Romans 6:1-23 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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New Direction for Our New Life
Comments for Study 5

Romans 6:1-23
Memory Verse: 4


"We were therefore buried with him through baptism into his 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."

I. Union with Christ in his death and resurrection (1-10)

>1. Why can we not go on sinning-keep on living the same old life-after being justified by faith? (1,2)

* "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" (1)

* This question or one like it can come from one of two points of view and/or reasons. First, from a Christian who wants to sin and/or live a selfish life. They might also argue "all our works are but filthy rags" so it doesn't matter what we do anyway, or "if it doesn't matter if we sin, why not sin". Second, from those who want to attack the basic truth that a person is justified by faith alone. Whichever the case those who ask this question or one similar to it are ignorant of the truth of God's grace. Both might teach salvation is by faith and works combined. But if a person is saved by faith and works then this question won't need to be ask or addressed because it would have never of come up. But if salvation by faith alone is taught then this question would come up and it did so Paul addressed it.

* Christians died to sin.

* Sin no longer exists in our self.

* This is very clearly stated here.

* It is stated in the past tense, not the present tense. Therefore, it has already taken place.

* I can and do live a new life in Christ (4). It is possible to change. It is possible to stop old bad habits, both thoughts and actions. It is possible to form new good habits in Christ.

Some changes seemed daunting, ruled by the power of sin (6). Yet, the Spirit binds me to Christ and his power (5). He is power to induce and sustain change. He has the power of life and death in me (7). Death to sin. Life to joy and peace.

Change is lifelong. Every day the old sinful self is in me. Somedays the old self is buried deep, far from taking hold of me. Other days the old self is right there ready to take control, ready to start havoc. I can feel its power breathing on my neck. Yet, in Christ I can count myself dead to sin and alive to God (11).

Sin in me induces thoughts and ignites my heart. Christ in me also induces thoughts and ignites my heart. I decide. I have been given the power to say, "No. You cannot rule me today (11-12). At this moment I will not give in to that thought. I will quench the spark. I will not stay here in the rut of this thought. Sin will not be my master (14). I will not be a slave to sin (6)." I replace the bad thought with a good thought, a happy rut. I open my heart to the Spirit of Christ.

>What does it mean to be baptized in Christ Jesus ? (3,4)

* "Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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." (3,4)

* "baptized into his death" -When we accept Christ Jesus and are baptized (by the Holy Spirit) our old sinful self dies.

* In this chapter this is fact #1 that is stated and must be accepted by Christians.

* "all of us" -this is true for all Christians.

* The point here is Christians died to sin so it can't and shouldn't control them. However, this is not saying that Christians don't sin.

* "know" -know this truth: We died to sin, even buried it, and are raise to a new life just as Jesus was temporarily tempted by sin and therefore it was possible he could have been under the control of sin; but once he died sin had no ability to tempt him; no power over him. They knew but forgot and rejected for awhile.

* This is what God does in us and for us.

* A dead body can not sin.

* We are removed from life in Adam, to life in Christ.

* The Israelites were slaves to Pharaoh, but when they crossed the Red Sea, Pharaoh had no control over them. They no longer had any relationship with Pharaoh.

* Verse 3 is in the past tense as verse 2 was.

* If a Christian can't accept this fact he will be controlled by fear of judgment and therefore paralyzed by Satan to live for God's glory.

* It is a fact that we died to sin, but it appears sin has control over us. Why? Chapter 7 deals with this.

* It is a fact that Jesus died. It is a fact that Jesus rose. Therefore, it is a fact that we died and it is a fact that we rose to a new life.

* A good illustration of how a person who knows what the grace of God means from not only a theological illustration but in the practical life, all I have to do is look to Abraham and King David. When David committed adultery with Bathsheba and killed Uriah, and Abraham went into Egypt their responses were acceptance and repentance. They humbly turned to God and then moved on with their walk with him.

* "And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins." (Mark 1:4) From this we can learn of the ceremony's meaning which is a repentance of mind, heart, and strength.

* "''The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.''" (John 1:33b) "The man" is Jesus. His baptism is different than John's.

