Dead to Sin, Alive to God Part 2 – Romans 6:4-10
Pastor Mark Hardy July 29, 2012
The story is told of a city under siege where the enemy has surrounded the city and will not let anyone or anything leave. Supplies have run low and the citizens are fearful. But in the dark of the night, a spy snuck through enemy lines into the city to tell the people that in another place the main enemy force had been defeated and the leaders had already surrendered. Therefore, the people need to believe that and not be afraid. It is only a matter of time until the besieging troops receive the news and lay down their weapons.
In a similar way, we as Christians are also surrounded by the evil forces of sin, Satan, and death. However, the enemy has already been defeated by Jesus Christ at Calvary and things are really not the way they seem to be. It is only a matter of time until it becomes clear to all that the battle is over. But until then we are to believe what is already true, not be afraid, and live in light of that truth. This is what we will be looking at this morning. Turn in your Bible to Romans 6.
As we continue on in our study of Romans 6:1-14, Paul has given four requirements on how we as believers can turn our vital union with Christ into victorious living for Christ. Thus far, we have seen the first requirement: We are responsible to not abuse God’s grace. This morning we will be looking at the second requirement for victorious Christian living, which is this:
II. We must Know what Christ Accomplished for Us
A. Since we cannot live out what we do not know, to experience victory over sin in our daily lives we must also know three important truths about our union with Christ.
1. The first truth we must know is: We have died with Christ, which we saw last time in v. 3. Paul said, “…do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death.”
2. We saw that the fundamental premise of Paul’s entire argument in this chapter is that because of the historical fact that believers have already died with Christ in their union with Him they have died to sin.
3. Now the second truth we must know is: We were buried with Christ. Look at v. 4: Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death… (Stop there)
4. The word “Therefore” shows that Paul is drawing a conclusion from the believer’s union with Christ Jesus and His death through baptism that we saw in v. 3. By being baptized into Christ and His death we were also buried with Him.
5. Remember how Paul uses the metaphor of water baptism to signify Spirit baptism here, whereby at conversion the Holy Spirit spiritually immerses or places a believer “into Christ Jesus” and unites him to Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.
6. But Paul’s concern here is not baptism, for he never mentions it again in Romans after v. 4. It is our union with Christ’s death that he is emphasizing and burial only confirms the reality and finality of death.
7. C.E.B. Cranfield accurately states, “By stating that we have been buried with Christ Paul expresses in the most decisive and emphatic way the truth of our having died with Christ; for burial is the seal set to the fact of death—it is when a man’s relatives and friends leave his body in a grave and return home without him that the fact that he no longer shares their life is exposed with inescapable conclusiveness.” (pg. 304)
8. Notice again that Paul says, “…we have been buried with Him.” Like our death with Christ, this too is a completed historical fact that God has already done at the cross of Christ (aorist passive indicative) and is applied to us as believers at the moment of our salvation.
9. But the facts of our spiritual death and burial with Christ are only preparatory to get to Paul’s main point at the end of v. 4. This brings us to the third truth we must know, which is: We were raised with Christ.
10. Look at the last part of v. 4, “…so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” (Eph. 2:6; Col. 2:12)
11. Once again the word “raised” (egerthe) is a completed historical fact by God (aorist passive indicative). It’s a done deal!
12. The fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is throughout the New Testament (4:24; 6:9; 7:4; 8:11, 34; 10:9; 1 Cor. 15; 2 Tim. 2:8). And notice that Jesus was raised from the dead “through the glory of the Father.”
13. The word “glory” (doxa) refers to the sum of all God’s perfections, but in this context it refers to the majestic power of God that accomplished Christ’s resurrection (1 Cor. 6:14; 2 Cor. 13:4; Col. 2:12).
14. By our union with Jesus Christ in His death and burial we also partook of His resurrection. And Jesus’ resurrection was not like Lazarus,’ who later died again, but was to a new form of life altogether.
15. Look at the end of v. 4 where we see God’s intention for our union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection is “…so we too might walk in newness of life. This is Paul’s whole point!
16. The word “walk” (peripatesomen) here refers to our manner of life or our entire lifestyle. And “newness of life” can be taken as new life; newness, that is, life; or newness that leads to life. It is probably all of them.
17. Paul is driving home the point that as believers who are spiritually united with all that Jesus Christ has done on our account, we are called to live like resurrected people with a new moral quality of life. Just as sin habitually characterized our old life before Christ, so righteousness is to habitually characterize our new life after Christ (vv. 16, 18-19, 22).
18. Remember that Paul is addressing the appalling question we saw last time in v. 1, “Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?” He answered in v. 2, “May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?”
19. And he spends the rest of vv. 3-14 showing why we as true believers are to live different lives. Because in Christ we are truly dead to sin and alive to God.
B. Now Paul goes on to confirm what he just said about the believer’s union with Christ in His death and resurrection. Look at v. 5: For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.
1. The word “if” here in vv. 5, and also in v. 8, are in the first class condition in the Greek, meaning “if and it’s true” or “since.” So he says, “Since we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death…” (Stop there)
2. This is essentially what he said in the first part of v. 4. We were permanently united with Christ in His death, however, our death is only in the “likeness” (omoiomati) of His death,” which means similar to His but not identical.
