The book of Romans is the great exposition of the gospel as the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). This salvation is not limited to delivering us from the
penalty of sin, which is eternal death (Rom. 6:23). God also frees us from the
power of sin so that we might walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4, 22). The death of Christ accomplished both deliverances. He died
for our sins as our
substitute (Rom. 5:8). He died also
to sin (Rom. 6:10) and overcame its power as our
representative (one that acts for another). To be saved from sin's penalty, we must place our complete trust in Christ's work on the cross and His resurrection (1 Cor. 15:1-4). Likewise, if we are to experience daily deliverance from sin's tyranny, then we must trust in Christ's victory on our behalf over the power of sin.
Righteous living is the fitting and proper response to our righteous standing or position before God. We are not to continue in sin (Rom. 6:1-2). We who once were slaves to sin have become slaves of righteousness (Rom. 6:17-18). We should now live accordingly. By His victorious life, death, and resurrection, Christ has provided everything we need for an overcoming and righteous life. We experience or enter into this kind of life by making certain active responses which God calls for in Romans 6—8. These responses are indicated for us by the words
know (Rom. 6:6),
consider (Rom. 6:11),
present (Rom. 6:13, 19),
and put to death (Rom. 8:13).
How do we know anything with complete confidence about spiritual and invisible things? We can know only by revelation, only by God telling us in His Word what we could never know otherwise. What do the Scriptures say about deliverance from sin's power in our lives? "For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin" (Rom. 6:6 NIV). Think carefully about this statement. To "know" here means to be certain about a truth, not by feeling or imagination, but by believing firmly what God says. What do we know? It is that our old self was crucified with Christ. The term "old self" or "old man" occurs only two other times in the New Testament (Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:9-10), where it is contrasted with the "new self" or "new man." The "old self" is all that we were as unregenerate people in Adam's family. It is said to be characterized by evil practices and lusts. In contrast, the "new self" is all that we are now "in Christ Jesus." It is in the likeness of God, created in righteousness and holiness. God crucified the old self at the same time and place that His Son was crucified. What was accomplished in the crucifixion of the old self? The result was that "the body of sin" was rendered powerless. Thus, we are no longer slaves to sin. We are able to walk in "newness of life" (Rom. 6:4). As Jesus died
to sin once for all (Rom. 6:10), so also did we at that time. We participated representatively in that victory over this evil force. We can now live unto God without being constantly dragged downward. We are united with Him and His life (Rom. 6:5).
Consider carefully the truths concerning our union with Christ which God wants us to know:
We Are United With Christ In His Death And Victory Over Sin.
a. Christ died unto sin once for all (Rom. 6:10). He died to the realm where sin reigns as king (Rom. 5:21a).
b. We died with Christ (Rom. 6:8), being co-crucified with him (Gal. 2:20). We must understand "that if one died for all, then were all dead" (2 Cor. 5:14).
c. Since Christ died to sin once for all and since we died with Him, we also died to sin and are freed from its enslaving power (Rom. 6:2, 6-7, 18, 22). What does "sin" mean here? It is indwelling sin, an evil principle working within our yet unredeemed bodies (Rom. 7:17, 20, 23). What is meant by "freed" since it is so obvious that Christians do sin? Christ broke the chains that held us as slaves to sin (Rom. 6:6). Indwelling sin is still present and seeks to exercise control over us through our mortal bodies (Rom. 6:12), but we are no longer its slaves. Our relationship to sin has changed. As the hymn-writer put it, Christ "breaks the power of cancelled sin, He sets the prisoner free." Freedom from sin's bondage has its basis in Christ's victory over sin and death (Rom. 6:9-10) and in our union with Him.
We Are United With Christ In His Resurrection And Present Life.
a. Christ rose from the dead (Rom. 6:4, 9). As a result, "the life that He lives, He lives to God" (Rom. 6:10 NASB), in that kingdom where God alone rules.
b. We rose from the dead with Him because we have been united with Him (Rom. 6:5; Eph. 2:5-6; Col 3:1).
c. Therefore, we share in His present resurrection life and we can thus walk in newness of life. He is now master over His foes, so we too can be master over our foes through Him (Rom. 6:9-10). What is true of Him is also true of us because we are in Him. Moreover, His resurrection power is present to function within us (Eph. 1:19-20; Phil. 2:13; 3:10).