* The baptism Paul is speaking of is not the ceremony by what has happened spiritually.

* "baptism" -repenting of our old life and identifying with the gospel.

* "buried with (Jesus)" -our old sinful self dies.

* We are raised to a new life through the glory of the Father.

* Burial is the seal of death.

* It is important to know the meaning of baptism. If one doesn't then it will have no meaning or purpose.

* We are not justified by knowledge or by works. So we don't need to know all the details of what God does, but he will still do it all. This does not means that we should not seek to know what God's good and perfect will is for the world and for our lives.

>2. In what ways do Jesus' death and resurrection affect us? (5-10)

* "If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God." (5-10)

* He says we are united with Christ.

* "united"-to be one with Jesus, just as when a man and women are married they are united into one flesh. Chapter 7:1-6 uses this illustration however it is talking about the law not sin.

* This union is uniting with Jesus in his death and resurrection.

* Not only are we forgiven but we share in Christ's glory. In fact we already share in it.

* In this chapter this is fact 2 that is stated and must be accepted by Christians.

* We see our life in Christ.

* Phil. 3:20 (is); Col. 1:13 (has, brought); Eph. 2:6 (raised, settled) are all talking about our possession of the heavenly realm in the present text.

* We are in a different realm.

* The old body of sin, or also called the sinful nature, is done away with. We are clean in this matter. It is totally and eternally gone.

* We are freed from sin. We are no longer slaves to sin.

* We are "born again".

* See footnote: "rendered powerless".

* We are freed so that we may live a new life for the glory of God. That which had an impact in our life in Adam does not have an impact in our life in Christ.

* That which we liked in our life in Adam we now feel ashamed about and do not like since we are in Christ. That which we did not like in our old life in Adam we like now. This is because our new self was introduced in us.

* "'No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." (Luke 16:15)

* "know"-we should not

* "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is not law." (Gal. 5:19-23)

* Galatians 5:19-23 is a contrast between life in Adam and life in Christ.

* We are freed from sin so we can't be in sin. (7)

* Because of our new identity we won't want to sin, but instead new fruit of our life will come in.

* When a Christian sins they don't question the validity of their salvation, but they come back to this truth. They don't start over from the basics because they already have forgiveness and a new life in Christ. Instead, they accept their sin, repent, learn and move on. Chapter 7 deals with this a little bit.

* When Abraham and David where in sin after they had begun their new life in Christ, God keep his promise and forgave and rescued them from their sin.

* "crucified" -harshly dealt with.

* "He cannot die again."

* "Death no longer has mastery over him."

* "He died to sin once for all."

>Why is the basis of our new direction of life? (4:8, Gal 2:20)

* Romans 4:8 "Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him."

* Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

II. Dead to Sin, but Alive to God (11-14)

>3. Read verses 11-14.

* "In the same way, count yourselves 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 evil desires. Do not offer the parts of you body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace."" (11)

>Is the battle with sin automatically over when we are born again?

* We should count ourselves dead to sin.

* "count yourself" -as though it is a reality. Even though we don't see it practically. Could also be phrased "take hold of it". This could be done by keep remaining ourselves of this point.

* Practically this means that we shouldn't dwell on our sins and errors. Instead, we should accept, repent, and move on with serving God.

* Satan wants us not to serve God so he wants us to forget the truth that Christians are dead to sin. What he wants is for us to give up our walk with Christ when we sin. So our hearts must be clear on this matter. We died are dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

* Because of teachings like this Christianity is more than just a code of ethics as other religions are. Instead it deals with man's heart and the spiritual struggle.

* When a person has a leader position in God's redemptive work and works hard at it and then makes a mistake or sins and then his co-workers in Christ point it out in a negative way he shouldn't become so sensitive that he let's it paralyze him. Instead, he should think about it and accept what is true about it, reject what isn't true, and then repent and move on. He shouldn't allow rude remarks, gossip, slander, or exaggerations control his walk with God.