3. Whereas Christ’s death was a literal, physical death on the cross, our death with Him though real is only a spiritual death to sin. And again, Christ death was not the end; it only led to the His resurrection.
4. Look at the second part of v. 5 where Paul states, “…certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.” This is essentially what he said in the second part of v. 4.
5. Our resurrection is only in the “likeness” of His resurrection, which also means similar to His but not identical. His was a literal bodily resurrection from the dead, but ours is a spiritual resurrection to newness of life right now, but one day our will also be a bodily resurrected from the dead when we receive our glorified bodies.
6. Paul then repeats and expands in vv. 6-7 what he has already said about our death with Christ in vv. 4a and 5a.
C. Look at v. 6: knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.
1. The word “knowing” (ginoskontes) means “to come to the knowledge of, and to understand.” By saying “knowing this” Paul is appealing to what should be common knowledge among believers.
2. And that knowledge is this, “…that our old self was crucified with Christ.” The word “our” (plural) here indicates that what is said about the old self is said to all those who are in Christ.
3. Thomas Schreiner rightly states, “It refers to the corporate structure to which believers belonged. It is a mistake, therefore, to understand what Paul says solely in individual terms. Neither is it correct to eliminate the individual altogether.” (pg. 315)
4. Now what is our “old self?” First of all, let me say what is it not?
5. The “old self” is not the “old nature,” just as the “new self” is not the “new nature.” The terms “old nature” and “new nature” are not biblical terms, they are theological terms, and we will talk about those later in our study.
6. Our “old self” refers to who we were in Adam before our conversion, as described in chapter 5. It is the person of the old era or age dominated by the power of sin and death who is apart from divine redemption and the new life it brings.
7. It is in stark contrast to the “new self” (Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:9-10), which is who we are in Christ after our conversion.
8. Douglas Moo describes it like this, “Behind the contrast between the old self and the new self is the contrast between Adam and Christ…Those, then, who are “in Adam” belong to and exist as “the old self;” those who are “in Christ” belong to and exist as “the new self.” In other words, these phrases denote the solidarity of people with the “heads” of the two contrasting ages of salvation history….The believer has been transferred from the old age of sin and death to the new age of righteousness and life.” (pg. 374)
9. Therefore, for believers “our old self was crucified with Him.” The word “crucified” (sunestaurothe) means to be put to death, killed, and destroyed, which is also a completed historical fact by God (aorist passive indicative) that took place at the cross of Calvary.
10. As a believer you have already been crucified with Christ, which is just another way of saying that you have been united with Him in His death. You are not the same you were before salvation, but are a new creature in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).
11. This is why Paul proclaimed in the first part of Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…”
12. Now notice the two purposes of our co-crucifixion with Christ. The first purpose is, “…in order that the body of sin might be done away with…” (Stop there)
13. What is the “body of sin?” The physical body is not sinful in itself, but merely a neutral instrument or tool that can be controlled by sin or by God.
14. Therefore, the “body of sin” is probably best seen as our physical body being controlled or ruled by sin that originates in our hearts. So the first purpose in crucifying our old self is that the sinful use of our physical bodies will be “done away with.”
15. This one Greek word (katargethe) means “to render powerless, inoperative, ineffective, impotent, and put out of business.”
16. The second purpose in crucifying our old self is seen at the end of v. 6, “…so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.”
17. Before our salvation we as believers, like everyone else, were under sin’s reign and were voluntary “slaves to sin.” But no longer, for Jesus Christ has delivered us!
18. Now does this mean that believer never sin? Absolutely not, as we saw last time.
19. We as believer not only sin (1 Jn. 1:8, 10), but we can even become enslaved or addicted to sin when we repeatedly yield to it. But true believers are no longer “slaves to sin,” in that, we cannot live habitually and characteristically live in an unbroken pattern of sin.
D. Paul explains the reason why we are no longer slaves to sin in v. 7: for he who has died is freed from sin.
1. The word “freed” (dedikaiotai) means “to be acquitted.” Paul returns to the great theme of justification, which we saw in 3:21-5:21, but now he expresses it in a sanctification setting.
2. The true believer who has died with Christ is set free and acquitted by God not only from the penalty of sin, but also from the power of sin. No longer does the controlling power of sin have a claim on our lives.
3. Why? Because death always severs the enslaving grip of sin on a believer’s life. We as believers right now have a new relationship to sin.
4. Therefore, since we are truly liberated from sin by our union with Christ in His death we are to live out in our daily practice who we already are in our divine position. We must choose to stop dragging around the chains of enslavement to sin
5. Paul now reiterates and elaborates in vv. 8-10 what he has already said about our life with Christ in vv. 4b and 5b.
E. Look at v. 8: Now if (or “since) we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.
1. Here we see that on the basis of the completed historical fact (aorist indicative) that we have already “died with Christ,” we are to “…believe that we shall also live with Him.”
