ROMANS:  DIVISION IV

HOLINESS AND SANCTIFICATION: THE WAY FOR THE BELIEVER TO BE FREE FROM SIN, 6:1-23

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A.  The Believer is Not to Continue in Sin (Part I): He is to Know His Position in Christ, 6:1-10

(6:1-10) Introduction— Holiness: the believer who is justified (whose faith is counted as righteousness, Romans 3:21-5:21) is to let his righteousness work holiness (Romans 6:19). The believer is to live a holy life and become a servant of righteousness. A genuinely saved person cannot abuse the mercy of God. He cannot walk in sin; he cannot make a habit of sinning. To do so is to tread upon the mercy of God and make a mockery of God's grace. It is to say that God's grace gives a person the license to sin, and such is a contradiction of terms—as much a contradiction as to say that a dead man is alive. (See note—Romans 6:14-15; note— Galatians 5:13.)

The way for a man to break the habit of sin is for him to know the glorious position he can have in Christ. One thing is certain: every believer should definitely know the position he holds in Christ. It will revolutionize his life.

Now for the point of the passage. The believer is to know his real position in Christ. Knowledge of his position will help keep him from sin. Note the word "know" is used three times (Romans 6:3, 6, 9).

1.  The believer and the question of license (v.1-2).

2.  Know 1st: by position, the believer is immersed, placed into Christ (v.3-5).

3.  Know 2nd: by position, the believer's old man was crucified with Christ (v.6-7).

4.  Know 3rd: by position, the believer lives with Christ—now and forever (v.8-10). 

 

1. (6:1-2) License— Grace vs. Law— Sin: the believer and the question of license. Note three points.

1.  Does the grace of God give a person a free reign to sin? Can a person just go ahead and do what he wants expecting God to forgive him? Grace means God's undeserved and unmerited favor. It means that God freely accepts and forgives a person's sins; that He freely justifies a person by faith. (See Deeper Study #1—Romans 4:22; Deeper Study #2—Romans 4:22; note—Romans 5:1 for more discussion.) Two things bother a lot of people about the teaching of salvation by grace and grace alone.

a.  Grace seems to give free reign to sin, to put no restraint upon sin. These are often the thoughts of the common man, even believers. There is the feeling that if we are forgiven by grace and not by law and doing good, then sin does not matter that much. We do not have to worry too much about the law of God and righteousness, just so we do a fair amount of good. We can pretty much do what we want, for God is going to forgive us anyway. God is gracious and loving and good; therefore, He is going to forgive our sins no matter what we do. Christ died for our sins. All we have to do is ask Him and He will forgive us.

b.  Grace seems to encourage sin. Paul had just said that grace is stronger than sin (Romans 5:15-21, esp. Romans 5:20-21). God's grace is so strong it can forgive any sin, no matter how terrible. In fact, the greater the sin, the more magnified God's grace becomes. When a great sinner is forgiven, God's grace is much more magnified than when a morally good person repents and is forgiven. As stated, the greater the sin or sinner, the more God's grace is magnified and glorified.

Now note: some theologians and philosophers, in particular those who stress the law, carry this argument even farther in their position against grace. No doubt Paul was asked this question time and again by the legalists who hounded and fought against him and just did not understand the wonderful grace of God. They argued that if forgiveness is by grace, then is sin not a good thing? Should we not continue in sin so that God will have more opportunity to prove His grace and become more magnified and glorified?

2.  Paul's answer is the answer of righteous indignation: "God forbid!" Away with such a thought! Far be it that we ever think such a thing, especially as believers.

3.  The believer's position in Christ shows the utter impossibility of a true believer continuing in sin. The word "continue" means to practice or to habitually yield to sin. A true believer no longer practices sin and no longer yields to sin. He cannot live without sin, not totally, but he no longer lives in sin. A true believer is dead to sin, and a dead man cannot do anything: he cannot think, speak, or move. How can a dead man live any longer in sin? It is utterly impossible! It is totally against nature! Positionally, the true believer has died to self and has been placed into Christ to live for Him. He now possesses the divine nature, God's very own nature (2 Peter 1:4). He is placed and positioned in Christ which means he is dead to self and alive to God. How can he dare think that he can go ahead and sin because God will forgive him anyway?

