- Joshua Kristine
Romans 6-10 (3-19-22)
In chapters 1-5, we read Paul’s detailed description of our reality as spiritually dead and enslaved to sin. In chapter 6, Paul turns to our identity and reality when we have submitted our lives to Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
Right out of the door, Paul is saying, “If you have received the forgiving, life-changing grace of God which frees you from the bondage and condemnation of sin, why would you still live in it?” This is like the butterfly who decides to wake up every day and, instead of flying, he crawls into his old, stinky cocoon and lives bound to the ground like he was in his old state.
God’s grace has set us free from the bondage of sin. While we are still at war with sin and temptation while still in this life, we are NOT bound by it anymore.
Paul goes on to stress who we are in Christ and what that means for us every day God gives us under the sun after our salvation.
Romans 6:3-4 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
The imagery of believers’ baptism is never clearer than right here. This is the ordained imagery God calls every believer to put on display by being baptized after conversion. When one goes under the water, it is symbolic of joining Christ, who went into the grave on our behalf. It is symbolic of the death of our old sinful self. As we are raised out of the water, it is like joining Jesus in His resurrection, by which He rose as the first born of many who would believe in and follow Him. It is raising to “walk in the newness of life” in Christ, and to no longer be bound by sin and condemned to death. In Christ, we are bound to Christ and blessed with new and eternal life with God.
How are you doing at waking up every day and putting on who you are in Christ and not who you were in your old, sinful self? It is critical that we live out who we are. If we don’t, we lie about the gospel and fail to enjoy the privileges of life in Christ.
Romans 6:5-11 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Paul makes it abundantly clear that in Christ, we are no longer condemned by our sin and no longer enslaved to sin. We have been set free from sin. We are, as he says, “dead to sin.” Do you know this? Do you live this? I know many people over the years who have said they know this is true, but their lives do not live it out. If this is you, then I would argue you do not really know it to be true. You say you understand, but that understanding is not taking root in your life. You are either set free and trust and obey Jesus or you are not.
If we are bought by His blood, then He owns our life. That means we walk and talk in a way that glorifies Jesus; we live lives that honor God and that don’t give into sin and our flesh. This is where Paul goes next:
Romans 6:12-14 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Paul gets very practical here in saying that Christians “do not present [their] members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness.” Our instruments are our minds (thoughts), our eyes, our hands… essentially our lives. We do not engage or enjoy unrighteousness like we did when we were enslaved to sin in our former state.
Now, we have been bought and redeemed and set free to honor God with our thoughts, our eyes, and our actions. We fight sin and turn away from temptation to satisfy the flesh. We make war every day and all throughout the day. This means we reform our lives in order to not feast on the world. This means redeeming the music we listen to, the shows/movies we watch, and all the practices of our former way of living.
Things that are good that we made idols of we begin to steward in a righteous way. One of the great ways to be encouraged and accountable is to invite in others who are mature in the Lord to help you evaluate your practices and daily diet of life, with the aim of not presenting our members to sinful or tempting things any longer.
Instead, Paul says we are to “present [ourselves] to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and [our] members to God as instruments for righteousness.” As one who is blood-bought by God through the costly atonement of His Son, what are each of us doing with our new lives in Christ? What are we doing with our days? We have been given new life in Christ for a reason: to honor and glorify God and to put on display the gospel and the new life that Christ alone brings.
These are huge motivations and reasons for reformation and redemption in our daily practices and habits. How are you doing at reforming and redeeming these things? What a joyful privilege it is to belong to our good God. May we count it a great blessing to make war with the things of the flesh and to steward our lives in ways that honor God and point others to Christ.
May we repent of sin when we discover it and take up new practices or paths in light of the gospel.
May we head Paul’s wise clarity and instruction here and be who we are: “dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
By His grace and for His glory,
Soldiers for Jesus MC