Romans 6:1-2) (1) “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (2) God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”


Life in Christ and living in sin is not merely an inconsistency, but a contradiction in terms. You might as well talk about a living corpse as talk ungodly godly people. — Union with Christ is the only source of righteousness and holiness.

·      Christ is our Justification.

·      Christ is our Sanctification.

He who is our Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption is not an inspiration to ungodliness! — Only a self-righteous Pharisee could imagine such a thing!


The reign of grace spoken of in the last verse of chapter 5 destroys the reign of sin. The Son of God was manifested to destroy the works of the devil, to destroy the works of the devil even in us! And that is what he does by his grace. It is the lack of grace, that makes people sin, not the abounding grace of God that reigns through righteousness unto eternal life in Christ.


So far is the free grace of God in Christ from opening the flood-gates of sin that it is the only thing that shuts them. It is only by the grace of God that indwelling sin which remains in this body of sin and death is held in check (Romans 8:10).


(Romans 8:10) “If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”


How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein?

  • We are not dead in sin. That is the state we were in by nature.
  • We are not dead for sin, for Christ died for sin, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God (1 Peter3:18).
  • We are dead to sin, being redeemed, regenerated, justified, and sanctified in Christ.
  • We are dead to the guilt of sin, because Christ has taken away our sins and or guilt by bearing our sin and our guilt in his body upon the cursed tree (Ephesians 1:7; Micah 7:17-19; Isaiah 35:5; Colossians 2:13-14; Revelation 1:5-6).
  • And God’s elect, when born again by God the Holy Ghost, are dead to the dominion of sin (Romans 6:14; Ezekiel 36:25-27).


(Romans 6:14) “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”


(Ezekiel 36:25-27) “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. (26) A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. (27)And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.


  • Though sin lives in us, those who are born of God do not live in sin.


Our Baptism


Second, in verses 3-7, Paul reminds us that our baptism confesses and portrays the fulfilment of all righteousness by Christ and newness of life with Christ.


(Romans 6:3-7) “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? (4) Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (5) For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: (6) Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (7) For he that is dead is freed from sin.


  • Baptism portrays the fulfilment of all righteousness by the obedience of Christ unto death as our Substitute (Matthew 3:15 — Death, Burial, and Resurrection).
  • Baptism is the believer’s public confession of faith in Christ.
  • Baptism is our public identification of ourselves with Christ, his gospel, and his people.
  • And baptism is our publicly avowed consecration to the Son of God. Rising up out of the watery grave, we rise to walk with God our Savior in the newness of life.


Union with Christ


Third, in verses 8 and 9, we see that the believer’s union with Christ is his assurance of freedom from sin.


(Romans 6:8-9) “Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: (9) Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.”


Because death has no more dominion over Christ, if I am one with Christ death (the death of sin) has no more dominion over me (1 Peter 4:1-2).


(1 Peter 4:1-2) “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; (2) That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.”


We are dead with Christ! When Christ died on the cross, every member of his mystical body was crucified with him. When our Savior died for sin on the cross, all his spiritual seed were in him, and died in him. When he arose from the dead, we arose in him, we were “quickened together with him” (Ephesians 2:4-5). Because he lives, we live. Being united to him, we are one with him. Every believer is (body, soul, and spirit) united to the Lord Jesus Christ in life (John 17:21-23; 1 Thessalonians 5:23).


We live in Christ and live with Christ. By virtue of our union with him, he is our Righteousness and we are made the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

·      Imputed Righteousness — Justification

·      Imparted Righteousness — Sanctification




Fourth, God the Holy Ghost teaches us in verses 12-16 that godliness is both our responsibility and God’s promise.


  • Here is our responsibility (vv. 12-13).


(Romans 6:12-13) “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. (13) Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”


  • Here is God’s promise (vv. 14-16).


(Romans 6:14-16) “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. (15) What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. (16) Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”


When Paul says, “let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body,” he does not imply any power, or ability, in us to keep sin under control. It is through the Spirit of God in us that believers mortify the deeds of the body and live (Romans 8:13).


(Psalm 119:117) “Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.”


Sin shall not regain its dominion over you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, though it struggles incessantly to do so, because we are not under the law. Christ has paid all its penalty for us. He is the end of the law for righteousness to every believer. By his resurrection our blessed Savior obtained the receipt in full of all demands, and carried triumphantly to heaven to be filed upon the throne of God forever. The copy of that receipt he sends down from heaven in the person of God the Holy Spirit and seals to the believing soul the assurance of full and eternal justification.


Grace reigning in the soul will not let sin reign in this mortal body! The Lord God puts his fear in the heart of every heaven born soul (Jeremiah 32:40), and thereby fulfils his promise that “sin shall not have dominion over you.