When we know and understand the truth of our union with Christ and when we realize who we are and what we have "in Christ Jesus," we must conclude, "How shall we who died to sin still live in it?" (Rom. 6:2 NASB). The only fitting response is that we direct our hearts and minds so that in daily living we conform to what we really are in Christ (Col. 3:1-3).
Consider (Reckon, Count)
It is necessary to translate these revealed and liberating truths into our personal experience. Truth always needs to be worked into the way we live. This is accomplished by firmly believing and then acting upon what God has revealed to us in His Word.
God tells us that the death that Christ died, He died
to sin and the life He now lives, He lives
to God (Rom. 6:10). He then exhorts us, "Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 6:11 NASB). Here He calls us to count or reckon something to be true of us because it is true of Christ and because we are united with Christ. What is true of Christ? In His death, He died to the kingdom in which sin ruled. He broke any claim of sin as a power. Now He lives to God, in the realm where God reigns. These things are true of Christ. Thus, they are likewise true of us through our union with Him. We are "dead
to sin" because we are
"in Christ Jesus." We were incorporated into His death at the cross (Rom. 6:3, 5). As our representative, He acted on our behalf. Thus our relationship to sin is now the same as His. Similarly, we are "alive
to God" because we are "m Christ Jesus." God "made us alive together with Christ . . . and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in heavenly places, in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:5-6 NASB). Our citizenship is in heaven. We live out our lives now in an entirely new kingdom where God rules and grace reigns through righteousness (Rom. 5:21; Col. 1:13).
We have God's word for it that we died to sin and are now alive to Him. We must regard it as true of us whether our senses or feelings agree or not. God does not say to us "pretend this is true." It is true! He does not say to us, "crucify the old man" or "make yourself dead to sin and alive to Me." That was done 2000 years ago at Calvary! He says to us in effect, "see yourselves as united with My glorious Son and regard yourselves as what you are in Him—dead to sin but alive to Me." Just as we believed the gospel for salvation from the penalty of sin, so also we must now believe what God says about what we are in Christ to experience deliverance from the power of sin. Both deliverances come through active faith, not by sight or feeling.
We must not stop with knowing these important truths or with counting upon them in faith. God gives us a command, something we must
do in response to what we know and reckon to be true. "Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should 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" (Rom. 6:12-13 NASB). Here is an appeal to our wills. Notice that it has both a negative and a positive aspect.
Negatively, we are exhorted not to let sin rule in our bodies. Sin as an evil principle and power is still within our mortal, unredeemed bodies. It seeks to dominate them. By a definite and continual act of our wills we must not permit it to do so. We must actively oppose and fight sin. Further, we must not even give sin a single foothold from which it can work against us. We must not present any member of our bodies to sin for its unrighteous use. The term "present" means "put at the disposal of" or "yield" or "permit to use." The word "member" refers to the parts of the body, such as hands, eyes, and mind, and the abilities and powers of the body. Sin seeks to use our members as weapons of unrighteousness, but we must make no provision for it to do this. We have the ability to obey this exhortation because our relationship to sin as slave-master has ended. We have been "freed from sin and enslaved to God" (Rom. 6:22 NASB).
From the positive aspect, God commands us to present and yield ourselves to Him. As those alive from the dead, we are now His slaves and so we put ourselves and the members of our bodies entirely at His service. Our members once were presented to sin for unrighteous purposes; no one needed to instruct us how to do that. But now we are new creatures, with new lives and a new Master (2 Cor. 5:17; Rom. 6:16-18). We should choose to obey God moment by moment as our new Master. We should be available to Him and serve Him with the same intensity and fervor that we once served sin. "Just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification" (Rom. 6:19 NASB).