Note another fact: when a man turns to God, he turns away from sin. It is a contradiction to say that when a man turns to God he turns to more and more sin. God's grace does not bring a man to God so that he can be free to sin more; God's grace brings a man to God so that he can be free from sin and its guilt and judgment. Grace does not give license to sin any more than a dead man is able to move about and sin. (See note, LicenseRomans 6:14-15 for more discussion.)

2. (6:3-5) Jesus Christ, Death— Believer, Position in Christ: first, the believer has been immersed or placed into Jesus Christ. This is the first thing the believer should know about his position in Christ. This is one of the most glorious truths in all of Scripture, yet so much controversy has raged over what is meant by baptism that the glorious meaning has often been bypassed. The meaning of baptism is discussed in another note. In the present note the glorious truth of these verses is being concentrated upon. Christians everywhere agree that baptism is a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When a true believer is immersed, he is proclaiming to the world that he is being identified with Christ:

⇒  by being placed under the water, he is proclaiming that he has died and been buried with Christ.

⇒  by being raised up from the water, he is proclaiming that he has been raised from the dead with Christ to live a new life.

Now note three glorious points.

1.  The believer is immersed, placed into, or identified with Christ in death. This is the believer's position in Christ. Very simply, if the believer really died when Christ died, then he has died to sin and is freed from sin and its penalty and punishment. What a glorious gift from God! What a glorious position to receive from God's wonderful grace!

What happens is this. When a person really believes in Christ, then God takes that person's faith and counts it as the death of Christ. That is, God counts the person as having died in Christ. God takes the person's faith (and baptism as stated in this passage) and counts the person as participating in Christ's death. God counts and considers the person...

•  to have died in Christ's death.

•  to be placed into Christ's death.

•  to be identified with Christ's death.

•  to be a partaker of Christ' death.

•  to be in union with Christ's death.

•  to be bound with Christ in death.

When a person truly honors God's Son by trusting Him, God honors that person by spiritually placing him into the death of Christ. What is it that causes God to do so much for the believer? Very simply, His love for His Son. God loves His Son so much that He will do anything for anyone who honors His Son by believing and trusting Him.

Now note the point: if the believer is counted by God as having been immersed into the death of Christ, then the believer...

•  has died to sin

•  has died to the penalty of sin

•  has died to the judgment of sin

•  is freed from sin

•  is freed from the penalty of sin

•  is freed from the judgment of sin

This means that the rule and reign and the habits and desires of sin no longer have control over us. Sin ceases to have a place or a position in our lives. We are free from sin, free from...

•  sin's habits

•  sin's control

•  sin's bondage

•  sin's enslavement

•  sin's rule and reign

•  sin's guilt

It means that we no longer live "in" sin, in the position and place of sin. We cannot live without sin, not perfectly, but we are free from living "in" sin. We no longer practice and desire sin. We desire and practice righteousness, seeking to please God in all that we do. And as glorious as this is, it means that we are freed from the condemnation of sin, the terrible punishment that shall be measured out in the awful day of judgment.

This is the believer's position in Christ. He is immersed, buried, placed into, and identified with Christ in death. And having died, the believer never has to be under the rule and reign of sin and its judgment again. He is a partaker of Christ's death, bound and united to Christ in death; therefore, he is dead to sin and all its effects.

However, note a critical point. A true believer is a person who really believes. This simply means he repents, confesses, obeys, and is baptized. It is this person whom God credits as having died in Christ. This is the glorious position of the true believer.

"Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?" (Romans 6:3).

"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin" (Romans 6:6).

"For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:13).

"For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh" (2 Cor. 4:11).

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).

"For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Galatians 3:27).

