Programming Note: since this has become a series I'm actually adding titles to the posts. The plan is to do three to four of these a week, though I'm not sure what I should do after Romans. Suggestions welcomed.
Much of the Bible is about defining God’s reality (or universe as it really is). In a fallen and broken world we say up is down and yellow is brown. When you read the prophets of the Old Testament you see them disgusted with Israel’s behavior. Israel, the chosen nation to be God’s people on earth, ignores its duty and behaves poorly. The funny thing about this behavior isn’t that God isn’t being worshipped (though that happens at times) but that God’s order for the world is not being followed. Israel breaks God’s heart by oppressing the poor, forgetting the widow, and showing injustice to the alien. God’s reality as found in creation, the law, and history is ignored and the people of Israel play by the world’s rules, not God’s.
The reality that you see in the Old Testament gets radically reworked and fulfilled in the New Testament through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus broke all expectations: forgiving sins when sins weren’t supposed to be forgiven; inaugurating a kingdom not based on power. The reality of God now includes the resurrection of the dead and the salvation of humanity.
In chapter 6 of Romans, Paul is trying to make the same point. He is telling the Romans that the world isn’t as it seems. That because of our faith in a resurrected Jesus we are no longer in bondage to sin. God’s reality has broken through in our lives and we are now alive with true, eternal life.