By S.C. Shaw
This was taken from my manuscript for a sermon I gave in this.
Romans 6: Dead to Sin, Alive to God
2 Corinthians 5:21 “For our sake (amazing God would do this for us) he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (What a gift! Why oh Lord such love to me?)
1 John 1:5-6 “This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness (not stumble or mess up sometimes), we lie and do not practice (the contrast of walking in darkness and practicing the truth. Both actions. Both convey a lifestyle of sin or salvation) the truth.”
3 Ways to read this:
The topic in this blog is no small matter. We are talking about life and death. I want each of you to pick one of the 3 ways to read this.
- You are not a believer, or not sure if you are? I want you to listen with the fact that this pertains to you whether you like it or not. Begin to understand you aren’t simply a “good person” and everything will be fine as long as you don’t kill anyone. This is a life-giving, free gift we are talking about.
- You are a believer but you’re a baby spiritually. This whole topic sounds a little dark and scary. But You need to hear, listen and take to heart what is being said. These aren’t my words. This is the Bible. The word of God and it is real and serious stuff. We need to grow in our faith, and that starts with a real understating of our sin and forgiveness.
- You are a follower of Christ. You are striving for holiness. You want to be sanctified with the word of God and are excited to grow in your maturity in Christ. I want you to be encouraged and warned. Encouraged because of how free and blessed we are to be in Christ. But warned because you have a bigger responsibility because of the knowledge you possess. We will be held accountable for the wisdom we have been given and what we did with it? Also, these messages are meant to change your life outside of the church. Don’t come here to get wonderfully convicted and go home just to resume a regular life. Application is a must.
By nature, we are children of wrath, destined for hell. There is no good and no hope in us alone. Yet Christ saw our wretched condition and saved us. If you are a true Christian, He chose you. He has set us free from our hopelessness. We are fallen, from our first breath to our last. The only good we can possibly possess is in Christ. Now we live adopted heirs into a very rich house. Rich with hope, love, peace, righteousness, grace, mercy everlasting life and best of all, unlimited time with Christ in heaven. We justly deserve judgment, wrath, and hell. But he offers us the fold. A safe place, not only for today, but for eternity, not only in his presence but a whole family, both on earth and in heaven. The body of Christ we call the church, that will spend forever together with the splendor and glory of God.
Summary of Romans 3:9-20
Paul concludes all people are helpless slaves to sin & cannot be brought into relationship with God by anything they might do.
But, We can now battle sin with confidence knowing that Christ has set us free. God is now our Master, which our lives MUST reflect. (Repeat) Romans 6:15-23.
As we enter Romans 6, we dig into one of the greatest issues in the Christian life. One of the greatest issues in life, period. Because the only eternal life is the Christian life. Whether you call yourself a Christian or not, this is most important.
(John Piper) Every person who is descended from Adam needs to know what Romans 6 teaches.
Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness, leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
-We have been baptized into death…death to sin. We must die to sin before we can be made alive with Christ. (There’s no 3rd option. You CAN NOT walk in darkness and with Christ.) Walking in newness of life. The old self is brought to nothing. We are no longer enslaved to sin. No longer obeying your passions. We die to sin not just to die, and we live again not just to live, but the life we live we live to God. We live in Christ and Christ in us.
Sin can no longer dictate terms to us, sin has no power over us because we are under grace, not law, as we see in Romans 6:1-14.
God made us to be holy and sanctified. He made our bodies for righteousness. That’s freedom. We are freed from the chains of sin through Christ. Now we are happy slaves to righteousness.
–Happy slave…does that weird to anyone else? I know the first couple times I heard the “slave” reference I wasn’t a fan. Then as I pondered and began to understand what slave means, I was able to joyfully embrace this idea.
-Look at these definitions of “slave.”
Slave: A person who is the property of and fully subject to another. “Still sounds bad right? But think of it in context of slave to sin and a slave to righteousness”.
A person entirely under the domination of some influence or person. “Again, context”
A device that is directly responsive to another. Think of it as (Like a printer to a computer) The printer must do what the computer tells it to. That’s its job. That’s its only function.
-You are a slave to what you obey. Slave to sin? Or to righteousness? There’s no 3rd option.
Those of you who are saved. You have already presented yourself as slaves to impurity leading to more lawlessness. So now present yourself as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
Sanctification Is a great word that needs to be dwelt upon every day.
It’s instant and progressive, lifelong work of God & man that frees us from sin & makes us more like Christ.
As Dana taught a few cores ago the difference between the 2 sanctifications.
Positional: Once and for all. We are sanctified. We are accepted. That work is done.
Progressive: Continues till we die. It requires our effort & diligence.
We are called to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” Phil 2:12.
And “To strive for holiness” Heb 12:14.
Again 2 very strong links to an action that is a result of true followers of Christ. Effort and diligence, and strive for holiness.
Does either of those examples sound like a relaxed uncaring lifestyle? Or, I said a prayer once so I’m good. Nah!
Or does it sound like we have work to do? Not as to earn our salvation. It’s plain in text over and over again that we cannot and will not earn our salvation. But there is an obvious response and way of life that comes from a life changed by Christ.
Dead to Sin, Alive to God
(Commentary by Steven Shaw)
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? (Calling all Christians, stop living in sin, period. You have been set free from it. We stumble, yes, and will never be perfect until the end, but we do not live in sin.)
