Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Romans 6

    Romans 6 is where we now get into what's going on after our salvation. We've been justified, now what? What changes? How are we different now that we are redeemed and made children of God?

    So, now comes one of my favorite topics, grace. So, we've been reading all these wonderful passages about how my status with God is dependent on Christ, not my obedience to the Law. What then is the natural human response? If I don't have to obey Christ's commands for salvation, why would I? Why not use grace, as Galatians puts it, for license?

    No, Paul states throughout v. 1-7 that we, having been put to death with Christ to our old natures, we should rise, just as Jesus did, with a new body. A body that wants to glorify Jesus and obey Him, not one that's trying to slip by with whatever I can.

    Throughout the NT, baptism is always closely associated with salvation (almost always following directly after the repentance and belief of the individual). We who have been baptized and thus identify with Christ have died with Him. His death put our sin to death. How do we then rationalize that we would then instantly return back to our sin? Instead, we have been freed from sin.

    In v. 7, Paul gives an amazing statement that at first glance seems pretty commonplace. We all know we've been made free from sin. But I want you to think of that in light of the case which Paul has built up to this point with the Law. Paul has built a very strong case that man is completely lost, an utter slave to sin, and if we bring in Ephesians, dead in it. To reference, yesterday's chapter, we are helpless in sin. It's hard to find too many more despondent words to describe us in our lost condition. We were in bad shape!

    But Paul proclaims that those of us who have find life in Jesus by dying with Him (through Him; substitutional atonement) have been made free. Alive. Found. All these things that were our curse from Adam are now our gifts in Jesus Christ. We are free!

    But it doesn't end with our death with and in Christ. We now live with Him (v. 8-11). We are now alive to righteousness, in stark contrast to our prior deadness in sin (Eph. 2:1-2). And since we are now alive in Christ, it should not be consistent with our new natures to love sin. We should no longer have the same draw toward sin. We still will have some (addressed in greater detail in chapter 7), but not with the same love we had toward it before, because we are now alive in Christ! We now love what Christ loves and hate what He hates. He is alive through His Body, and we are His body!

    Since we have now been made free from sin by payment from Jesus, we are now legally His (v. 14-20). Now, we may not like that thought of ownership. But, we need to grasp just how small we are on the world stage. We're not God, and we're not Satan. We're not one of the two powerful beings who control every soul on this planet. We are owned by one or the other, either by God or the enemy of God. If we try to stand with neither, we automatically take our natural position since the Fall of service to Satan.

    As slaves to Jesus Christ, we are now to live our lives as all the nouns Paul has used to describe us. Sons. Ambassadors. Messengers. Slaves. All of these share one thing in common. Every one of these except son are there to make the father known and great. Three of the four I could think of off the top of my head are there to serve the Father, to make Him known and famous.

    But, what does the son do? Does not the son not only receive the love and affection of the Father which the other three don't get? Does he not also represent the father in a way the others never can? Even a son is a father's representative, a loved, cherished representative, but still a representative.

    Thus, as representatives of Christ, we cannot do whatever pleases us and remain free of guilt. Because we have been bought with a price, sin cannot reign over us. We must instead remain forever subservient to and in submission to Christ and under His grace.

    V. 21 tells us very plainly that our desire for sin is foolish. What do we gain by sin, besides instant and fleeting pleasure? Death! Exactly what Adam gained by his rebellion, we gain through our rebellion. Our sin leads to the just conclusion, death to the rebel. So, when we have been made sons by adoption, how can we continue to act in rebellion against our Father?

    V. 22-23 make the final statement in regard to our sin as Christians. Since we have been freed from our old slavery to sin, we are now slaves to Christ, slaves to righteousness! Grace is not ours to abuse, but to enjoy. Grace is not a gift to allow us to sin, but a gift to cover our sin and free us from our old natures. Grace to love us despite our unloveliness and give us the ability to love others.

    I'm going to close with a quote from The Cure, a book which made a massive impact on how I view the grace of God. Many times we view the grace of God as something that allows us to get away with more, that simply gives me a Get out of Jail Free Card. But the motivation of a heart made clean by Jesus' blood is not to get away with anything!

    "Look, Jesus says we really are new people, completely righteous. Jesus became sin so we might be righteous. Jesus didn't become theoretical sin. He became real sin, in every possible way that sin can be sin. And if the corollary holds, then we didn't become theoretical righteousness. We became real righteousness in every possible way that righteousness can be righteousness... Now we're free. But it isn't the freedom to get away with stuff, to give ourselves permission to have three glasses of wine instead of one. It isn't the freedom to care less or walk the tightrope of right and wrong without remorse. The motive of a righteous heart isn't to get away with anything. The motive of a righteous heart is to be loved and to love!"

    Grace isn't our free card to do whatever we want. It could be treated that way, if our new man wanted to. However, if we truly want desire Christ, we should want to be loved by Him and pleasing to Him, and to love like Him. That is the desire of our new man! We are now slaves of Christ, His representatives.


  1. Wow! I think this is my favorite post yet! This reminds me of Many things God has been showing/teaching me in past few years. Did I mention that this Is one of my favorite books?

    1. Good! I'm glad you liked it! And I'm glad to find someone else who loves Romans. I don't think you had ever mentioned that! :)