Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ – Romans 6:1-23
What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For whoever has died is freed from sin. 8 But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.10 The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. 13 No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness.14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Slaves of Righteousness
15 What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, 18 and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.
20 When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life.23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
What does the Passage Say?
In the previous chapters, Paul asserts how the grace of God extends to all people. Emphasizing on how salvation and being chosen is a gift from God, instead of a result following the law. If he laid a foundation of explaining Prevenient Grace and Justifying Grace, he is shifting gears to explain the Sanctifying Grace.
V. 1-14 Paul raises a question about the continuance of sin after one is justified by grace. He is asking, “Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound?” (v. 1 NRSV) Instead, he says, since we are united in Christ, through the sacrifice on the cross, we need to consider ourselves dead on the cross. A new life is given, and he asks the followers to live worthy of that new life. The life we live by enjoying the freedom in Christ.
The Message says, “That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time – remember, you’ve been raised from the dead! – Into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God” (v. 12-14 The Message).
V. 15-23 Paul is using an analogy of being a slave. A life before justification is a life living as a slave under sin. With the changed identity, Paul is telling the believers that we should now be slaves of God. For us, who live in a world that talks about freedom and being independent, this is a foreign concept, however, Paul is saying that true freedom comes only by subjecting us to the reign of God.
The Message says, “But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way!” (v. 22-23 The Message).
What does this mean to us?
“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him” (v. 5-8 NRSV)
I believe this verse is one of the most important verses in the book of Romans. Paul answers the ongoing question for, maybe, every Christian. How can we be freed from sin?
We are released from the consequences of sin, but our lifestyle still seems to be caught in the influence of sin. Is natural since 1) we are mere humans and 2) the world is full of sin. However, Paul is introducing us to a new way of living. Proclaiming freedom from the bondage of sin, by subjecting ourselves to the reign of God. And this is a start of the journey of Sanctifying Grace, as we slowly recover the image of God in us. It requires the Holy Spirit to come and change us completely. However, our willingness to accept that Grace to enter into our lives is necessary.
Lord, we see our weakness of human flesh. We see how even though we are willing, many times we fail. Help us to recognize our bondage to sin and proclaim freedom, by wholeheartedly subjecting to you. In Christ Name, Amen.
What are your thoughts?
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