Sunday, September 21, 2014

Dead to Sin, Freed from Sin, and Alive in Christ Jesus!

Last Sunday we asked you to join us in looking at the key to having a loving, intimate, and truly biblical marriage that goes beyond a husband who sacrificially loves his wife, and a wife who returns his love with submission and respect. This marriage no longer relies on conflict resolution tools because there is hardly any conflict anymore, and if it arises it is solved in an instant. The marriage has grown up into Christ and by pleasing God, both spouses in turn work hard to please each other. Selfishness, and looking out for “my needs” and “my desires” pales in comparison to being a true image bearer who shines the life of Jesus in life and marriage.

If you have been reading Romans 6 with us this week you must have some questions. To set the scene, remember that the apostle Paul has just explained how we are justified by faith in Christ Jesus and His work on the cross. That by one man's {Adam’s} disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one {Jesus} shall many be made righteous” {Romans 5:19}.

With the key truth of justification by faith established, Paul moves on in Romans 6-8 to discuss the next logical step for all believers. Now that I am saved by the blood of Jesus, how do I grow up and begin to please him? Let me give a hint here that if God saves us by faith, it is also by faith that we are going to grow us up into a mature Christian who pleases his Father. God did not place His Spirit inside of us just to watch us as Christians go back under the law and try to please Him by our works.

Paul asks the question to his readers, especially for the Jew who believed the law was a much higher standard than grace: "Should we continue in sin that grace may abound?"  The resounding response is “God Forbid!” “No Way, No How, Never!” is the shout of the apostle as he uses the strongest negative possible. Then he explains why we can’t keep sinning and his argument is astonishing:

2 How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
For he that is dead is freed from sin.

God is telling us that when we accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, we were baptized into His death. Outward baptism is a representation of what God in His great wisdom  and power has done with us, to first place us into the death of Christ Jesus on the cross, and then buries us with Jesus so that we can rise with His resurrected body and “walk in newness of life.” Our old man, our old being, was nailed on the cross with Christ, that our flesh might be destroyed. All of our being was set and focused on self and the things of the world, but now, in Christ, because our old self died, we are “freed from sin!”

Wait a minute!  I don’t feel free from sin!
Unless something changed with God recently, our feelings about the subject will never inform His truths, thank goodness!  Can you even imagine what sad shape we would be in with our Christian lives if God’s truths depended on me and my feelings? Instead, God’s truth is the immovable rock where we must stand by faith. Faith ignores feelings to believe God in His promises even in the things that are difficult for our time limited and finite minds to accept. If the test for God’s promises is what I can see and experience, then the gospel is very weak indeed.  But if God alone is the keeper of His promises, then my salvation and sanctification are assured with certainty.

So this Sunday and going forward, will you believe these important truths and allow them to flow into your life and marriage? Think about what this means practically:


That is right. The next time your spouse says or does something that begins to upset you just remind yourself that dead things don’t get upset in return. Beyond this, the clear teaching of the New Testament is that the believer becomes a new creature in Christ, the old is gone, and the life we live is alive to Christ and dead to sin.

God says these truths a little differently other places, but they all point to the same reality. “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” {Galatians 3:27} and again, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” {2 Corinthians 5:17}.

The journey to growing up in Christ begins right here by understanding first what God has done to make you and me brand new and then beginning to live out this reality in our lives. Your identity as dead to sin and alive to Christ should permeate each and every aspect of our lives, especially our one flesh marriages.  

For the believer, we are what God thinks, but we behave the way we think.

 If you want to stop sinning and to begin to walk in the newness of life alive in Christ Jesus, then all you have to do is match up your beliefs with what God says is true. Easier said than done? Yes and no. It really depends on whether we first know the truth, and then if we are willing to believe it. I am not saying, believe more. I am saying actually believe that you are dead to sin and alive to Christ. If we do, our spouse will stop seeing death in us and instead will see the life of Jesus flow in and through us. This is our hope. This is our faith. This can be our marriage.

***Written by Ken