Monday, January 24, 2011

Consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God

Rom. 6:1-11 NLT
  1 Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. 
   5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. 6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. 8 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. 9 We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. 10 When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. 11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. 

We were discussing Paul's message to Roman Christians about grace. In 5:21 he pointed out how 'God's wonderful grace rules instead' of sin and sinning, and this grace gives us all 'right standing' with God.  In Chapter 6 Paul poses the rhetorical question as to whether this means we should just go ahead and embrace our sin and sinning-ness.  You see, there were a  cult of people claiming to be Christians called Gnostics who said just that. Yet, the Apostles were clear that God's unconditional love, His limitless grace did not mean that you and I have an endless license to sin. In fact, where the grace of God takes hold in the believer, the Holy Spirit resides. And, where The Spirit resides, the power of sin, itself, is broken. So we will not continue sinning because we have been granted the power to say a resounding "NO!" to sin in our lives and to turn away from it. In fact, the way Paul put it in 6:2, "we have died to sin." Dead people do not sin, do not succumb to pressures, do not desire self fulfillment. So, by Paul's illustration, when we are filled with The Holy Spirit our relationship to the pull of sin is similar to that of a dead body's relationship to the pull of desire. The link is broken.   To hear Paul tell it, we died and are buried together with Christ in that tomb. And then, when Christ arose from death, we arose as well. We are identified with Jesus Christ in His baptism, in His death, In His resurrection, and in His eternal reign over the Universe.

The reason for the Crucifixion was not to punish Christ but so that our old sinful nature will be crucified through our full association with the Lord (6:6). In 6:7 Paul restates the thesis earlier presented, that we are "set free from the power of sin." That's pretty amazing to me, how about you? Then he restates the premise from vs 5 in verses 7-8-- we are eternally alive together with Jesus Christ.

Do you consider yourself alive to God today and dead to sin? Would you like to be dead to sin? Why not just ask the Lord to fulfill this promise in your live right now? What have you got to lose?

Your servant in Christ's love

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