Romans 6 Alive In Christ

God’s grace is the most wonderful and astonishing thing in the world. God’s grace is great enough to find forgiveness for every sin, no matter how great or small. God’s grace is sufficient for our needs.

Paul voices a question that many have had to God’s grace.

What then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?  Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (Romans 6:1-3)

Paul’s insistence that the increase of sin is met by the increase of grace leads to the question he now raises. So great was his emphasis on the freeness of God’s grace in the face of sin, that he was accused of ignoring the ethical requirements of the law. Now he makes the point that to continue in sin would involve a contradiction of the Christian’s new identity in Christ. In view of this new identity, Christians are to refuse to allow sin to seize authority in their lives; instead, we are to yield our whole life to God in the assurance since we are under grace, not law, as the means of our salvation, sin is no longer our master.

Paul’s point: believers have been united with Jesus Christ in both His death and His resurrection, and that this has so altered our condition that for us to continue sinning as before is not only inappropriate, but also actually impossible. We are unable to live as we once did, because we have glimpsed God’s love and grace in Jesus Christ and nothing will ever be the same. We now live towards our new life in Christ. This does not mean that we are perfect or will not suffer, but that we now have assurance that we are saved and are being saved. There is truth in the statement that Christians are not prefect but forgiven. Yet, this is not an ending but a new beginning. Now that we are forgiven, we are meant to live fully sharing the same grace that has been lavished on us to others. Our salvation is not about our personal redemption but about living as God’s people in the world.

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. 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—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.  (Romans 6:5-7)

Our old life nailed to the cross with Christ puts an end to that old life. No longer is sin our master. If we get included in Christ’s death, we also get included in his resurrection. If we suffered in sin, now through the work of Jesus on the cross, we are made new, our old life is gone and the new has come. We are made alive in Christ.

Our old life includes our entire life, all the wrongs sins that we did everything that was not aligned with the kind of life that God intends us to live. All of this nailed to the cross of Christ is overcome in the life and resurrection of Jesus. Union with Christ in His death does not destroy life, but it heals and redeems the life we are living by destroying the power of sin. Christians’ are now dedicated to Christ and bear fruit in His service. We are no longer prisoners to sin since life dominated by the cravings of sin has given way to life dominated by a passion for righteousness and holiness.

If we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:8-11)

The resurrection of Jesus signals the end of death. Never again will death have the last word. Love will have the last word and the word after that. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. We don’t have to perfect ourselves, but can approach God as we are not in fear but in the assurance that God’s love will change us into what we were intended to be from the beginning. From now on, sin means nothing, sin is dead; God speaks to you in love. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did, does, and is doing.

“We will also live with him.” includes the idea of resurrection, but also implies present participation in the risen life of Christ as one who is “alive to God.” Our life should be formed around the amazing good news that God loves you in spite of yourself that God loves you as you are but way too much to leave you that way. God loves everyone. This is grace.

Recognize that what has been said here is already the truth about you in Christ.

Amen

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