2.  The believer is immersed, placed into, or identified with Christ in His resurrection. The same picture of baptism is used again to strike home this glorious truth. God counts the true baptized believer as having been raised in Christ. God takes the believer's faith (and baptism as stated in this passage) and counts the person as participating in Christ's resurrection. He counts and considers the person...

•  to be raised in Christ's resurrection.

•  to be placed into Christ's resurrection.

•  to be identified with Christ's resurrection.

•  to be a partaker of Christ's resurrection.

•  to be in union with Christ's resurrection.

•  to be bound with Christ in His resurrection.

Note two significant points.

a.  Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father. This tells how our glorious position in Christ happened. It happened by the glory and the power of God. The "glory" (doxa PWS: 1705) of God means all the excellence of God; all that He is in His might and power, love and grace, compassion and mercy. It means all His attributes: His omnipotence (all power), omniscience (all knowing), omnipresence (being everywhere), and sovereignty. In this particular passage it refers primarily to His glorious power. It was the glory of His might and power that raised up Jesus from the dead, and it is by the glory of His might and power that he places and positions us in Christ.

"And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power" (1 Cor. 6:14).

"For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God" (2 Cor. 13:4).

b.  God's purpose for raising us up with Christ is dynamic and meaningful. It involves walking in a whole new life. The word "walk" (peripateō PWS: 4246) means to walk about, to walk step by step, to control and order our behavior, to constantly and habitually walk in "newness of life."

Think about it for a moment. When Christ died, he laid aside His old life and left it behind Him. Therefore, when He arose, He took on a totally new life, a changed life, a resurrected life. It is His new life, His changed and resurrected life that is given to us. In the Bible the word "new" often carries the idea of purity, righteousness, holiness, godliness. The believer...

•  receives a "new birth" (1 Peter 1:23; 1 Peter 2:2).

•  receives a "new heart" (Ezekiel 11:19; Ezekiel 18:31).

•  becomes a "new creature" (2 Cor. 5:17; Galatians 6:15).

•  becomes a "new man" (Ephes. 4:24; Col. 3:10).

God's very purpose for placing us in the resurrected life of Jesus Christ is that we might walk in Christ, walk soberly, righteously and godly in this present world. The true believer puts off the old man of sin and puts on the new man of righteousness and godliness. He lives a pure, clean, and holy life.

"Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead" (Col. 2:12).

"[That you may know] what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places" (Ephes. 1:19-20).

"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16).

"I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called" (Ephes. 4:1).

"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him" (Col. 2:6).

3.  The believer is immersed, placed into, or identified with the most glorious hope: that he shall be planted (immersed) in the very likeness of Jesus' resurrection. This simply means that...

•  as Jesus was raised to a new life, so shall the believer be.

"Even when we were dead in sins, [God] hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephes. 2:5-6).

"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God" (Col. 3:1).

•  as Jesus was raised to live with God, so shall the believer be.

"In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:2-3).

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thes. 4:16-17).

"It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him [identified with His death], we shall also live with him" (2 Tim. 2:11).

(See Deeper Study #1, Believer, Position In Christ—Romans 8:1 for more discussion.)

DEEPER STUDY #1  (6:3-5) Baptism

3. (6:6-7) Old Man— Body of Sin— Believer, Crucified with Christ: second, the believer's old man was crucified with Christ. This is the second thing the believer should know about his position in Christ. The Greek definitely uses the past tense: "Our old man was crucified with Christ." It was a once-for-all act that Christ Himself effected. He took our "old man" to the cross with Him when He died. The "old man" means...

•  our old self

•  our old life

•  our sinful self

•  our sinful life

•  our corrupt nature

•  our depraved nature

•  our unregenerate nature

•  our sinful nature

Our "old man" means our old life without God, the old sinful life that is immersed or identified with Christ in death. Now note three points.

1.  The old man was crucified so that "the body of sin" might be destroyed. The "body of sin" is not plural (sins) but singular (sin). Sin is seen as a body, a whole package. The human body is seen as the seat of sin and as the instrument of sin. It is seen as containing and embodying and packaging all sin within itself. The idea is that all sin within a believer is destroyed, conquered, forgiven, and crucified with Christ. The believer is freed from sin. He starts anew, and he stays clean and free from sin by walking in constant confession and fellowship before God. (1 John 1:9).

