Well, as we come to the Word of God, I want you to turn to Romans chapter 6. For those of you who may be visiting with us, we’re having a great time on Sunday nights talking about some of the great doctrines of Scripture, the great teachings, the pillars of our faith. And we have come in our study to the doctrines of sanctification, the elements of holiness and righteousness that characterize the believer.
Actually, we have titled this part of our study “Spiritual Transformation” because we are convinced that the Bible teaches when you become a Christian, as you heard in testimonies tonight, you are transformed, spiritually made new. Things change. Everything changes, and we’ve been looking at that and discussing it over the last number of weeks.
And I want to draw you into the sixth chapter of Romans because no portion of Scripture is better suited to help us to understand the essential character of sanctification than the sixth and seventh chapter of Romans. And we’re going to look at these chapters not in intense detail, but enough to understand the message that is here.
And you might ask the question why is it important to talk about the doctrine of sanctification, which, as we’ve been saying, means separation from sin, separation unto holiness and righteousness. Why is it important? And just to set that in your minds, first of all, the church has always been in danger of contamination by false believers who would tell us that the gospel sets you free to the degree that sin doesn’t matter.
There are those who have always wanted to say that once you’re justified – and this is forever – once you have been declared righteous by God through faith in Jesus Christ, you don’t need to worry about sin anymore; it shouldn’t be an issue. There are some through the years that have actually taught that sin still resides in your flesh, and since your flesh is unredeemed, you have no control over it anyway, so don’t worry about it. You can’t stop it from being what it is. You can’t change it from being what it is. It’s going to do what it does, and it’s not something to be worried about. This has, through the years, been called antinomianism from the Greek nomos – law. It’s against the law; it’s the idea of living without regard for God’s Holy Law.
And there have always been people who wanted to corrupt the church with this kind of thinking. For example, Jude says, “Certain persons have crept in unnoticed, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny, therefore, our only Master and Lord Jesus Christ. This is a Christ-denying idea that you can be justified and not sanctified. Paul wants to deal a death blow to that antinomianism, and he wants to do it, and he does it without yielding an inch of ground who would deny – to those who would deny that God’s grace is sufficient for salvation.
Paul wants to say that salvation is all of grace. That is true, and where sin abounds, grace much more abounds. But without denying that, he also wants to say that when you are justified, when you are saved, you will be a new creation, and you will have a completely different relationship to sin – not a relationship that tolerates sin or allows sin, but a relationship to God that is characterized by one who has no tolerance for sin and is marked by holiness rather than sinfulness.
Scripture actually makes it plain, from Genesis through Revelation, that a saving relationship to God is linked to holy living. That to be saved is to be transformed by the power of God working in and through your innermost being so that everything changes. Your heart changes, and this heart change is as much a gift from God as is your justification. And the life that basically makes no move toward holiness, the life that is not marked by holiness has no claim to salvation. If you’re not being sanctified, then you can make no claim to having been justified.
Now admittedly, none of us is going to be sinless, but we’re going to be pursing holiness and righteousness as a passionate part of the expression of our new life. There will not be indifference to or disregard of the lordship of Christ. There will not be indifference to or disregard of the Holy Law of God. There will not be indifference to or disregard to the working of the Spirit of holiness who is operating in us. There is an inseparable connection between justification and sanctification, between being declared righteous and becoming righteous, between being covered with the holiness of Christ and behaving in a holy fashion. Christ does not declare anyone righteous whom He does not make righteous by transforming their nature.
So, these great truths are inseparably linked. And that’s how they flow in the book of Romans. In chapter 1 of Romans, from 18 on through chapter 3, verse 20, Paul talks about the universal sinfulness and guilt of man. This book is, of course, well known to those of you who are Bible students, and in those opening three chapters, halfway through chapter 3 – a little more than halfway – you have the universal sinfulness and guilt of man.
Starting in chapter 3, verse 21 and running to the end of chapter 5, you have the free gift of salvation offered by grace, through faith, to all who believe in Christ. And these two great sections lay out for us the doctrines of sin and depravity and the doctrines of regeneration and justification. They are followed then immediately in chapter 6 by a discussion of the doctrine of sanctification.
