Romans Chapters 6-7


The Penalty and Power of Sin

Christ’s death frees us from the PENALTY of sin at the future judgment when God’s wrath is displayed.

Christ’s death frees us from the POWER of sin today.


Justification and Sanctification

Justification means to be declared righteous and acquitted from the guilt of sin.

Paul now begins to discuss sanctification.


Westminster Larger Catechism addresses justification and sanctification like this:

Question:  “Wherein do justification and sanctification differ?”

Answer:  “Although sanctification be inseparably joined with justification, yet they differ, in that God in justification imputeth the righteousness of Christ;        in sanctification his Spirit infuseth grace, and enableth to the exercise thereof; in the former, sin is pardoned; in the other, it is subdued.”


Sin in these verses is singular and not plural because Paul is talking about the power of the evil master sin.  He is not talking about individual sins.

Christ has broken that master’s power. 

  • 6:12 – “do not let sin reign n your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.”
  • 6:14 – “sin shall not be your master.”
  • 6:7 – “no longer be slaves to sin”


Two noticeable shifts in this chapter:

1)      at verse 12 where imperatives begin replacing the indicatives of verses 1-11

a.        Indicative Mood in the Greek is a statement of fact or a question.

                        Asserts or declares

                        The action really did happen. 

                        It is the mood of reality.

                   “It will happen.”      “It did happen.”      “It is happening.”

b.      Imperative Mood in the Greek is the mood of a command or a petition.


2)      A more clear break comes between verse 14 and 15.

a.       Both sections are discussing the transfer from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light (from power of sin to the realm of righteousness)

b.      1-14 discuses the negative side of having been released from sin

c.       15-23 discusses the positive dedication to righteousness


The Questions in Chapter 6 and 7

Notice the questions Paul inserts into his letter.  These questions help us identify what Paul is doing in chapters 6 and 7.  Paul is addressing objections and misunderstandings that arise from his teaching out of chapter 5.  It is not the Romans who have asked these questions in the past.  But wherever Paul has taught his doctrine these questions and objections have come up:


·        6:1 – “What shall we say, then?  Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?”

o       Since we are secure in our salvation having been justified and declared righteous in Christ we can continue to sin and God will continue to pour out his grace and forgiveness

·        6:15 – “What then?  Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?”

o       Since we are no longer evaluated on a law or by rules to become righteous but instead are in the realm of undeserved, unbreakable favor with God we can continue to live in sin.”

·        7:7 – “What shall we say, then?  Is the law sin?”

o       Since the law in a sense helped reveal sin it was part of sin.  We have then been delivered from two evil things: sin and law.”

·        7:13 – “Did that which is good, then, become death to me?”

o       The law that is good and holy did not produce good and holy things like life but instead the law produced death in me.”


We will also notice how chapter 8 picks up with the same themes as chapter 5. 

Chapters 6 and 7 are then a clarification of the doctrine taught in chapter 5.


The Transfer

Chapter 6 and 7 continue to reveal that the justified believer has been transfer permanently into a new kingdom.

This is a continuation of assuring the believer of their salvation.


Chapter 5 shows the transfer of the believer from the power of death to the power of life.

Chapter 6:1-14 shows the transfer of the believer from the power of sin to the

power of righteousness.

Chapter 6:15-23 shows the transfer of the believer from the power of the law to the power of grace.


These chapters describe two realms or two ages (“aeon”)

1)      The realm or age of Adam

2)      The realm or age of Christ


All people fall into living their lives and their eternal existence in one of these two realms.

We are living today either in the old age of Adam or in the new age of Christ.


Your relationship to sin and to the law will depend on which realm you live in.

If a person is still living in the old age of Adam they are under the reign of sin and death.

They are under the power of the law.


If a person is living in the new age of Christ they are living in the realm of righteousness and life.  They are under the power of grace.


Old Age

New Age

Reign of sin and death

Reign of righteousness and life (5:21)

Servitude to lordship of sin

Servitude to lordship of righteousness and God (6:6, 14; 17-22)

Under the power of law

Under the power of grace (6:14, 15

Serving in old letter of law

Serving in newness of Spirit (7:6)

The law and the compelling power of sin that leads to death

The law of the Spirit that brings life (8:2)


Now, but not Yet

All of this is true.

Even though we are in the new age, the realm of the power of life and righteousness, we in the church age are still in between.


We are in the age of “Now, but not yet”

We are living in between the two comings of the Christ.

Paul does not believe we are separate from all the influences of the Old Age or the Realm of the power of Sin and Death.


We belong to the New Age and the Realm of the Power of Righteousness; we still have with us contact or a living existence with the Old Age.


We still have the impulses, habits, knowledge, and desires from the Old Realm that continually threatens the practice of our new life.



This is why we see the “indicative/imperative” combinations in these chapters.

This is seen in the verses that state a truth of the new age (indicative mood) but are combined with a command for the here and now (imperative mood).


6:14 – “Sin shall not be your master”

6:13 – “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body”


8:9 – “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit”

8:12 – “We have an obligation – but it is to the sinful nature.”