What could be more fitting than to place ourselves and our members entirely at God's disposal? We are not our own (1 Cor. 6:19-20). God has bought us at the tremendous price of His Son's blood (1 Pet. 1:18-19). "He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf" (2 Cor. 5:15 NASB). Moreover, when we know the truth of our union with Christ in His death and resurrection and reckon ourselves dead to sin but alive to God, it is only logical that we present our members no longer to sin but to God. By a deliberate act of our wills, we should continually and habitually place our lives completely at His disposal. The result will be holy and victorious Christian living.
Put to Death (Mortify)
The encouragement to actively war against indwelling sin and to yield ourselves wholly to God is summarized in Romans 6:14 (NASB): "For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace." Note well the guarantee or reason given as to why sin shall not rule as a tyrant over us. A new rule or principle of life is now in operation. We are not under law, but under grace. Let us consider what this means.
Once as unsaved people—as those "in the flesh" (Rom. 7:5; 8:9)— we were under law. We attempted to gain God's favor by our actions or works. However, law of any kind, even the Law of Moses, could never deliver us from the power and bondage of sin. It could not help us in holy living or produce spirituality. It could never give life (Gal. 3:21). "By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin" (Rom. 3:20 NASB). The purpose of the holy Law of God was to convict us of sin, to show us the exceeding sinfulness of sin (Rom. 7:13). "The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (Gal. 3:24). It was never meant to deliver us from the bondage to sin. In fact, when we were "in the flesh" the Law actually aggravated sin. Sin took advantage of us through the Law, produced lust of every kind and bore the fruit of death (Rom. 7:5, 8, 11).
But now as Christians—as those "in the Spirit" (Rom. 8:9)—our former relationship to the Law no longer exists. Through our union with Christ in His death, we were released from our unfruitful marriage to the Law (Rom. 7:1-6). We have been joined to Christ in order that we might bring forth fruit to God (Rom. 7:4) and serve Him in "newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter" (Rom. 7:6 NASB). The Law could not justify or sanctify us "in that it was weak through the flesh" (Rom. 8:3a). It brought only condemnation and death. Therefore, what the Law could not accomplish, Christ did at the cross. "He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us" (Rom. 8:3b-4). Because we are in Christ there is no condemnation for us and we have been set free from the "law of sin and death" (Rom. 8:1-2). We are now under the reign of God's grace. God, by His indwelling Spirit, helps us live in a way that pleases Him. We are not left to our own strength. God's power is working within us (Phil. 2:13). If we were to struggle to live a holy life apart from this power and try to keep the Law in our own energy, we would suffer crushing defeat and despair (Rom. 7:14-25). Certainly that is not what God intends.
Consider the stark contrast between the Christian and the non-Christian (Rom. 8:4b-ll NASB). The unsaved are described as "those who walk according to the flesh," as "those who are according to the flesh," and as "those who are in the flesh." In this context, the term "flesh" indicates man in his unregenerate state. He is an alien to the life of God. He lives his life apart from the Holy Spirit. He has his mind set on "the things of the flesh," his thoughts and actions are governed by "the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and pride of life" (1 John 2:16). His fallen, corrupt, and unregenerate human nature dominates the way he lives. He is hostile toward God, not able to submit to God's Law, and unable to please God. But now we are "not in the flesh, but in the Spirit" if the Holy Spirit dwells within us (Rom. 8:9). We are described as those who "walk according to the Spirit." The general tenor and character of our lives manifest that we are habitually controlled and empowered by the Spirit. Christ is in us. Our bodies, being still unredeemed, are dead toward God on account of indwelling sin, but our spirits are alive (Rom. 8:10; Eph. 2:1). The Spirit of God dwells within us as our helper and as our guarantee that one day God will give life to our mortal bodies (Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 15:35-57). For this reason, we eagerly long for our "adoption as sons, the redemption of our body" (Rom. 8:23 NASB). Then we will be free at last from the very presence of sin!
Therefore, seeing that we are not under law but under grace, what conclusion are we to draw? How should we live in light of what we are as Christians? Hear what the Word of God says! "So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—for if you are living according to the flesh you must die, but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live" (Rom. 8:12-13 NASB). We are not debtors bound by duty to live as we once lived when we were unsaved. Rather we are debtors to grace. We are under obligation to Christ to live for Him. Remember who we are and what we have by our union with Christ. Christ has brought us into a glorious new position with God and made every provision for a life of victory over sin. We are now living in the realm of the Spirit. We are alive to God. Christ dwells within. In view of these things, how can we possibly go on living as though we were still "in the flesh"? Such a course is completely inconsistent with who we are in Christ.
