With Dale Ratzlaff
We continue our study in Romans 6:8-14.
Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
This section continues with the vitally important truth of representation—we lived the perfect life in Christ, we died with Christ, we were raised from the dead with Christ. Paul will now tell us what the benefits of representation are. Not only are we united with Christ in His atonement, we will also be united with Him in a new spiritual walk and sanctification. As we identify with Christ in His death, we enter into newness of life with Him.
Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.
The gift of representation is only for those who have faith. “If” we believe we have died with Christ, only then will we have the faith to live with Him. The promise is in future tense, “we shall live with Him”. Contextually, Paul makes it clear that the believer can experience this new life here and now but it will be fully fulfilled when faith becomes reality and we see our Lord face to face.
…knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.
Here Paul makes it clear that there is objective truth we must accept. We must know and believe in the resurrection of Christ. The atonement was complete. There is no more penalty for sin that could ever cause Christ to have to suffer and die again. When He said, “it is finished” it was finished once and for all. Now Christ’s death is in the rear-view mirror. It has no hold on Him.
For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
Here we see how the truth of representation can only be experienced once we know and accept the truth of substitution. Christ’s death was “once for all”. It was a death “to” sin and for our sin but not His own sin. Now, leaving death behind. He lives to God.
Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Here, six chapters into the book of Romans, we come to the first admonition. Thus far Paul has focused on pure theology or doctrine; now he starts to give admonition for Christian living. And what is the first thing we are told to do? “Consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Unless one thoroughly understands the truth of representation he cannot consider himself dead to sin or alive to God. He must recognize that because he died and rose from the grave with Christ he really can consider himself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. If the supreme court of the universe can consider us dead to sin and fully righteous, then we should agree no matter what the circumstances of our life dictate. We are to see ourselves as God sees us. We are to accept our “new self” that was raised from the dead “in” Christ Jesus. We today strive to become the person we now are “in Christ”.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
Paul gives us the key to success in our striving against sin. We are to present ourselves to God as those alive from the dead. This means that we have learned well the truth of representation in that we know we rose from the dead “in” or “with” Christ. Knowing this, in this newness of life, we present our members to God as instruments of righteousness. Now that we are “righteous by faith” we now can live out that righteousness by faith. There is no excuse now for a Christian to allow sin to reign in his life. Yes, sin will remain, but it will not reign. Paul believes that godly living is a necessity and not an option. We are to give up living like slaves and focus our attention to live like free men. We will all continue to fall short of God’s glory as taught in Romans 3:23, but now there is no more nagging guilt. Why?
For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Paul will explain the meaning of this short phrase when we get to Romans 7. Because we have died with Christ, the reach of the law can no longer touch us! The law has no jurisdiction over a dead person. Now, in the new life we have “in Christ Jesus” we live under grace. We don’t merit grace by good behavior, we don’t merit grace now or ever, rather the new life in Christ is lived in grace. If we are “in Christ” we remain in grace.
In this section two truths stand out in bold relief. First, we must personally know the truth of representation—we died, we were buried and we were raised with Christ. Second, our life direction and focus has changed, we are to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. This means we renew our mind to accept as fact the truth of God’s declaration of what it means to be “in” and “with” Christ. We strive to become the person we now are “in Christ Jesus.”
Father, these truths cannot be understood with the natural mind. Please give me the “mind of Christ” so that I may be able to comprehend and experience this new life “in Christ”.