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Thursday, July 02 2020

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

INTRODUCTION 

In our last study we considered two teams: Team Adam and Team Christ. We learnt that by Adam’s sin, sin entered the world and we became sinful in nature from birth. But glory to God we also learnt that by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we have become free from the curse of sin; as long as we choose the join Team Christ. In today’s study we shall be looking at a fundamental aspect of a believer’s standpoint; depicting the power we have in our everyday life to live in ways that are faithful to God. In Romans 5:20, Paul said that where sin increased, grace abounded all the more. And in the first two verses of Chapter 6, Paul answers the question that stems naturally from that verse.


VERSES 1-2: A CATEGORICAL ANSWER
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”

The opening two verses of Romans 6 make it very clear that the apostle was dealing with the question of whether a believer can go on living in sin after he or she has come to Christ. Can they go on in a lifestyle that is basically wrong and sinful? Can they live as alcoholics, or swindlers, adulterers, homosexual, or slanderers? Is it possible to maintain such a lifestyle and be a Christian? The apostle's answer -- as we have already seen in the first two verses -- is, "By no means!" (Romans 6:2a NIV). It is impossible, Paul says, because, as he puts it in these four little words, "We died to sin," (Romans 6:2b NIV). When we stand in grace it is bizarre to
think that it is necessary for any reason to continue in sin. To think this way is to miss the whole point. Standing in grace is standing in an entirely new place, a place apart from sin. We now live under a regime of grace, and grace does not stimulate sin, as law does; grace liberates from sin and enables us to triumph over it.

VERSES 3-4: THE SYMBOLISM BAPTISM OFFERS
“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We 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.”

Paul draws attention to baptism as the starting point. It is the act which communicates our identification with Christ's death. But the water isn’t what cleanses us! It is a demonstration of how we died to sin, how we became separated from being in Adam, and how we became joined in Christ. You will agree with me that no water can do that. It is the Spirit of God! John the Baptist, who made his reputation because he baptized in water, said, "I indeed baptize you with water, but there comes One after me, greater than I, who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit," John 1:33). That is what Paul is talking about here -- the baptism of the Holy Spirit --
which places us into Christ. 
He then drives home the point of dying with Christ. When something is dead its existence in reality ends; it exists only in memory. We cannot continue to live in sin because we have died, have been buried, and have risen again with Jesus, and therefore we too may live a new life. When we become Christians, there must be a noticeable change in our behaviour because there has been a radical change of government. If we go on living as we were before, then our profession of Christianity is false. There must be a change, and there will be, if there has been a change in the heart.

VERSES 5-7: GRAFTING – WHAT IT MEANS TO BE UNITED IN DEATH WITH CHRIST
“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.”

Paul draws out inferences in terms of death to sin. We can't die with Christ and not be risen with him. If we died with Him, we must be risen with Him as well. In other words, we can't pick and choose. The word united means "to graft a branch into another." The branch is tied together in such a way that the life from the trunk of the tree flows into the branch and they grow together until finally you can't tell the difference between the graft and the natural branch. The life is fully shared. This is the figure Paul is using here to describe our tie with the Lord Jesus. His life becomes our life. We are no longer in Adam, in any sense. The tie is totally broken. We are now in Christ, and He is our life from now on.

VERSES 8-10: RISEN WITH HIM
“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God”

Next Paul traces this parallel. Jesus was crucified, and we were crucified too. Our old self, the old man, the man who was in Adam, the tie with Adam, has been broken by death. All that we were as a natural-born human being ended when we accepted Jesus. Paul was referring to our spirit man here. He explains that Jesus was crucified in order that the sin which was in His body on the cross should come to an end; that His body be rendered powerless with respect to sin. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says "he was made sin for us," In Adam, sin filled the whole of man -- our spirit, our soul, and our body. We were slaves to sin, and no matter how much we wanted to be different, we couldn't be. But now that bond has been broken. In Christ our spirits are free, and have become united with Jesus; have risen with him, and now free from sin. (1 John 3:9). Here John was talking about our spirits; our spirits are who we are, not our bodies!
What Paul makes clear in this chapter is that sin remains an alien power trying to dominate and control our bodies and our souls. It is the presence of the spirit in the body that produces the soul, just as electricity in a light bulb produces light. Paul makes it clear that our spirits were freed from sin. They do not sin, and cannot sin, because they are linked with Christ, so that we may be able to control the sin which is in the body. From here on, we do not have to sin. If we do, it is because we allow it to happen. But we are no longer slaves to sin.

VERSES 11-13: TWO KEY STEPS TO OVERCOME TEMPTATION
“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.”

When we feel temptation in our bodies or minds, then there are two things we are to do:
First, we must remember that we don't have to obey sin. We just don't have to! We are free to refuse it; because we are dead to it! Second, we must remember His power is in us to enable us to offer that same part of our bodies to God, to be used for His purposes. Now, that may mean a struggle, because the strength of sin is very strong. When we start to turn away from evil in our bodies, the habits of our lives are so deeply engrained that oftentimes it is very difficult, and we struggle. But we have the power not to sin because we have God himself within us -- the living God. There will be a struggle; it is not always easy, but we have the strength to do it and we have the right to do it. We have the freedom not to sin and the desire not to sin. That is what God has brought to us in Christ.

CONCLUSION
“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace”.

Paul closes with such a wonderful statement. Interestingly, he brings in the Law because he is dealing with one of the most basic problems of the Christian struggle, the thing that oftentimes depresses and discourages us more than anything else -- the sense of condemnation we feel when we sin. You see, the Law produces condemnation. The Law says that unless you live up to this standard, God will not have anything to do with you. We have been so engrained with this that when we sin, even as believers, we think God is angry and upset with us and He doesn't care about us. We think that way about ourselves, and we become discouraged and defeated and depressed. We want to give up. "What's the use?" We say. But Paul says that is not true; we are not under the Law. God does not feel that way about us. We are under grace, and God understands our struggles. He is not upset by it; He is not angry with us. He understands our failures. He knows that there will be a struggle and there will be failures. He also knows that He has made full provision for us to recover immediately, to pick ourselves up, and go right on climbing up the mountain. Therefore, we mustn’t be discouraged. Sin will not be our master because we are not under the law and the condemnation that comes from it, but under grace. And even though we struggle, if, every time we fail, we come back to God and ask His forgiveness, and take it from Him, and remember how He loves us, and that He is not angry or upset with us, and go on from there, we will win the battle over sin!

Culled from: https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=3882, https://www.raystedman.org/new-testament/romans/the-true-baptism-of-the-spirit

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 01:23 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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