Instead, by the Spirit's strength and help, we must be "putting to death the deeds of the body." Notice that this is an
we take. Nowhere do the Scriptures teach that the way of victory is merely to "surrender to God" or "abide in Him" or "let go and cease trying" and then "let God win the victory for us." Everywhere the Bible instructs and commands us to take action by God's grace or enablement. We are not released from responsibility in the matter of victorious Christian living. Moreover, the Scriptures do not teach that we will not experience or should not expect conflict and struggle along the way. We are called to a spiritual warfare which requires us to take up the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:10-20). We are to put on Christ and not make any provision for the flesh (Rom. 13:14). We are to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against our souls (1 Pet. 2:11). We need to buffet our bodies and make them our slaves (1 Cor. 9:27). Enabled by the Holy Spirit, we must continually wage war against sin and mortify its out workings in our mortal bodies. This will mean, of course, that we keep in step with the Spirit (Gal. 5:25) and not quench His inner promptings to take action (1 Thess. 5:19).
This then is the Scriptural way to victorious and holy Christian living.
Know and understand the fact of your union with Christ (Rom. 6:3-10). You were united with him in His death, burial, and resurrection. Your old self was crucified with him and your body of sin was rendered powerless so that you should no longer serve sin.
Consider yourself to be what you actually are—dead to sin but alive to God (Rom. 6:11). Christ died to sin and now lives to God. The same is true of you.
Present yourself continually to God as one alive from the dead (Rom. 6:13). No longer yield the parts and faculties of your body to sin, but habitually put them at God's disposal. Do not let sin reign in your mortal body (Rom. 6:12).
Put To Death the sinful misdeeds of the body (Rom. 8:13). Recognize that you are not under law but under grace. God gives His strength to help you obey Him and please Him. In this strength, wage war against the fleshly desires and deeds of indwelling sin.
This is not a series of steps to be followed mechanically. Rather it is a call to live continuously in a manner that is consistent with who you are and what you have in Christ Jesus. Recognize God's wonderful provision for your sanctification. Deal ruthlessly with sin and strive after holiness with the Spirit's help. Then you "will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:17 NASB).
Crucified With Christ
Read Romans 6-8:13 several times and then carefully study the passage and answer the questions below
in your own words.
1. List the experiences that all Christians shared with Christ because they are "baptized into" or united with Him (6:3-5).
2. What does the Apostle Paul say every believer should
What is our "old man" or "old self" (6:6; Col. 3:9-10; Eph. 4:22-24; 2 Cor. 5:17)?
What was the result of our old man's crucifixion with Christ (6:2, 6-7)?
3. Based upon what we know, Romans 6:11 says that we are to
reckon ourselves to be two things. What are they? What does each mean?
Why are you able to reckon these things so (6:8-10)?
4. What does Romans 6:12-13 say we should do based upon what we know and reckon to be so?
List below the ways in which you
yield your members to sin and to God.
5. Read Romans 6:16-23. Identify the possible masters that a person can serve as a slave and list the results or fruit of each slavery.
How does a person reveal who his master is (6:16)?
6. What great change has every Christian undergone (6:17-18);
In view of this change, what should your response be (6:19)?
7. How does Romans 7:1-6 explain Paul's statement in Romans 6:14?
How and for what purpose were we made to die to the Law (7:4-6)';
8. What struggle would one experience when he tries to please God if he were under law rather than grace (7:14-25)?
What discoveries would he make about himself?
9. Why is there no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (8:1-4)?
Contrast the Christian and the non-Christian (8:4b-ll).
How should you live in light of what is true of you as a Christian (8:12-13)?
10. Write a paragraph describing how you will translate the teaching of Romans 6-8:13 into your daily practice. How will you obey the exhortations to
consider, present, and put to death?