God be Thanked


Fifth, in verse 17 we see what great reason saved sinners have to give thanks to God and live for his glory.


(Romans 6:17) “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.”


The holy Lord God, by infinite wisdom and grace, has made our sin and misery the occasion of our greatest possible blessedness. Our great God is so infinitely wise and gracious that he turns our greatest misery into our greatest good and sovereignly overrules our sin to make it an occasion for our eternal blessedness (Romans 8:28).


By the redemptive work of Christ, the sins of God’s elect are turned into a means of accomplishing greater happiness, joy, and everlasting glory than we could ever have known if we had never sinned.“Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” God in infinite wisdom ordained our fall in our father, Adam, and overrules our abounding sin that his own elect might forever enjoy the superabundance of his matchless free grace in Christ.


1.    Sinful man is brought into a nearer union with God in the Person of Christ our Substitute than we could ever have enjoyed had we not known sin. Had we never sinned, Christ would not be our Surety and Substitute. But now…

·      God has assumed our nature in the Person of his Son.

·      We are members of his body (Ephesians 5:30).

·      Christ is our Brother and our Husband.

·      And we are the Sons of God (1 John 3:1).


2.    Our temporary separation from God, by sin, has been made the means of our eternal union with God in Christ by redemption (John 17:20-23).


3.    Man, by reason of his sin, has greater and fuller knowledge of God, his glory, his grace, his justice, his holiness, and his love than he could ever have known had he never sinned. We see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ our dying Substitute (2 Corinthians 4:6). And in his death we have the love of God commended to us (Romans 5:8). This will be the theme of our heavenly praise forever and ever (Revelation 1:5-6).


4.    Our redemption from sin and death by Christ causes us to have a love for God that we could not otherwise have. One day this love will be brought to perfection. But even now, the love of Christ that constrains us is something Adam in innocence and the angels in heaven could never know.

·      Great forgiveness produces great love (Luke 7:47).

·      Great forgiveness is the greatest possible motivation for love, adoration, and praise (1 Corinthians 1:26-31; 6:20).


5.    Fallen man, saved by grace, has a greater, more sensible dependence upon God than he could otherwise have. And God is glorified by his creatures’ dependence upon him. Fallen man, saved by grace, knows by painful and abundant experience that he has no hope but the free grace of God in Christ, who is our all in all. Fallen, helpless man cries, “The Lord is my Portion, saith my soul, therefore will I hope in him.”


Did you ever notice (Genesis 2:17) that the forbidden tree was called “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”? God is the One who planted that tree in the midst of the garden. And he ordained that our father Adam eat the fruit of that forbidden tree, to taste the evil of sin, because he had wisely and graciously determined that his elect might know the great and glorious good of redemption and grace in Christ. — God the Holy Ghost tells us that this Grace Abounding to us in and through Christ Jesus is truly a great reason for thanksgiving and praise to our great God, who is the God of all grace (Romans 6:17-23).


“For myself, if I know anything of my own heart, I hope that I can truly say, I hate sin, I would not willingly and wilfully commit a single sin for the world. Yea, I loathe myself in my own sight for sin, the sin of my poor fallen nature. And sin becomes more bitter to me, as Christ becomes more precious. But, with all this, I say, I would rather be a sinner saved, and saved in such a way as I am saved, by the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, than to have never known sin, neither known Christ as a Savior.” (Robert Hawker)


Faith in Christ is the obedience Paul speaks of in this 17th verse. — Will you obey that form of doctrine set before you in the gospel, trusting Christ alone, and be saved; or will you go on trusting yourself, your good works, your own righteousness, and your will until you find yourself forever damned in hell?


Servants of Righteousness


Sixth, read verses 18-22 and learn this: — Saved sinners are servants of righteous-ness in true holiness.


(Romans 6:18-22) “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. (19) I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. (20) For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. (21) What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. (22) But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.”


I do not have to remind you who are taught of God that we are not absolutely free from sin. Far from it! It is our constant sorrow that we are so much subject to sin. I know, I feel, I carry about with me, a body of sin and death, in thought, and word, and deed! So little am I a servant of righteousness that my complaint at the close of every day is, how little have I lived to for Christ and his glory!


But, blessed be his name, we are free from the condemning power of sin; and we are brought into the glorious liberty of the sons of God! As such, as the sons and daughters of God, we are the servants of God and have fruit unto holiness and everlasting life (Galatians 5:22-25).


(Galatians 5:22-25) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (24) And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (25) If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”


God’s Gift


Seventh, verse 23 tells us that this great salvation that we have in Christ is God’s fee gift of grace to poor, needy sinners.


(Romans 6:23) “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”


Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift!





Don Fortner








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