And chapter 5 closes with these familiar words, verse 20, “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” And the key phrase is that where sin increased or as the authorized says, “Where sin abounded, grace much more abounded.” And that’s how the section on salvation is closed: where you had abounding universal guilt and sin, grace prevailed, and to those who believed, grace superseded sin and guilt. And up to that point in the life of a person, sin reigns unto death and then grace comes and grace reigns through righteousness to eternal life.
God’s grace is magnanimous; God’s grace is powerful; God’s grace is superabundant; God’s grace is overwhelming. Wherever there is sin, grace conquers that sin.
Now, Paul anticipates a comment that’s liable to jump in here. He has, as he argues his case in Romans, a sort of imaginary antagonist that he sort of invented, and he puts words in that antagonist’s mouth that he knows that those who read the book are going to ask, they’re going to wonder about. And it is at this point that the apostle moves perilously close to the edge of an abyss. When he says, “Where grace – where sin abounds, grace much more abounds,” he runs the risk of somebody saying, “Oh, good, then let’s sin more so God can put more grace on display.”
And that could push Paul over the edge into the abyss of error. If more grace is manifested where there is more sin, then let sin go and let grace overwhelm it. Why should Christians bother to be pure? Why not go on sinning that the supply of grace might be increased and God therefore glorified in the display of grace?
This is not something that’s merely hypothetical. A notable, historical instance of the abuse of Paul’s teaching can be seen in the famous Russian monk named Rasputin, who you may remember was the evil genius of the Romanoff family in the last years of its power in Russia. Rasputin taught and exemplified the doctrine of salvation through repeated experiences of sin and repentance. He held and taught that, “As those who sin require most forgiveness, a sinner who continues to sin with abandon enjoys every time he repents, more of God’s grace than any other ordinary sinner; so sin more so God can show more grace,” said Rasputin. That is, of course, antinomianism run amok. This is an advocating of complete moral freedom, no law; in the name of grace you can do everything you want. And as I said, added to that is a familiar idea that crept into dispensational circles, in years past, that basically said your flesh is your flesh; you can’t do anything about it anyway, so let it go.
Paul’s critics had already accused him of preaching a message of grace that opened the way to tolerating sin. Back in chapter 3 of Romans and verse 8, Paul says, “And why not say (as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say), ‘Let us do evil that good may come’?” They were condemning Paul’s gospel of grace because they saw it as a way to encourage people and motivate people to do evil so good could come from it.
Obviously the Jews who were devoted to keeping the Law, who were fastidious and careful about every law, every minute ordinance and tradition that they had developed, believed that this was the only way to please God and earn favor with God; and to earn your own salvation and your own entrance into the kingdom was what they were after. And for someone to come along and say, “All of that is manure, all of that is useless, all of that you have to forsake and set aside; salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, and that salvation is available to the lowliest and the worst and the most wretched and the most reprobate of all; and where that sin abounds, grace will much more abound to the one who believes,” this seemed to the Jew – to the legalistic Jew – like nothing other than antinomianism.
And so, they accused him of saying, “Let evil abound so good may come.” They grew up trying to define their righteousness by adherence to the Law of Moses. And now comes the apostle Paul and other Christian preachers saying, “Forget trying to get to God through the keeping of the Law; it’s all by grace.”
“God justifies,” Paul said in Romans, “the ungodly.” Not the godly, not the righteous, not the holy, not the self-made. He justifies the ungodly. And Paul is saying, “However, that does not lead to lawlessness.”
Look at verses 1 and 2, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be!” May it never be! No, no, absolutely not – mē genoito, the strongest negative in the Greek language. No, no, no. it is an outrage to even think of it. Why? Verse 2, “How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” Something more happens at salvation than just a forensic act by which God declares you righteous. There is also a transformation that can only be described as a death and a resurrection. When anyone yields his or her life to the risen Christ, when anyone comes to God for forgiveness and puts their trust in the Savior, the power of the Holy Spirit moves on that person, and his inward being is radically transformed so that he becomes a new creature - 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15 – a new creature.
Anyone who comes to Christ, who is justified and regenerated and adopted into the family of God and converted – and we’ve been looking at all those terms – and redeemed, is also transformed. He receives a new nature. And that new nature spontaneously produces the fruit of the Spirit; it produces the graces that were manifest in Christ himself that are characteristic of God, not the same in fullness, but the same in kind to a lesser degree. That’s sanctification. And the bottom line is it doesn’t do any good to claim you’re a Christian if you don’t manifest a transformed life.
You heard Jacob, in his testimony tonight, say that he was driven away from Christ by people who said they were Christians but must have been hypocrites because their lives, when examined, were worse than people who didn’t claim to be Christians. And the claim is meaningless. It takes you right back to the teaching of Jesus – doesn’t it? – in the Sermon on the Mount. “It’s not the one who says, ‘Lord, Lord,’ it’s not the one who builds their religious edifice that’s going to get washed away when the judgment comes, it’s not the one who hears only; it’s the one who hears and obeys My word.”
And James says, “Be not hearers only, but doers of the Word.”
So, theologically, Paul proceeds from justification, through chapter 5, to sanctification because they are so closely connected. Holiness is also a gift that comes to the believer from God. This is so important to us because it’s going to put us in touch with who we are.
We talk a lot about that today, and certainly people in the psychological world talk about how important it is to have a view of yourself that’s healthy; have a wholesome view of yourself; have a good self-image; have an honest and correct analysis or perspective of your life, who you are; get in touch with who you really are. We hear that all the time.
Well, spiritually speaking, that’s very, very important. It critically important. I want to know what I bring to this Christian life. I want to know what I bring to this battle. I want to know where I stand with regard to the law of God and the expectations of God and the will of God and the purpose of God. I want to know where I stand, as it were, against the enemies of God and against Satan himself and the world and the flesh and the Devil.
I want to understand who I am in Christ. It’s a critical thing for me to have an accurate assessment of what I bring to this Christian experience, what I bring to living a godly life. What are my resources, who am I really? Ignorance is not helpful. Not knowing the true understanding of myself in Christ, not knowing what power has been placed in me to resist the onslaught of sin and Satan and the world. No knowing that is a weakening ignorance.
And so, the apostle Paul is going to help us to understand our position in Christ. And he starts out – and we’ll go back to the text – “Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be!” Outraged indignation. It is an idiom. It just can’t happen. Impossible. It’s a denial with abhorrence – “By no means!” A Christian continuing willfully to remain in, abide in, live in, pursue sin is not only impermissible, it is impossible.
Hebrews 12:14 says, “Without holiness, no man will see the Lord.” Holiness starts where justification finishes. And if there’s no holiness, there’s been no justification.
So, Paul, here, is going to answer this dilemma, and he basically answers it with one statement, “We do not continue in sin that grace might increase.” Why? “How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” We have died. Some translations say, “Who are dead to sin.” It actually is a past-tense verb. “How shall we that have died to sin live any longer in it?” This is fundamental to the entire argument. Death and life are not compatible. You can’t be dead to sin and live to sin. You’re either dead or alive, and that is why these extreme terms are used to define our relationship to sin. We are no longer alive to sin.
Over in Romans 8, verse 2, “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Now, it doesn’t just refer to a state of being, and that’s why it’s important for you to understand the language here. It refers to a definite act in the past. We have died, in the past, with an ongoing effect. At some point in the past, there was a once-for-all break with sin. We now live in another realm. We now live in another sphere. We now live in another spiritual environment, completely different from the one we used to live in.
In fact, in 2 Corinthians 5, Paul talks of the same thing, says that, “One died for all” – being Christ – “therefore all died. And He died for all that they who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died anecdote rose again on their behalf.” What was our death? When did we die? When did we die to sin? We died to sin in Christ. This is the marvelous mystery of God’s redemptive purpose. When you put your faith in Jesus Christ, at that moment it was as if you were transported back to the cross, and you died with Christ. You died to sin, and you no longer have the same relationship with it.
Colossians 3:3 – verse 2, “Set your mind on things above, no on things on the Earth.” Why? “For you have died, and now Christ is your life.” Very stark, very clear terms.
In fact, in 1 John 3:9, “No one who is born of God practices sin” – he can’t sin because he’s born of God. What is he saying? He’s saying, “Your entire relationship to sin has changed.” You used to be alive to it, but you have died to it. It’s a death picture.
Now, the question is how did we die to sin? And we go to Paul’s amazing argument in verses 3 and following. And I’m going to try to take you through this and see how far we get. Here’s his argument, and there are logical steps. How did we die to sin? First of all, we are baptized into Christ. We are baptized into Christ. Look at verse 3, “Do you not know that of - all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?”
The first thing I want to say is this verse is dry. There is no water here. We’re not talking about water baptism. He’s using the word “baptize” in the way that is metaphoric. We have been “immersed” into Christ. Sometimes we say about a person who goes into a very difficult situation, “They had their baptism of fire.” Or sometimes you say of someone who is caught in a very, very dangerous situation, “They were immersed in danger.” And we understand that kind of metaphoric language, and that’s the kind that’s being used here. All of us who have been immersed into Christ have been immersed into His death.
Justification is a legal pronouncement affecting our status, but sanctification is an actual miracle affecting our life. It is union with Christ. When you come to Christ, you become in Christ. And this is a concept that is repeated again and again and again. Over and over Paul says, “We are in Christ, in Christ, in Christ. Our life is joined to Him. He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit,” 1 Corinthians 6.
We have been immersed into Christ. We are in Him. We share His life because we shared His death. This refers – now follow – to the act of God which places a believer into real union with Christ. We have been placed into Christ. This is so staggering, but it’s repeated across the pages of the New Testament. Listen to Galatians 3:27 “All of you were immersed into Christ, and you have been clothed with Christ.” Into Christ, covered with Christ. That’s Galatians 3.
In Colossians, it’s the same thing. Colossians chapter 2, verse 9, “In Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete. In Him you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions.”
We were immersed into Him, into His death, and into His life. We are indivisibly united with Christ. Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I.” In other words, Paul doesn’t know where he ends and Christ begins. This is the great mystery of the Christian life.
If I asked you, “Who lives your Christian life,” you can’t even answer the question.
You say, “I do; I live my Christian life.”
Really, you do? So, whatever is holy and righteous and good, you’ve done that?
“Well, no, I take it back; I don’t live my Christian life, the Holy Spirit lives it.”
Okay. So, whatever is bad and evil and lustful, that’s the Holy Spirit?
“Well, no. I guess I don’t live it, and I guess the Holy – I can’t blame the Holy Spirit for this, and I can’t take credit for it.”
You see the dilemma? Even Paul didn’t understand. He said, “I’m crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I.” We live in that tension. We have been so immersed into Christ, we do know this, that whatever is good is His work, and whatever is bad is ours. It’s not just learning something about Christ that saves us; it’s not just facts; it’s not just a right interpretation of the facts. It’s shared life.
And so, Paul’s argument begins, “We are baptized into Christ.” And then he says, “We are literally immersed into Christ’s death and resurrection.” Follow his thought, “Whoever’s been baptized into Christ Jesus has been baptized into his death,” Verse 4, “Therefore, we’ve been buried with Him through baptism into death in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we, too, might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.” All he’s doing is expanding his thought. We have been immersed into Christ, and when He died, we died. When He was buried, as it were, we were buried. And when He rose, we rose, and everything is different. Everything is different.
This is a mystery to be taken by faith, by a miracle that I can’t explain. By a mysterious, divine act of God, when a person believes in Jesus Christ unto salvation, that person is placed into the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ to die in Him, to be buried in Him, and to rise with Him to walk in newness of life.
We therefore live our lives according to verse 4, in a newness of life that brings glory to the Father. So, you can’t be the same. Your whole relationship to sin has changed. We die in order that we might live. We share His death in order that we might share His life. And there’s no sharing His death without sharing His life. We walk in newness of life – kainos. Kainos means new in kind, new in quality, fresh, new existence. And this is really consistent with Scripture. The new covenant, the salvation covenant in the Old Testament says we get a new heart – Ezekiel 36 – we get a new spirit. Second Corinthians 5, we are a new creation. Ephesians 4:24, we are a new man. Revelation 2:17, we get a new name. Psalm 40, verse 3, we sing a new song. Behold, all things have become new.
The beautiful analogy in verse 5, “We have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we will be in the likeness of His resurrection,” that “united with Him” is really planted together. We literally were planted together – sumphytos, we were planted together with Him, and we grow together with Him, inseparable. Planted in His death, in His burial, and blooming in newness of life. Christ’s Calvary was your Calvary, and Christ’s Easter was your Easter.
I can’t say it any more clearly than the apostle Paul said it. I’m left with the mystery of it, which I acknowledge by faith and also by experience because I know the holy longings that exist in my heart as do you. A Christian is new, something he never was before. To be saved is not an addition, it’s a transformation. It’s not getting something new; it’s becoming someone new, and it flows from this real union of life with Christ. There’s no sanctification gap; there’s no second work down the road somewhere, as we talked about a few weeks ago, where you wait for some great thing to happen.
We’re like Lazarus, you know? Jesus said, “Lazarus, come forth!” And all that was left to do was to take off his filthy grave clothes. And that’s basically what we’re told to do. We are risen, we are new in Christ, we have new life, and we are to shed the trappings of that which is old.
In Colossians 3:5, “Consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed. In them you once walked. But now throw off those old things: anger, wrath, malice, slander, abusive speech. You’ve put on the new self, being renewed in a in a true knowledge according to the image of One who created him.” It’s ever being renewed, ever being renewed, but it’s new to begin with.
So, in the first steps of Paul’s logical flow, he sets a basic reality down. We’ve been placed into union with Christ in His death, His resurrection, and His holy life. He digs a little deeper into this and makes a third point. The body of sin has been destroyed. Look at verses 6 and 7. Now we’re going to get into something of understanding our own nature presently in this new life.
Verse 6, “Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin, for he who has died is freed from sin.” And there’s the key. Verse 7 really unlocks verse 2. “How shall we who died” – what does that mean? Well, if - verse 7 added to it – if verse 7 is added to it, it clarifies it, “He who has died is freed from sin.” You have literally moved out of that realm into a new life; the body of sin has been destroyed.
He starts out in verse 6 by saying, “Knowing this” – and here we are again reminded that it’s critical to understand this, to understand who we are in Christ – “Knowing this” - there’s no premium on ignorance – “Knowing this” – number one “the old man is crucified.” The old man is crucified.
Now you say, “What is the old man?”
Let’s be real careful about it. Turn to Ephesians 4:22, and I’ll show you what the old man is. Ephesians 4:22, he says this – well, verse 21 - “You heard the truth, the truth in Jesus” – verse 22 – “that, in reference to your former manner of life” – your former manner of life – “you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” These are very distinct terms. The old self is one thing: the former manner of life – corrupt, full of lust and deceit. The new self: in the likeness of God, created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
I don’t want to get into the technicalities of the language here, but the original Greek would read, “So that you have put off according to the former manner of life the old man.” It’s really a statement that you’ve done it, “Your old man you have laid aside.”
Then back to Colossians 3:9. Colossians 3:9. I mentioned it to you a moment ago, “Don’t lie” – why? – “since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self” or the new man.
Now, let’s go back to Romans 6:6, “Knowing this, our old self was crucified.” It’s dead; I’m not who I used to be. I am not who I used to be. I am totally changed. The old man is dead. The old self is dead.
Now, when Paul uses the word “old,” he could have used a couple of Greek words. He could have used archaois from which we get archaic, archeology – old in time. But he didn’t; he used palaios, which means out of date, useless, old in the sense that it’s done, fit for the dump, garbage, useless. Now, that’s the old man – gone. The person you were before salvation is dead. The unregenerate is dead. And again I say, salvation is not just addition, it is total transformation. It is a death and a new life. That old Adamic, unregenerate nature is gone in a sense. There is a real breach. There is a complete disconnect with who you used to be. It is an already completed reality. It is not a process. There’s a process to it once it happens, but the actual happening itself is a miracle that occurs at salvation.
It would be silly to say that the old man has been crucified, the old self has died, but somehow it still lives. That would contradict the entire point that Paul is making. What you used to be, you are not anymore. The old man is the unregenerate man; the new man is the regenerate man created in Christ. The old man sinned incessantly in an unbroken pattern. The new man is characterized by righteousness and the pursuit of holiness.
And Paul’s point is that justification also includes sanctification, which causes a radical change so that – here’s a second fact, by to verse 6 – “that our body of sin might be done away with.” That’s a really strong word. The entity of sin has somehow been katargeō means to be destroyed. It’s used 27 times in the New Testament. Twenty-seven times. And its usage in Romans makes clear what Paul means. And I could take you on a little trip. I’ll spare you that, but Paul uses it a number of times in Romans. It doesn’t mean eradication; it means to deprive it of its strength, to make it of no effect.
So, what he is saying is the body of sin has been stripped of its strength. It has been stripped of its power. It has been stripped of its dominance. You can borrow a little bit from verse 14, “Sin shall not be master over you,” its dominion has been shattered. The best translation of that word here would be to deprive it of its controlling influence, its controlling power. That is to say the tyranny of sin is broken. Our old self is dead. We are a whole new creation. And though in that new creation, we’re still dealing with sin, and we’ll show why as we move through later. The power of sin has been broken. The dominance of sin has been broken. The tyranny of sin has been broken so that – back to verse 6 – “we should no longer be slaves to sin.” No longer douleuō, from which we get the word doulos, servant, slave.
Salvation has delivered us from slavery to sin, and this is a further part of Paul’s teaching when he comes down a little later in the chapter in verse 17 and says, “Thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed.” Backing up to verse 16, “You are slaves for obedience, resulting in righteousness.” Different altogether. Total transformation.
Do we sin? Yes. Must we sin? What’s the answer? No. Do we have to sin? No. Sin’s tyranny is broken. This is huge. No believer can come to the Lord and say, “I can’t help it. I’ve got these habits, I’ve got these patterns, I’ve got these things in our life. I can’t deal with temptation; I can’t break it. It just a habit; I can’t deal with it.” No. You have been recreated into a new person who is a slave to righteousness, and sin is an interruption into that slavery. And sin has no tyranny or dominion over you, for it has been shattered and broken in your union with Jesus Christ.
You say, “Well, why am I having so much trouble?”
Because you are not applying the means of grace. Verse 7, “He who has died is freed from sin.” He who died. The fact 6- not that we are dead to sin in some sense that we don’t feel temptation, but we have died to it as a historic fact, going back to our union with Christ in His death and His resurrection, and therefore we are freed from sin’s tyranny.
By the way, that word “freed” – dikaioō, the word “righteous” – we are made righteous, set free from the penalty of sin. So, Paul is unfolding our understanding of ourselves. Can a believer go on in sin, celebrating his sinfulness as if it’s something that releases the grace of God and brings Him glory? Absolutely not; that’s ridiculous. No believer can go on living in sin because we’ve died to sin. When did we die to sin? We were baptized into Christ. In our union with Him, we died to sin, and we were buried with Him in His death and resurrection brought us into new life. The old life is gone; the old man is dead. Sin’s control is shattered.
And then he says in verse 8, the death of Christ was a death to sin, “If we died with Christ, we believe we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.” And what he’s saying there is it happened. It only happened once; it’ll never happen again. It doesn’t need to be repeated.
The death of Jesus Christ did it. That’ll never be repeated; it doesn’t need to be repeated; that’s all it took. He died once for all, and He dies no more. And we died in Him, and we need no more. His death was a death for sin, and that’s it, and there is no more. We’re not looking for some second work of grace. We’re not looking for some second kind of experience. We’re not looking for something to catapult us into some other spiritual level. A lot of people, you know, call themselves Christians, live in some level of doldrums in the shallows, and they are looking for some kind of experience, some ecstatic experience, some vision, some gift of tongues or whatever it might be to launch them off into some stratospheric spiritual experience that somehow is going to take them where they haven’t been taken. That is a complete misunderstanding of Christianity. When you came to Christ for salvation, the process of sanctification began with your total transformation. You were immersed into Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection. You live in newness of life. It was once, and it’ll never be repeated, and that’s it. So, if you’re looking for something else, it isn’t there. It isn’t there. Christ provided all that we need.
So, in verse 11, we get some practical results of this - and they are very practical. What should be our response? First of all, in verse 11, “Even so, consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Verse 12, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you; you’re not under law but under grace.”
What should be our response? Well, let’s look at that verse 11. Just grab the first two words, “Even so...” – that’s like “therefore” – and that pushes you back. How do I respond to all of this? First thing, let’s go back to verse 3, “Do you not know...”; verse 6, “Knowing this...”; verse 9, “Knowing that Christ...” The first essential is to know the truth, is to know who you are? To know. “Even so” or “therefore” takes us back to prior ten verses and to all those truths that we now know. Knowledge is key here because it’s critical for us, in coming to God, to know. We have to know these truths before we can ever apply them and enjoy them.
Second thing, verse 11 – back to verse 11 – the next word “consider” – or reckon – logizomai. That really means to calculate or to affirm as true or to hold as a conviction, come to a settled conviction that this is true. Know it and reckon it to be true. The Latin fathers would say, “This is notitia” - to know – “and assensus,” to affirm. And thirdly, in verse 12 through 14, pick it up in verse 13, “Present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” The Latin fathers would say, “This is fiducia.” Notitia, assensus, fiducia, the components of a true faith. You know it, you affirm it, and you yield to it. You are not the person you used to be; you never will be. You are a new person, completely new. Know that, have a conviction about it, affirm it as true, and surrender to that newness.
Don’t let sin reign in your mortal body. It is a usurper. Don’t obey its lusts. Don’t go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness. You don’t need to do that. That’s not you; that’s not the truest you.
On the other hand, “Present yourselves to God” - why? – “because you are those alive from the dead.” Sin’s tyranny has been broken; give God your members as instruments of righteousness.
What do you mean “members?” Faculties, mental, physical, thought, reason, imagination, physical body. Anything and everything that you possess. Salvation does anything but legalize sin. Anything. It ends sin’s tyranny over us. And I suppose this leads us to some level of self-examination because we have to ask the question, “When I look at my life, what do I see?” If the tyranny of sin has obviously not been broken, if you are content to exploit what you imagine to be the grace of God and plunge into your sin, and then expect God’s grace to cover that and somehow God to get glory by that, that kind of antinomianism betrays you as one who has never been justified and never been transformed, sanctified.
But if you, as a believer, understand the battle and the struggle, but your desires and your aspirations an your longings are toward righteousness, and you see in your life a love for, and a commitment to, and a yielding and a surrender to that which is holy and righteous, then you know the transformation has taken place. How wonderful it is that as new creations we are no longer under sin’s dominance. We have died to sin, and we are alive to new life. On a daily basis, then, we yield to the power of that new life. Well, let’s pray, and more from Romans 6 next time.
Lord, we know that this is but to scratch the surface of these great and glorious truths. And no matter how deeply we study them or how frequently, we’re always going to come up with the fact that this is mystery to us that must be taken by faith. And yet it is our experience – it is our experience who know You and love You that we long to love You more, that we love Your word, that we are drawn to Your truth, that we hunger for holiness and righteousness, that we want desperately to draw near to You, not to run from You in fear and dread because there is new life in us, and we are not the people we used to be.
You have made us new. Not just declared us righteous, but You have made us righteous in the sense that You have transformed our inner person to love and pursue holiness. This is who we really are, and what a wondrous miracle it is when we think of who we were and who You’ve made us. We praise You and thank You, in Your Son’s name, amen.
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