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Romans 6:1-23

Updated: Apr 13, 2022

Romans 6:1-23 a short commentary

Romans 6:1-23 a short commentary

Dead to sin, Alive to Christ

Last time in Chapter 5 we saw that when a person believes in Jesus Christ, God declares them to be legally in right standing with Himself thus bringing peace into their relationship with Him. We can thank the Lord today that we are at peace with Him through faith in Jesus Christ. God is able to work through all the sufferings in our lives to produces perseverance which develops character which in turn produces hope. Biblically speaking hope is not ‘maybe it will happen, maybe it won’t happen’ but is rather a case of, what God has said or promised is absolutely certain to happen. This biblical hope in turn increases our faith and the whole cycle is driven by the love of Christ which is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. This is how the fruit of the Spirit is produced.

Paul marvelled at the depth and quality of God’s love as showed in His willingness to give His Son’s life for the spiritually dead and totally hopeless mankind. Chapter 5 is one of the big love passages in the bible right up there with 1 Corinthians 13. Paul then explained the parallel that as death came into the world through one man (Adam) so through the one man Jesus Christ did eternal life come into the world. This eternal life begins the minute a person believes in the wonderful sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cruel cross of Calvary. Sin is no longer our daddy, Abba Father is now our Daddy. In the whole bible Romans chapters 6-8 probably provide the most detailed teaching on how to walk in victory in the Christian life.

6:1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

Paul poses the question, so if this salvation is all about faith then does it matter how we live in terms of our morality and obedience to God? Can’t we just keep sinning and take the grace of God for granted? This would be a serious heresy (Antinomianism) and was practised by Rasputin the Russian monk. Surely after all that God has done for us transforming us from His enemies to His friends that we ought to live holy or set apart lives? The French have a saying ‘noblesse oblige’ which means that people of high status should act accordingly. We have been born again for such a time as this and are joint heirs with Jesus Christ, we are kings and priests, part of holy nation surely we should live a suitable life in obedience and separation to God? Are we doing that today? As the Holy Spirit is pouring the love of God into our hearts surely we should be getting sanctified progressively.

3 Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

By baptism our personal relationship with God is brought into the death of Christ. This removes guilt from us and empowers us to fight against sin in our lives. As that majestic power of God the Father raised Jesus Christ from the dead, so will that very same majestic power of God begin to transform each one of us believers into a new life of victory over sin.

5 If we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Because we are reckoned to have died with Christ we can also be resurrected with Him into a wonderful new life of victory in Him and with Him. When we walk in the Spirit we are living in the revelation of this new life and are able to receive the power of the Holy Spirit . Who is your Daddy, Sin or God? Remember which family you are in and act accordingly. We must not wallow in the sins of the old self life thinking that grace will increase. This is what Bonhoeffer called ‘cheap grace’. This is clearly against the purpose of our new life. The old man of the flesh has been crucified with Christ but we need to keep him crucified at all times! As Galatians 2:20 says I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

V6 the ‘body of sin’ means our ‘old self’. The regeneration of our spirits means that we should no longer delight in sin which means we should never be at home or comfortable with sin in our own lives. Who is your Daddy? V7 A dead body can’t be tempted by delicious food, drugs , alcohol or an attractive person of the opposite sex. So if we are really dead with and in Christ, we should consider our old man dead to the various temptations around us. Picture a corpse being tempted!

8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. As a result of Christ’s death for us our old man dies and we are spiritually alive and in fellowship with Him. This has been made possible because after death Jesus Christ has been resurrected to an indestructible and everlasting life. Death could not hold the Holy Sinless Son of God, Hallelujah. Death could not be His daddy nor exercise lordship over Him. Jesus Christ is your new boss; your old masters of sin and death are completely defeated. You are under new management. What a Lord!

10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. We serve a Living Saviour who died once and for all for our sins. This has settled the sin matter forever. Jesus glorified the Father on earth and totally completed all the work the Father had given Him. In the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Jesus says ‘I was dead but behold I am alive forever and I hold the keys of death and hell. The sacrificial death of Jesus Christ was indeed a once and for all time sacrifice that completely purchased the forgiveness of all sins, for all men, for all time,,,but only if they believe... The life Jesus Christ now lives, He lives fully to God. This means it is no longer ‘distracted’ on the sin problem of man but rather is fully focused on the Father and the church. What about you, who are you living for? Jesus Christ today ever lives to make intercession for the saints that you and I, the set-apart ones.