2. The word “believe” (pisteuomen) here is in the present tense, meaning that we are to be continually believing. Faith is the key to our spiritual growth.
3. All of our Christian life is a walk of faith. As important as it is to know the truth because we cannot live out what we do not know, just knowing the truth is not enough if we don’t believe it and act on it.
4. In 2 Corinthians 5:7 we read, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
5. Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
6. And James 1:22 states, “but prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hears who delude themselves.”
7. Here we see the truth that because of our union with Christ in His death we certainly “shall also live with Him.” The future tense applies from the standpoint of the death we died with Christ.
8. It refers to not only the continuing reality of our new life in Christ here and now, but also our life to come in heaven that will last throughout eternity. It is God who establishes and maintains our life with Christ, and we will see how He does this when we get to chapter 8.
F. Paul then provides the reason why believers are guaranteed to live together with Christ in v. 9: knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.
1. Once again we see that our Christian faith is grounded on a knowledge and understanding of the truths of God’s Word. And the truth here is that “…Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again.”
2. Unlike the resurrection of Lazarus who later died again, Christ’s resurrection was a decisive and final break with death and all of its power, so that he never died again.
3. Why? Because in His death and literal bodily resurrection Jesus Christ defeated the power of sin and death! Beloved, we serve a risen Savior who is alive and rules and reigns today over the entire universe and in the hearts of His people.
4. Listen to what the risen and glorified Christ said to the apostle John who was exiled on the island of Patmos in Revelation 1:17-18, “…I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and Hades.”
5. This is why Paul proclaims, “…death no longer is master over Him.” In other words, death exercises absolutely no power or authority whatsoever over Him. Jesus is the One who holds “the keys of death and Hades.”
6. Therefore, it is Christ’s risen, eternal life that is the basis of our own assurance that we too like Him will one day be bodily resurrected and live forever (1 Cor. 15:23). Because we as believers are united with Him we share in His triumph over death (1 Cor. 15:55-57).
7. Jesus promised in John 8:51, “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.” In other words, obeying Jesus teaching and following Him results in eternal life, and physical death cannot extinguish this life.
8. John Murray states, “The irreversibility of Jesus’ resurrection is seen in the statement, “…death no longer is master over Him.” This implies that death did at one time rule over Him. Because He was vicariously identified with sin, he was likewise identified with the wages of sin which is death. And so he was subject to the power of death. The resurrection from the dead is the guarantee that he vanquished the power of death and this victory over death is an irrevocable finality. Death can never again lord it over him.” (pg. 223)
G. Look how Paul explains why the dominion of death has ended and Christ is alive forevermore in v. 10: For the death that he died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
1. Here we see that Jesus “died to sin.” We cannot truly understand His death to sin on our behalf apart from the Adam Theology we saw in 5:12-21.
2. Since death is the penalty of sin (Rom. 6:23), to break the mastery of sin is to break the mastery of death. But how did Jesus Christ die to sin?
3. He didn’t die for His own sin because He was sinless, unlike us. But in His identification with us as sinners, as our representative, the sinless last Adam willingly subjected Himself to the realm and power of sin and death by taking upon Himself all of the holy wrath of God against sin and paid in full as our Substitute the penalty for sin that we deserved, so that He might break sin’s dominion in our lives.
4. In 2 Corinthians 5:21 we read, “He (God the Father) made Him (God the Son) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
5. On the cross Jesus never became a sinner but remained as holy as ever. But God imputed to Him the sins of the world and treated Him as if He were guilty of all the sins ever committed, though He committed none.
6. In in taking all of our sins upon Himself, God imputes all of the righteousness of Christ to all those who will ever believe in Him and treats them as if they have never sinned. What a deal!
7. William Newell said it well, “Christ is made to be what we were, that we might become, in Him, what He is!” (pg. 221)
8. And notice that Jesus died to sin “once for all.” The phrase “once for all” is a technical term used repeatedly in the book of Hebrews to emphasize the finality of Christ’s saving work on the cross (Heb. 7:27; 9:12, 26, 28; 10:10, 12, 14; 1 Pet. 3:18).
9. Jesus Christ will never again come under the penalty and power of sin and death. And believers who are united with Him will never either! But that’s not all!
10. Now that sin and death have been defeated, Paul says, “…He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
11. In His risen life the Lord Jesus Christ is set free from the realm of sin and death to resume His face-to-face fellowship with God the Father and His preoccupation with the consummation of God’s eternal purpose.
12. Since we are united with Christ in His resurrection, we too will certainly live together with Him in resurrection power. Thomas Schreiner said it well, “They can be assured of this because by dying to sin Christ defeated both sin and death. His resurrection was the seal of His victory and the promise of future life for believers.” (pg. 321)
In closing, we must know what Christ accomplished for us if we are going to experience victory over sin in our daily lives. We must know the truths about our union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. These are all historical facts that we as believers participated in the moment we put our faith in Jesus Christ.
Jesus accomplished all of these things not only for our justification, but also for our sanctification. He has done for us what we could never do ourselves. May we live in the power of His resurrected life, so that we might live holy and loving Christlike lives to the glory of God.