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (We too have died with Christ. But Christ also was raised and we have risen from our death of sin as well.)
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (We are a new creation and have been changed by the power of God. It is not possible to live as you once did if Christ is truly in you.)
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (If you truly have changed and die to yourself every day then you are his child and have assurance of eternal life.)
We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. (See the repeating theme? Died, brought to nothing. You were dead. Christ brought you to life. A dead person doesn’t live the same life as one who’s alive.)
For one who has died has been set free from sin. (So you were dead in whole. Jesus brought you to life and now you are only dead to sin.)
Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. (Assurance of eternal life. Not “if you are a good person, or moral person, or go to church or blah blah blah. But if you have died with Christ, meaning to sin, you will be raised with him.)
We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. (Christ is the eternal ruler. What he has done is once and for all.)
For the death he died, he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. (Christ didn’t die for death’s sake. He died to save his people from death.)
So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Just as we don’t die to sin for death’s sake. We are saved for a purpose. A purpose God has chosen for us since before the beginning of time.)
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. (Sin is our nature. We don’t have to be taught how to. It comes naturally. That’s why it’s so important for us to control it with the power that Christ has given us through the Holy Spirit.)
Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. (Use your whole being for the sake of Christ. There is not a fiber in you that wasn’t created to glorify God.)
For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. (We are not obeying rules by a religion. We have been transformed by Christ and our desires have changed. We don’t work for our salvation. We can do nothing to get it. Christ has paid the price for you and me. If we are not daily being washed by His word and completely enveloping ourselves in thoughts and prayers and meditations, we are lost and servants to ourselves. Therefore live as Christ has already declared you to be. You are…so live as you are. Saved by grace alone through faith alone by Christ alone.)
(Think of yourself like a reverse zombie. I’ve been watching “The Walking Dead” lately and I can’t help but think about the lifeless, mindless people who have no self-control and are a slave to themselves. That was us before Christ. But Christ comes to us and brings us to life. The life of the living is far different from the life of zombies. So are you dead or alive? Are you a slave to yourself or a happy slave to Christ? Are you a zombie or full of life?)
Do I have it all figured out? By no means! Do I continue to sin? Everyday. But me, us, those who call themselves followers of Christ, do not LIVE in that sin. We don’t sin and shrug our shoulders with no care. I sin and it tears me up. I sin and it humbles me to the core and reminds me just how wretched I still am and how much more I need to cling to the cross for dear life. Because I am never past the point of total dependence on Christ for daily sanctification. But we stumble, we fall, but we get up and continue this race. Continue the walk. Continue to cling. Striving for holiness with the power of God.
I only stand firm in my walk when I put Christ at the center each and every day. Prayer, reading scripture, thinking about and meditating on the things of God. It’s that serious. We take our eyes of Christ for 1 second and the sin reigns.
When you stumble you don’t sit in your shame. Don’t let the devil play that other card of guilt. That’s the freedom we have. Not the freedom to sin, but the freedom of death from sin. So keep on sinning?
God is a Just God and won’t let us rebel forever. You may think you’re getting away with sin right now, but judgment is coming. Will you be able to confidently stand before God through Christ and say “My only righteousness is Christ. I lived by the power of the Holy Spirit that Christ has given me. I in no way deserve life but I accepted the free gift that was given to me by Jesus sacrifice. Now I am made holy.”
Believers are commanded to become in practice what we are in Christ: dead to sin and alive to God. You are . . . so now become what you are.
We often try to hard to do all this by our own power. Always remember “we have no power”. Those of you who try and try again to do the right things know this. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit can we do anything good. So what does that mean? Be consumed by Christ every day. Just as we talked about earlier. You know how sin took over your life or possibly still does? How it’s on your mind constantly. How you strive to “blank”, fill in the gap.
But when you consume your mind with the things of Christ than living in sin isn’t even a possibility. Your heart is like God’s. You begin to see sin as He does. Your heart breaks for what breaks his. It is the most wonderful place to be. Walking in step with Him who knows no evil.
How do we do this? Read your bible. Read bible saturated books, surround yourself with Godly friends, give and serve. Be active in your local church. These aren’t options of what to do. All these are crucial, nay, a direct effect of a life consumed by God. A life that daily dies to what you want and longs for the things that God wants. There is no earning, but there is evidence.
(John Piper) We are justified by grace through faith alone because of our union with Christ whose righteousness is counted as ours. And now we see that this same union with Christ explains why we will not continue in sin. O how free and peaceful and joyful and radical we would be if we learned this together. To the glory of Christ: our righteousness.
Father God, you are good and perfect. If you did nothing for us, you would still be good and perfect. We have nothing to offer you. We have no power against you. We offer nothing but sin that needs forgiveness. Our lives, not consumed by you are worthless & wasted lives. Let us always keep in real clear focus on how “not great” we are. How without Your righteousness in us we are destined for hell. But instead of leaving us for dead. You saved us from ourselves. And not just brought back to life but You brought us back to yourself. You gave us a great inheritance. Let us always remember the sacrifice Jesus gave, and live as Christ has already declared us to be. For our good and your glory. Amen.
Please don’t let my word be the final word on this. Pick up the Bible, read Gospel-saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the Bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology”, read the 1689 London Baptist confession of faith and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.