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. In principle we are already dead to sin through our baptism and must apply this to our flesh when the various temptations come against us. We have risen with Christ, have been made righteous and have God’s love being poured into our hearts. Our identity is in Christ not in the world, nor in the flesh nor in the devil. We should respond to temptation out of the new creation not the old man of the flesh. We are no longer of Adam’s lineage but now are in Christ’s lineage. God is your Daddy and He is Lord and reigns in your heart and soul so let us keep the flesh well and truly crucified. This can be achieved in various ways for instance in Colossians 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. Did you know that Christians can still sin? Christians may not be sinless but we should sin less! We need to refuse to surrender to our fleshly passions and inclinations as weapons for wickedness but rather use all our faculties to serve the Living God. Offer Him our body parts as righteous weapons for His exclusive service. You are a soldier for Christ, use all your weapons for Him as our Commander. It is a straight choice whether you will use your weapons for wickedness or righteousness. The power of the Holy Spirit is available right now and He is able to keep us from falling. Oh what can little hands (eyes, lips, and hearts) to please the King of Heaven[1]? Satan has entirely different options for the use of your bodily functions. How do you think he wants you to use them? Remember which family your are in, remember which army you are in, remember who your Daddy is. Our family does things our Daddy’s way. Our Daddy pours His grace into us enabling us to live His way and do things His way. Grace is the key to success in our spiritual life.

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Paul again poses the same question as in verses one and two. The answer of course is absolutely not.16 Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance.18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. Sin progressively hypnotises and thus enslaves the human heart and mind (how do you boil a frog?). After some time the enslaved person will become unable to exercise his free will choice not to commit that particular sin. It is a bit like our conscience being dulled to repeated sin and eventually becoming seared and senseless to the evil we are committing. No man has no master i.e. is totally independent as his own boss. No man has no Daddy. Either sin against God or obedience to God will be our master. Whose slave are you? Who is your Daddy? God or sin?

V17 Paul thanks God for His grace that He has set the believers free from the power of sin and empowered us to obey the structured teachings of the Gospel in a whole hearted way. We are no longer under the cruel master called sin but we are willingly enslaved by righteousness i.e. now we can know true freedom from the power of sin because we have exchanged our service to the cause of righteousness. Sin is no longer our master, Hallelujah. We might make an occasional slip but our lives should not be dominated by Sin.

19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. At the time of writing in the Roman Empire, slaves being bought and sold and transferred from one master to another was an everyday occurrence and this is why Paul used this concept of an ‘exchange of masters’ to illustrate to the Romans the point he was making but in a way they could grasp this important spiritual truth. Incidentally good bible teaching should still be delivered in a way that can be grasped by the hearers and this can be challenging at times. We must no longer offer our faculties as in the service of the world, the flesh and the Devil but rather use all our abilities, heart and strength to pursue righteous living thus promoting holiness. The need to serve our new Master is in a sense pressing and urgent....

20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of ? Those things result in death! When we were slaves to sin we were enemies of righteousness. But now that we are servants of righteousness we have become enemies of sin. These two states are mutually exclusive. Sin is not the boss of you anymore. Sin no longer has you in its power. Sin is not your Daddy. No man can serve two masters [2]. We should love our Daddy and hate our old Master. When we consider our lives under the our old Master when we were enslaved by sin, taken captive at will, we are deeply ashamed of all of the wickedness in thought and deed but only now can we see they were bringing down the path to death, physical death followed by eternal death.22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. You have now exchanged your old life of guilt and shame; a life of bondage, a life enslaved by sin for the wonderful freedom in Christ and are now servants of the Living God. Your former wages of sin your Master was not just death, but everlasting death. You are now a love slave of God but He is the Good and Kind Master who came to give you abundant life and He gently leads you into a life of purity and separation and His gift (not wages-because we could not earn it) is everlasting life. God sets life and death before sinful and tells them to choose life. What a tremendous comfort to know that each believer will enjoy Jesus Christ forever. This is truly amazing grace. In Christ we have a new Father. In Christ we have new family In Christ we have a new Master. In Christ we have a new future. In Christ we have a new ‘past’

In Christ we move from the lineage of Adam to the lineage of Christ. In Christ we have a new lifestyle. Don’t let Satan commit identity theft of your new life and give you back to old obsolete life. Your old man is dead let’s keep him that way!

[1] What can little hands do ? Grace W. Hinsdale, 1895. Buds and Blossoms for the Little Ones Oh, what can little lips do To please the King of heaven? The little lips can praise and pray, And gentle words of kindness say :Such grace to mine be given! [2] Matthew 6:24

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