It’s All About New Life
Romans6:1-23 Oct. 2 2011
The apostle having at large asserted, opened, and proved, the great doctrine of justification by faith, for fear lest any should suck poison out of that sweet flower, and turn that grace of God into wantonness and licentiousness, he, with a like zeal, copiousness of expression, and cogency of argument, presses the absolute necessity of sanctification and a holy life, as the inseparable fruit and companion of justification; for, wherever Jesus Christ is made of God unto any soul righteousness, he is made of God unto that soul sanctification, 1 Cor. 1:30 . The water and the blood came streaming together out of the pierced side of the dying Jesus. And what God hath thus joined together let not us dare to put asunder.
Believers must die to sin, and live to God. (Romans 6: 1, 2)
Romans 6:1 To what conclusion, then, shall we come? Are we to persist in sinning in order that the grace extended to us may be the greater? 2 No, indeed; how shall we who have died to sin, live in it any longer?
The apostle is very full in pressing the necessity of holiness. He does not explain away the free grace of the gospel, but he shows that connexion between justification and holiness are inseparable. Let the thought be abhorred, of continuing in sin that grace may abound. True believers are dead to sin, therefore they ought not to follow it. No man can at the same time be both dead and alive. He is a fool who, desiring to be dead unto sin, thinks he may live in it.
This is urged by their Christian baptism and union with Christ. (Romans 6:3-10)
Romans 6:3 And do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Well, then, we by our baptism were buried with Him in death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from among the dead by the Father’s glorious power, we also should live an entirely new life.5 For since we have become one with Him by sharing in His death, we shall also be one with Him by sharing in His resurrection. 6 This we know—that our old self was nailed to the cross with Him, in order that our sinful nature might be deprived of its power, so that we should no longer be the slaves of sin; 7 for he who has paid the penalty of death stands absolved from his sin.8 But, seeing that we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him; 9 because we know that Christ, having come back to life, is no longer liable to die. 10 Death has no longer any power over Him. For by the death which He died He became, once for all, dead in relation to sin; but by the life which He now lives He is alive in relation to God.
Baptism teaches the necessity of dying to sin, and being as it were buried from all ungodly and unholy pursuits, and of rising to walk with God in newness of life. Unholy professors may have had the outward sign of a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness, but they never passed from the family of Satan to that of God. The corrupt nature, called the old man, because derived from our first father Adam, is crucified with Christ, in every true believer, by the grace derived from the cross. It is weakened and in a dying state, though it yet struggles for life, and even for victory. But the whole body of sin, whatever is not according to the holy law of God, must be done away, so that the believer may no more be the slave of sin, but live to God, and find happiness in his service.
They are made alive to God. (Romans 6:11-15)
Romans 6:11 In the same way you also must regard yourselves as dead in relation to sin, but as alive in relation to God, because you are in Christ Jesus. 12 Let not Sin therefore reign as king in your mortal bodies, causing you to be in subjection to their cravings; 13 and no longer lend your faculties as unrighteous weapons for Sin to use. On the contrary surrender your very selves to God as living men who have risen from the dead, and surrender your several faculties to God, to be used as weapons to maintain the right. 14 For Sin shall not be lord over you, since you are subjects not of Law, but of grace. 15 Are we therefore to sin because we are no longer under the authority of Law, but under grace? No, indeed!
The strongest motives against sin, and to enforce holiness, are here stated. Being made free from the reign of sin, alive unto God, and having the prospect of eternal life, it becomes believers to be greatly concerned to advance thereto. But, as unholy lusts are not quite rooted out in this life, it must be the care of the Christian to resist their motions, earnestly striving, that, through Divine grace, they may not prevail in this mortal state. Let the thought that this state will soon be at an end, encourage the true Christian, as to the motions of lusts, which so often perplex and distress him. Let us present all our powers to God, as weapons or tools ready for the warfare, and work of righteousness, in his service. There is strength in the covenant of grace for us. Sin shall not have dominion. God’s promises to us are more powerful and effectual for mortifying sin, than our promises to God. Sin may struggle in a real believer, and create him a great deal of trouble, but it shall not have dominion; it may vex him, but it shall not rule over him. Shall any take occasion from this encouraging doctrine to allow themselves in the practice of any sin? Far be such abominable thoughts, so contrary to the perfections of God, and the design of his gospel, so opposed to being under grace. What can be a stronger motive against sin than the love of Christ? Shall we sin against so much goodness, and such love?
