In Romans 5:20, Paul makes a powerful statement: “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” His point is that no matter how much sin there is or how terrible the results of sin are, God’s grace is sufficient to deal with it.
What hope that should bring for each of us, especially when we’re tempted to feel that our sins are too great to be forgiven! In Romans 5:21, Paul shows that although sin has led to death, God’s grace through Jesus has defeated death and can give us eternal life.
Paul follows an interesting line of argument in chapter 6 as to why a justified person should not sin. To begin with, he says that we shouldn’t sin because we have died to sin. Then he explains what he means.
Immersion in the waters of baptism represents burial. What is buried? The “old man” of sin-that is, the body committing sin, the body dominated or ruled by sin. As a result, this “body of sin” is destroyed, so that we no longer serve sin. In Romans 6 sin is personified as a master who rules over his servants. Once the “body of sin” that served sin is destroyed, sin’s mastery over it ceases. The one who rises from the watery grave comes up a new person who no longer serves sin. He or she now walks in newness of life.
Christ, having died, died once and for all, but He is now alive forevermore. So, the Christian who is baptized has died to sin once and for all and should never again come under its dominion. Of course, as any baptized Christian knows, sin doesn’t just automatically disappear from our lives once we come up out of the water. Not being ruled by sin isn’t the same as not having to struggle with it.
“From this we clearly see what the words of the Apostle mean. All such statements as: 1. ‘We are dead to sin,’ 2. ‘We live unto God,’ etc., signify that we do not yield to our sinful passions and sin, even though sin continues in us. Nevertheless, sin remains in us until the end of our life, as we read Galatians 5:17: ‘The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other.’ Therefore all apostles and saints confess that sin and the sinful passions remain in us till the body is turned into ashes, and a new (glorified) body is raised up which is free from passion and sin.” – Martin Luther, Commentary on Romans, p. 100.
Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons