Romans 6 - April 27th
No Longer a Slave to Sin
Ephesians 2:1-3 says, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” The natural man, who has not been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and given new life, is dead in sins and transgressions. We were once slaves to sin, but not as Christians; we are dead to sin. Paul here brings up a similar question that he brought up in chapter 3, “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” He has just spoken at length about salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and the natural question that may arise is, “Since salvation is not by merit but by the free gift of grace, does this give us a free license to sin?’ Paul’s answer is clear and direct in verse 2, “by no means!” The reason he lays forth is this; if believers are truly united with Christ, then we are united in both his resurrection as well as his death. Just as Christ died, so too we died to sin, and just as Christ was raised, so too we were raised to new life. This is the doctrine of regeneration. This is the essence of what it means to be born again. Paul says 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.” Our old self could be thought of as our pre-conversion life; my Reformation Study Bible says this, “[the old self] should be interpreted in light of chapter 5 to mean all that we were through our union with Adam.” Before we can be raised to newness of life with Christ, we had to first be buried with him into death. Our old self was hung on that cross, and where we once had to follow the cruel slave master called sin, we now no longer have to heed its commands. And baptism is the outward sign of this inward truth. When a believer is baptized, they are immersed, which shows that they identify with the death of Christ, and when they come up out of the water, they show that they identify with his resurrection. If we’ve died to sin, then how can we possibly still live in it? As Christ has died for our sin, we have died to our sin. No longer to live in it.
Slaves of Righteousness
Now as Christians, because of the reality of what Jesus Christ has done for us on the cross, we are to “consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Where we once followed sin and presented our bodies as instruments for sin, we are now to pursue obedience to Christ and present our bodies as instruments of righteousness. Where we once followed sin, the wages of such sin was death; we now follow righteousness because we are now slaves to righteousness through the free gift of God, and our wage is eternal life! This is not to say that Christians never sin, but it is to say that the course of our life along with our affections, have radically changed. Though we as Christians are no longer enslaved to sin, we can most certainly still be ensnared and entangled by it. This is why Paul exhorts his audience to consider themselves dead to sin and to prohibit sin from trying to retake control and reign in their bodies. Though we are dead to sin, we must still resist its whispers and temptations. We as Christians must constantly remember the reality of what Christ has done for us and our new status. We are new creatures with a new master. Brothers and sisters, if we were only to embrace these truths when temptation comes our way, how bold and confident would we be in fighting it? We need not think that we are powerless to fight sin’s alluring call when the truth is that we have been freed from its fetters. When temptation knocks at the door demanding you to follow it, tell it that you are sin’s slave no longer. Tell it that you are a slave to another. Tell it you need not heed it any longer! What a glorious truth, saints!
I like what Pastor Garrett Kell has to say in his book “Pure in Heart” regarding this subject. A book that I am currently going through with many of the boys in our congregation. He says this:
“Imagine if a former employer called you next Saturday morning and said, ‘We need you to come in, make coffee, make copies, and deliver a few packages.’ You’d say, ‘No. I don’t work for you anymore.’ When sin says, ‘You deserve a break; enjoy the excitement of a quick internet search,’ you say, ‘No! You’re dead to me. I’m united with Christ, who promises satisfaction.’ When sin says, ‘You’re such a prude for not giving your boyfriend (or girlfriend) your body,’ you say, ‘No! My body belongs to God, as a living sacrifice. Help me, Jesus!’ You don’t have to do what you used to do, because you aren’t who you used to be.”