Romans Chp 6 Vs 1 to 14; 2 Kings 4: 'Alive to God' - J Stewart Gillespie 

“shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” (6:1) 


This might seem a bizarre idea, a strange suggestion 

At times grace shields from our horizon the full consequences of our sin 

God remains a Holy and Righteous God – He has not changed 

It is possible however for this kind of idea to creep into our thinking 

Am I trading on Gods Grace? 


Would my behaviour change if: 


If I thought that my lie / deception would be dealt with the same way as Ananias Saphira's was? (Acts 5) 2 believers lie to the Holy Spirit, maybe a little ½ lie – they sold the land and gave 'most' of it for the work of the Lord and said that they had given 'all' of it. Just a slight exaggeration? Did it really matter? Ananias executed on the spot by the Spirit of God and his wife executed 3 hours later! God has not changed! 


If I thought that my greed / materialism would be dealt with in the same way as Achan's was – Joshua chp 7. Jericho has just fallen, and explicit instructions have been given by God that the city and all in it are cursed, nothing to be taken for any private use. The gold, silver, brass and iron can be used for the sanctuary but everything else is to be left. Achan – just one man amongst millions who obey, takes 3 items: “...a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight...” (Jos 7:21). Whats the big deal? A few items which were going to be wasted anyway? The righteousness of God was the BIG deal. “...a goodly Babylonish garment” - “a trendy outfit from the high street.” Because of this disobedience of one man the entire army of Israel is defeated at Ai and Achan and his sons and daughters and animals are stoned and burned! 


If I thought that my grumbling would be dealt with the same way as Miriam's was (Num 12). Miriam and others had an issue with Moses leadership and wanted to push him out and move in (Num12:2). They take a round about approach to manoeuvring Moses out and attack him from the side – his wife (12:1) – not really the issue! Be careful how we approach a ministry that challenges us! 


If I thought that discord with my brethren would be made as public as that of Euodias and Syntyche's was (Phil 4) – Paul wrote of it in a letter, sent it to the church, copied it around the world and published it for 2000 years! Way to go! If every email I wrote were copied to every recipient in outlook express, if every text message was copied to every number in my phone book, if every telephone conversation were recorded and made public, would I say / write or text the things I do? 


If it would change my behaviour to anticipate my sin being dealt with in these ways then I am trading on Divine Grace! 

I am banking on Gods Grace to allow me to continue in sin! 

4 reasons why we don't continue in sin: 

because I'm dead to Sin (6:1-8) 
because I'm alive to God (6:8-11) 
because I must serve God (6:11-21) 
because sin remains sin (6:21-23) 

Dead to Sin 

This may seem a strange idea, awkward thought, after all I am alive, am I not? 

Positional truth – true because of my position in Christ, not because I hold the Bible at a strange angle! 

Positional truth is not the opposite of real truth either (as was once suggested by a preacher at a conference)! 

Positional truth is very real but not always fully realised! 

Positional truth is true of me because it is true of Christ and I am in Christ, I have a relationship with Him! 

Compare the benefits which the people of God had in the days of Samuel and David: they were in the land, with an inheritance, towns and homes to dwell in, but had they fought for them? Their forefathers had won them in the days of Joshua and because of their relationship with their forefathers what had previously been fought and won by another was now theirs! 

This is no new idea for us in Romans, should already be familiar with it, cf. Roms chp 3 +4 – justification by faith. 

I have been declared righteous! Am I righteous? God has said you are! 

How can I be righteous? Because of my position in Christ (3:26) 

Dead to sin doesn't mean unresponsive to sin (6:12-13) 

I have moved out of the realm / sphere of sin 

I have left the boundary within which king sin reigns (5:21) 

Sin reigns to death and no further! 

There is no sinning in heaven and there is no sinning in hell either! 

Adam as created was able to sin 
After the fall man was unable not to sin 
After the new birth man is able not to sin 
In eternity man is unable to sin 

Does this idea of death to sin seem a strange truth? 

That Christianity begins with an end: 

death (v2) 
baptism + death (v3) 
burial + baptism + death (v4) 
planted (v5) 

Does it all seem a bit odd – a bit strange? 

Actually its very familiar. 

It is a very familiar truth but viewed from an unusual angle – from the back 

It can be difficult to recognise familiar truth from the back 

This is familiar truth 

The truth of being dead to sin is the other side of being alive in Christ and alive to God! 

This is one truth, connected together for example in v5 “planted” - the seed sown in the autumn, dead and lifeless and unexciting shoots up in the spring. 