"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me" (Luke 9:23).

"Knowing this, that our old man is [was] crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin" (Romans 6:6).

"As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter" (Romans 8:36).

"For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh" (2 Cor. 4:11).

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).

"It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him [identified with His death], we shall also live with him" (2 Tim. 2:11).

2.  The old man was crucified to enable and to empower the believer to renounce sin. The believer is not to serve sin; he is to renounce it, knowing that it has been crucified and put to death in Christ. By the power of the cross, sin is not to be served; it is...

•  to be renounced

•  to be refused

•  to be repudiated

•  to be rejected

•  to be denied

•  to be conquered

"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin" (Romans 6:6).

"Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:11).

"And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts" (Galatians 5:24).

"For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God....Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry" (Col. 3:3, 5).

"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed" (1 Peter 2:24).

"Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God" (1 Peter 4:1-2).

3.  The clearest of all illustrations is given to show the believer's position in Christ. He is not to serve sin because he is dead; he has been crucified with Christ. And a dead man is freed from sin. When we believe that Jesus died for our sins, our belief is counted as righteousness; our belief makes us acceptable to God once for all. And it does something else just as wonderful: it gives us constant access into God's presence as we walk about day by day. This means that as we pick up the pollutions of this world and fail here and there, we can constantly come before God and ask forgiveness; and when we ask, He forgives. This is the way we are freed from sin: by constantly walking in open confession before God, praying all day long for His forgiveness. And just as He promises, He always forgives us (1 John 1:9). Why does he do such a glorious thing as freeing us from sin eternally?

⇒  Because we honor His Son by trusting Christ's death to free us from sin.

⇒  Because He loves His Son and will honor any man who so trusts His Son. He will honor the man by doing exactly what the man believes. If the man honors Christ by believing that he is freed from sin by the death of Christ, then God counts the man as being freed from sin.

"In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace" (Ephes. 1:7).

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:1-2).

"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord [by faith], so walk ye in him" (Col. 2:6).

"The just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17).

This is the glorious position of the believer in Christ: his old man "was crucified" with Christ in order to free him from sin. Note the most glorious and striking truth: it is all through the death of Christ. Our salvation is through the death of God's dear Son.

  

4. (6:8-10) Believer, Position in Christ— Hope— Jesus Christ, Resurrection: third, the believer shall live with Christ both now and forever. This is the third thing the believer should know about his position in Christ. We know and possess absolute assurance and confidence that "we shall...live with Christ." The idea is that we shall live eternally with Him. What gives us such belief and absolute assurance?

1.  Christ has conquered death—once-for-all. Think about it. Christ has already died. Now we are to know...

•  "that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more."

•  "that death hath no more dominion over Him."

•  that He is freed from death.

"But [God's purpose and grace] is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" (2 Tim. 1:10).

"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Hebrews 2:14-15).

"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit" (1 Peter 3:18).

2.  Christ now lives forever to God. We are to know...

•  that Christ died unto sin once.

•  that Christ now lives in the presence of God forever.

•  that Christ lives unto God; that is, He lives in an unbroken devotion and service to God.

The believer is to live to God through all eternity, beginning right now, from the moment of his conversion. Death has no more dominion over him. He is immersed or placed into the resurrected life of Christ. He is an eternal person now; therefore, he is to live to God beginning right now, even as he will live unto God through all eternity.

"I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father" (John 16:28).

"And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are" (John 17:11).

"So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God" (Mark 16:19).

"Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God" (Luke 22:69).

"Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places" (Ephes. 1:20).

"And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name" (Phil. 2:8-9).

"But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God" (Hebrews 10:12).

Thought 1. This, of course, means that we too shall be living on and on in an unbroken devotion and service to God—forever.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24).

"Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24).

"For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again" (2 Cor. 5:14-15).

DEEPER STUDY #2  (6:3-5) Baptism