The verse you are referring to is Romans 6:1: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” In order to understand why this question was raised, we need to look at what the Apostle Paul had just taught in Romans 5:20-21, “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But WHERE SIN ABOUNDED, GRACE DID MUCH MORE ABOUND: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”

In Romans chapters 3-5 Paul was teaching men their need of God’s grace and how God used the Law, which is the Ten Commandments, to show men this need. Romans 3:19-20 reads, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: FOR BY THE LAW IS THE KNOWLEDGE OF SIN.” The Law reveals to men that they are sinners! Romans 5:20 goes a step further and teaches us that the Law not only revealed that men were sinners; it revealed that their sin was an offence against God. Before God gave the Law there was sin in the world, but men had no idea that they were sinning against a holy God and His holy standards of righteousness. Once the Law entered, they knew the awfulness of sin and how guilty they were in God’s sight by breaking His commandments. It is in that sense that “sin abounded.” But then God also revealed His grace to men through the gospel. Romans 3:21-22 says, “But now the righteousness of God without law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus unto all and upon all them that believe.” Verse 24 adds, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” So, even though the Law revealed the ugliness of man’s sin against God, the gospel of grace reveals God’s way of justifying the sinner through Christ’s death on the cross. This proved that God’s grace was greater than all of man’s sin, just as we saw in Romans 5:20, “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”

Because of this truth the apostle Paul knew there would be those who would use that as an excuse to sin. The one who wants to use grace as a license to sin says, “If our sin allows God to display His grace, then why not CONTINUE IN SIN THAT GRACE MAY ABOUND?” Paul meets that argument head-on by stating in Romans 6:2, “God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Paul is teaching us clearly and emphatically that grace was never meant to encourage one to keep living in sin; instead grace has put us in a position where we have “died to sin.” What does that mean? It means that the moment you believe on Jesus Christ as your Savior God sees you as identified completely with Jesus Christ. Verse 6 goes on to explain that: “Knowing this, that our old man has been crucified with him, that the body of sin might be annulled, that we should no longer serve sin” (Darby Version). In Christ’s death, WE HAVE DIED! When it says, “our old man,” it is referring to the person we were before we trusted Christ, the person who was born into a sinful race and who sinned willfully in rebellion against God. God judged “that person” in the death of His Son so that “the body of sin might be annulled, that we should no longer serve sin.” What does this mean? It means that our death with Christ gives us the power to cancel sin’s power, even though the sinful nature we were born with is still in us. Jesus said in John 8:36, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” Praise God that the believer is “dead to sin” through his identification with Christ and is thus “free indeed!” We owe it all to God’s amazing grace, and the one who understands that, would NEVER ask the question, “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?”  (198.1) (DO)