Burial and growth are 2 sides of the one truth! 

Planting is death with a prospect! 

Alive in Christ / Alive to God: 3 tremendous aspects: 

Present Experience (v4) 
Future Expectation (v5) 
Eternal Enjoyment (v8) 

We notice the pattern that future hope is founded on present help 

This was the pattern noted previously in Rom 5:1-5 

Future expectation was founded on present experience 

The same is true of life in Christ: future expectation is founded in present experience 

This is no subtlety of exposition 

This is no fine point of interpretation 

This is no needless digression 

This is why, as believers we have at times such a hard time! 

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:” 

(2Co 5:1-2) 

“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” (2Co 4:16) 

It's not a pleasant thing to perish! 

The 2 truths go hand in hand: death to the old life and new life in Christ 

Our strength is taken that we might rest in His (Jer 9:23) 

The day will soon come when time and sense and wealth and strength have been long gone and all that abides is Him! 

In that day we will be grateful for all that the Lord stripped from us of earth prematurely that we might be drawn more closer to Him! 

What does it mean to be: 

“Alive to God” (6:10,12) 

“Alive through Jesus Christ” (6:11) 

2 Kings 4: 

A child of promise (4:16), just like Isaac (Gen18) and just like us (Gal4:28) 

This child of promise experiences a death, whilst busy in the field (4:18) and whilst reaping for his father 

Practical: what do we do when we hit a period of barrenness in our service for Christ? 


The approach of preachers gone stale. 

Some hark back to a day when things were fresher, when Christ was closer and draw from better and brighter days! 

I used to wonder what motivated so many dispensational preachers to affirm with such confidence that this was “the day of small things” (Zech4:10), until I realised that there were really speaking personally of their own spiritual experience. 

They could look back on better days when Christ was real and fresh to them! 


There was a day when faith was bright, 

Before the sun had reached its height (v20) 

But now beneath a darkening evening sky, 

With head so heavy and about to die (v19) 

I drop the scythe, the field I leave behind (v18) 

For from my Father's service I resign 

A better comfort I have found upon my bed (v21) 

Alas this is the place but for the dead! 

Raised again / restored: 

Refreshed with the life of Christ again 

The Shunammite comes to Carmel (fruitfulness) 

She heads to Elisha, personally, only he will do, not his servant and not his staff, only Elisha personally. 

She would make it a priority to lay hold of Elisha (4:27,30)! 

The one who was the source of life would be the sustainer of life 

She would follow the pattern and path of Job and Jacob: 

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” (Job 13:15) 

“And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” (Gen 32:26) 

A priority to pursue and lay hold of Him! 

Determination is needed to lay hold of Divine blessing (4:27,30) 

Restoration and revival (4:34) 

mouth to mouth 
eyes to eyes 
hands to hands 

The new life in Christ: 

mouth to mouth (Col 3:8) 
eyes to eyes (Col 3:12-14) 
hands to hands (Col3:9) 

Practically what is the new life in Christ? 

It is to: 

see with His eyes 
speak with His lips 
work with His hands 

Then I am living the life of Christ 

This is not works righteousness by the back door! 

This can only be achieved in the power of His Spirit! 

see with His eyes: 

speak with His lips (Col 3:8-9) 

work with His hands  (Col 3:9) 

When man sinned and left the service of God in the garden of Eden these 3 aspects of mans being were were consecrated to sin (Gen3:6): 

“woman saw” / “pleasant to eyes” - eyes 
“she took” - hands 
“did eat” - mouth 

The same pattern re-echoes in 1 Sam 14:27 in Jonathan as he partakes of the forbidden honey, hands eyes and mouth going in the wrong direction. 

In the fall Satan captured man's life with his: 

Action – hand 
Appetite – month 
Attention – eye 

In salvation Christ restores man's life with its: 

Action – hand 
Appetite – mouth 
Attention - eye 

One part of the anatomy I noted was missing in 2 Kings 4 – what about the feet? 

Why no mention of the feet? Very important part of the body for service – the walk! 

How do you take a dog a walk? Tie a rope around its feet and drag it? 

A collar and a lead – if you control the head the rest of the body follows on after! 

If he has my hands, my eyes and my mouth the rest will follow on after!# 

I will live out the life of Christ!


Notes from our bible study teaching series of messages preached systematically, verse by verse, through Paul's letter to the Romans. Free to download audio mp3 recordings of this sermon and other sermons are available at the end of this blog and on the website page.    

Yours by Grace in Christ    

Dr J Stewart Gillespie