Absolutely Not! Say That Ten Times Fast
Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? — Romans 6:2 (NET)
When the author of a book in the Bible repeats a word or phrase multiple times, we should pay attention. After all, the Holy Spirit inspired the authors. Yet these men were different from each other. And their perspective, voices, and writing styles vary considerably. After reading several letters to churches and followers of Christ, a scholar can easily pick out the ones penned by the Apostle Paul.
And the book of Romans is arguably Paul’s magnum opus.
Barely three chapters into this book, Paul starts asking questions—probably questions you and I would naturally ask if we’re tracking with him. Then he emphatically answers the question for us. He makes it sounds like one of those “duhh” moments.
Paul gives a strong answer to ten different questions he raises in Romans. Consider the words that different translations chose to use. At least eight different phrases are used among the nine different English translations and paraphrases I reviewed. Check out the summary below. It’s just different ways of saying the same thing. For what it’s worth, the Message (MSG) included multiple variations of this thought (I only included one in this list).
Absolutely not! (NET)
Not at all! (NIV)
By no means! (ESV)
I should hope not! (MSG)
Of course not! (NLT)
May it never be! (NASB)
Certainly not! (NKJV, NIV, AMP)
God forbid! (KJV)
And where are these ten questions that have a variation of the “Absolutely not!” answer found in Romans? Here’s that list for your reference. I emphasized the answer by writing them in all caps. And I took the liberty of choosing my favorite answer for each.
What if some [Jews] were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? ABSOLUTLEY NOT!
But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? CERTAINLY NOT!
Do we then overthrow the law by this faith [apart from works]? BY NO MEANS!
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? I SHOULD HOPE NOT!
What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? OF COURSE NOT!
What then shall we say? That the law is sin? MAY IT NEVER BE!
Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? OF COURSE NOT!
What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? I SHOULD HOPE NOT!
I ask then, has God rejected his people? NO! NO! A THOUSAND TIMES NO!
So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
Paul’s book to the Romans is oozing with the doctrine of salvation by faith. Romans 1:16–17 is often referred to as the theme of this work. Paul harks back to Habakkuk 2:4 to remind us that the righteous have always lived by faith, and that is still true today. So as you take up your cross, follow Christ, and walk by faith, temptations are sure to come your way. We aren’t saved by good works. And when you sin, God’s grace is amazingly extended your way. So is it okay to sin so that grace may abound? As Paul said at least ten times in this book: No. No. A thousand times, no.
Dear Father in Heaven,
Thank You for the gospel of Christ, which has the power to save even me. Let me turn to You, repent of my sinful ways, and walk by faith in Christ, trusting Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Fill me with Your love, and inspire me to do good works because You have already saved me. May I never cheapen the grace You have given me by being comfortable with sin in my life. Let me despise sin and aggressively work to kill it so that it can have no place in my thoughts, words, desires, or actions.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Walking by faith and enjoying the homeschooling adventure of a lifetime!
© 2020 Davis Carman
Davis is the president of Apologia Educational Ministries, the #1 publisher of Creation-based science and Bible curriculum. He is the author of five illustrated children’s books designed to help parents instill a biblical worldview in the hearts and minds of their preschoolers. He believes that if there was ever a time to homeschool, it is now! You can hear more of what he has to say at the Let’s Talk Homeschool Podcast.