And are freed from the dominion of sin. (Romans 6:16-20)
Romans 6:16 Do you not know that if you surrender yourselves as bondservants to obey any one, you become the bondservants of him whom you obey, whether the bondservants of Sin (with death as the result) or of Duty (resulting in righteousness)? 17 But thanks be to God that though you were once in thraldom to Sin, you have now yielded a hearty obedience to that system of truth in which you have been instructed. 18 You were set free from the tyranny of Sin, and became the bondservants of Righteousness— 19 your human infirmity leads me to employ these familiar figures—and just as you once surrendered your faculties into bondage to Impurity and ever-increasing disregard of Law, so you must now surrender them into bondage to Righteousness ever advancing towards perfect holiness. 20 For when you were the bondservants of sin, you were under no sort of subjection to Righteousness.
Every man is the servant of the master to whose commands he yields himself; whether it be the sinful dispositions of his heart, in actions which lead to death, or the new and spiritual obedience implanted by regeneration. The apostle rejoiced now they obeyed from the heart the gospel, into which they were delivered as into a mould. As the same metal becomes a new vessel, when melted and recast in another mould, so the believer has become a new creature. And there is great difference in the liberty of mind and spirit, so opposite to the state of slavery, which the true Christian has in the service of his rightful Lord, whom he is enabled to consider as his Father, and himself as his son and heir, by the adoption of grace. The dominion of sin consists in being willingly slaves thereto, not in being harassed by it as a hated power, struggling for victory. Those who now are the servants of God, once were the slaves of sin.
The end of sin is death, and of holiness everlasting life. (Romans 6:21-23)
Romans 6:21At that time, then, what benefit did you get from conduct which you now regard with shame? Why, such things finally result in death. 22But now that you have been set free from the tyranny of Sin, and have become the bondservants of God, you have your reward in being made holy, and you have the Life of the Ages as the final result. 23For the wages paid by Sin are death; but God’s free gift is the Life of the Ages bestowed upon us in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The pleasure and profit of sin do not deserve to be called fruit. Sinners are but ploughing iniquity, sowing vanity, and reaping the same. Shame came into the world with sin, and is still the certain effect of it. The end of sin is death. Though the way may seem pleasant and inviting, yet it will be bitterness in the latter end. From this condemnation the believer is set at liberty, when made free from sin. If the fruit is unto holiness, if there is an active principle of true and growing grace, the end will be everlasting life; a very happy end! Though the way is up-hill, though it is narrow, thorny, and beset, yet everlasting life at the end of it is sure. The gift of God is eternal life. And this gift is through Jesus Christ our Lord. Christ purchased it, prepared it, prepares us for it, preserves us to it; he is the All in all in our salvation.
We who were joined to (“baptized into”) Christ were so truly united with Him that His death was our death—a death that frees us from the power of sin in our lives . More, His resurrection is our resurrection. Sharing that life, we now are able to live to God . We can experience this spiritual reality—by faith. We count ourselves dead to sin on the basis of God’s Word, we choose not to let sin rule, and we offer every part of ourselves to God as His instruments to be used for righteousness .
Now Paul digresses briefly: What we experience depends on what we choose. If we choose to sin, we will be slaves of sin. If we choose to obey God, we will serve the ends of righteousness . And what a difference the choice makes! The outcome of obedience is a holiness which pays eternal dividends. But the only wages sin pays is death .