Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ
1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
Romans 1-5 focused on the teaching on redemption or how the Lord saves a sinner and we learned a great deal about justification; that is, how a person is saved or set free from the PENALTY of sin. And Paul taught us that it is through faith in Jesus Christ. Here, in these chapters Paul will teach us the SANCTIFICATION or HOW A CHRISTIAN GROWS TOWARDS CHRISTLIKENESS/HOLINESS OR SPIRITUAL MATURITY. The major idea here is HOW A CHRISTIAN IS SAVED OR SET FREE FROM THE POWER OF SIN in his life.
Paul begins his teaching by pointing us back to the Cross or the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Last Sunday, we learned that our UNION WITH CHRIST (done through personal repentance and placing our trust in Jesus) means that we have been given a “new life” or “new nature” or the “grace” to live a supernatural or above the normal life (see v. 4). That’s why we said that the death and resurrection of Jesus is not only a historical event but also a personal and spiritual breakthrough for every believer and for those who are yet to believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord. Jesus died for not for himself but for us. Thus, what He accomplished on the Cross and in His resurrection is not for Himself but for you and me. This is very very important because here lie the key to all our spiritual blessings. But I’m afraid that some of us, if not many, don’t fully understand/realize the meaning of Christ’s death.
Paul teaches us in his letters that the death and resurrection of Jesus is the corner stone, the very foundation of our faith. In the opening verses in Rom. 6, last week we learned that his death and resurrection not authenticates our new life in Christ but also assure us of a victorious and overcoming faith.
The death and resurrection of Christ is the FOUNDATION OR BASIS of our victory over the POWER OF SIN. Our UNION WITH CHRIST/FAITH IN JESUS IS THE KEY to secure this victory. With Paul, we can now say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” or “In Christ, I can live for God!” Today, we are going to look at the practical exhortation of Paul, and we will come to understand HOW THIS “NEW NATURE” or “mindset” or “new heart” that we acquired in Christ should work or be translated in our practical daily actions, words, and thoughts. In other words, IF YOU SAY YOU ARE FREE IN CHRIST, THEN ACT LIKE ONE!
A. SIN IS NO LONGER OUR MASTER AND KING.
Paul is teaching us here in Romans 6 that since Christ died to sin, we too have already died to sin. But the problem is that we are like spiritual zombies-walking dead!
1) We do not have to OBEY sin’s temptation and its influence in our life. We can resist Satan.
We need to continually remind ourselves that “sin is no longer our Master and King. So, we don’t have to obey its voice or its influence over our life. The Bible clearly teaches believers/Christians that we are to resist Satan (1 Pet. 5:8). We can resist Satan and his demonic forces. Pastor Jake told the other day that he was casting a demon from a member and that he told me that the demon’s name is Cain. Interestingly, the girl was a run away and who rebelled against her parents and this demon was molesting her and even wanted to father a child with her. Satan wants to defile our bodies. To influence us to destroy our bodies through vices, sinful habits and stressful lifestyle (worry and business, etc).
2) We do not have to OFFER our bodies as instruments of wickedness. We can renounce Satan’s works in our life.
But Paul teaches us that we don’t have to offer our bodies as instruments of wickedness or unrighteousness. This means that we can not only resist Satan but also renounce his evil works in our life. There are things that happened to us or things that we do or say or thought and experienced that could be termed as unrighteousness in our life but we don’t know it. But these things are actually curses in our life. Harboring anger, keeping an amulet or occultic things like books, incantations. We have to actively let the Holy Spirit minister to us and deliver us from all those bondages.
B. JESUS CHRIST IS NOW OUR NEW MASTER AND KING.
On the other hand, Paul is teaching us that Jesus is now our new Master and King! And because He is now our Master and King, we can do two things…
1) We can now OBEY the Lord’s commandments. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Paul is saying that God has now given us the ability or power to rise from our old life/nature and we can obey God’s commands. In other words we can now change our sinful habits and sinful practices. We can do the things that please and glorify the Lord. This leads us to our next point…
2) We can now OFFER our bodies as instruments of righteousness. We can please and glorify the Lord with our bodies.
We can now offer our life even our bodies as a living sacrifice to God. Here, he exhorts us to offer our bodies as instruments of righteousness. Everything that we do now in our bodies matters before God. WOW! This is a serious thought!
The last that I would like to share is the practical implications of this truth in our day to day living as Christians. Let me give what I believe are major implications of the truth that we can now obey God and offer our bodies to Him as a living sacrifice.
(a) Through Christ, we can use our “hands,” “feet,” and our “hearts” to lovingly serve the Lord and others.
Remember that everything that we do now as believers has eternal consequence. They will be evaluated by the Lord and we will each receive our due reward or punishment.
(b) Through Christ, we can now overcome the sins/acts of our old nature as enumerated in Gal. 5:19-21 and Eph. 4: 31.
Paul, in these passages, clearly teaches us that there are acts or sins that are offensive to the Lord or which comes from our old/sinful nature. We need to check if these sins are still dominating our life. Because if they are then we need to re-examine our standing before the Lord. If we are struggling with these sins then that is understandable. But if they dominate our life then we need a major evaluation or perhaps an EGR experience. May problema.
(c) Through Christ, we can now develop the ‘fruit’ or qualities of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23).
Another practical implication of this is that we can now be like our Lord Jesus Christ. We can develop our character in such a away that we reflect the qualities of Christ in the way we relate with people and conduct our daily life. With Paul, we can say, “I am being transformed from glory to glory” as we intentionally obey and offer our bodies to the Lord as living sacrifices.
Therefore, it is one thing to know and understand that we are “dead to sin” and “alive to God” in Christ Jesus; and it is another thing to live and act like one. In other words, if you say you are a disciple of the Lord Jesus or a Christian, then live like one. Glorify God in your life!
This message was delivered by Dr. Valentino P. Natcher at Emmanuel Church Ministries International in Makati City, Philippines last April 11, 2010