* Billy Graham in his book "World Aflame" wrote on the subject. After sections titled “Holy Spirit and “Strength to Resist Temptation is the section “The New Man Not Perfect. He writes, “There is one problem that Christians face immediately upon conversion. Some people get the idea that they become perfect right away, and then they find themselves tempted, in conflict, and even on occasion yielding to temptation It is true that the Christian possess a new nature, but the old nature is still there. It is now up to us, day by day, to yield to the reign and control of the new nature, which is dominated by Christ. Because we are a new creation for whom all old things have passed away and all things have become new, we no longer practice sin. We may fall into sin, but we hate it.”

>Practically, how should we deal with the remains of the sinful desires in our bodies? (11,12)

* "Therefore" -when there is a therefore we should ask what is it there for. Usually to indicate one is moving on to another point in an argument because of a conclusion in the previous statements.

* "do not let" -live a victorious Christian life because we can.

* "reign" -to rule, to control, or to have power over. Sin can reign if we let it.

* "in your mortal bodies" -in our spiritual bodies sin is dead. But our mortal bodies is a different thing. We have to struggle to overcome. That is why Paul says elsewhere that he beats his body and makes it his slave.

* "evil desires" -our mortal body has evil desires.

* "instruments of wickedness" -our physical body can be used to bring forth wickedness.

* "instruments of righteousness" -our physical body can be used to bring forth righteousness.

>4. What decision of faith must we make? (13)

* "Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. (13)

* "offer" -it is our choice to who we want to offer ourselves to.

>Why are we to be instruments of righteousness? (14)

* "because you are not under law, but under grace." (14b)

* "sin shall not be your master" -This can be true for those who are under grace. And it only can be true for those who are under grace for they are the only ones who are dead to sin.

III. From Slaves to Sin to Slaves to God (15-23)

>5. Read verses 15-23.

>How is the relationship between masters and slaves demonstrated? (15,16)

* "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey-whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?" (15-16)

* We will be slaves to sin.

* Sin leads to death.

* We should be slaves to righteousness.

* Obedience leads to righteousness.

* The idea of being a slave is negative to anyone, even to God. Why to God? Because it is man's rebellious nature.

* A Christian must understand what it means to be under grace.

* Paul compares two moral lifestyles with the analogy of slavery. Bob Dylan's 1979 song "Gotta Serve Somebody" comes to mind when I read these verses. John Lennon's response song "Serve Yourself" is comical in the light of the truth that in the heart everyone is either a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness. So serving myself is not the command I give myself, it's how do I want to serve who?

Paul's point here is that every Christian has one of two chooses to make. "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." (19b)

A slave to righteousness does right to others and self. A slave to righteousness obeys from the heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed my allegiance (17). A slave to righteousness says no to sin.

Being a slave to righteousness does not mean that I give up my rights. Rather, I use my right to make a good choice. Being a slave to righteousness is not drudgery, it is freedom from that which destroys (21). Being a slave to righteousness means I chose eternal life (22). "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (22)

>How are Christians who were set free from sin to live? (17,18)

* "But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness." (17, 18)

* "wholeheartedly" -not half-heartedly.

* In a Christian's heart they want to obey God's will, not sin, study the Bible, pray a lot, witness to others in love, teach the Bible in love, do good to others, etc. They may lose a fight here and there, but in general they seek God's will.

* "wholeheartedly" -heart attitude and heart condition. Remember in chapter 2 he talked about circumcision of the heart.

* "slaves of righteousness" -When young Christians read this they feel imposed upon, but this is not so.

* "thanks be to God" -Paul's declaration, but also a reminder to them to thank God.

>6. What is the outcome of giving in to sin, living "naturally"? (19a)

* "I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves." (19a)

>How can we grow in holiness? (19b-20)

* "Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to every increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. When you are slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness." (19b-20)

>What is the outcome of each? (21-23)

* "What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (19-23)

* "ever increasing wickedness" and "free from the control of righteousness" -earlier Paul also said "God gave us over to our depraved mind" (1:28) (sinful nature). Slowly God removed his hand of protection from our own evil and sinful nature.

* "What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of?" -good question to ask ourselves. Then look at his next statement.

* "wages" -earned

* "gift" -don't deserve.

* "in Christ Jesus our Lord." -again Paul states with respect and honor.


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