Monday, 15 October 2007

Come and Die

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: (Romans 6:1-5)

Dead to Sin: This is not a reference to the believer’s ongoing daily struggle with sin, but to a one-time event completed in the past. Because we are in Christ (Rom. 6:11; 8:1) and He died in our place (5:6-8), we are counted dead with Him. This is the fundamental premise of Romans chapter 6, and Paul spends the remainder of the chapter of the chapter explaining and supporting it.

Not Under the Law but Under Grace (6:14). This does not mean God has abrogated His moral law. The law is good, holy, and righteous; but it cannot be kept, so it curses. Since it cannot assist anyone to keep God’s moral standard (see Romans 7:7-11), it can only show the standard and thus rebuke and condemn those who fail to keep it. But the believer is no longer under the law as a condition of acceptance with God – an impossible condition to meet and one designed only to show man of his sinfulness – but under grace, which enables him to truly fulfill the law’s righteous requirements.

Romans 6:1 – Shall we continue in sin….. Paul rightly anticipated that skeptics might reason, “If salvation is based entirely upon grace, won’t this encourage them to sin even more?” Certainly not! (v. 2) - this literally means, “may it never be….., by no means). This is a strong repudiation in the original Greek.

Romans 6:3-4 - baptized into Christ Jesus. This is not necessarily a literal water baptism, but a metaphorical immersion of person into the work of Christ – that is, completely united and identified with Him, “so as to alter a person’s condition or relationship to his or her previous environment condition” (according to Weust). In the same way that we were united with Christ in His death and burial, so too is His resurrection; this speaks of regeneration – a new creation!

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