As we move into Romans 6, we see Paul continue to elaborate on our salvation in terms of sanctification. I personally like Matthew Henry’s explanation of the process of sanctification as such: “the dying to sin and living to righteousness.” This is the essence of the first 14 verses of Romans 6.
I don’t know about you but I’ve always struggled with the idea that Christians are supposed to be “dead” to sin. I grew up thinking that once I became a Christian, I should cease sinning completely. Therefore, every time I sinned and fell short, a wave of guilt and shame would come upon me. To some extent we should feel the weight of our sin and feel deep remorse for sinning against God but this isn’t the feeling Paul is getting at here in the text. Paul is communicating that because we have been buried with Christ in baptism and have also been resurrected with Christ (Romans 6:3-4) which then puts us in a position to walk in newness of life.
The nuance I believe Paul is getting at in Romans 6:3-4 has to do with the heart of the believer. Are you living in sin habitually and therefore not truly embracing your God-given identity, which frees you from the tyranny of sin? Or are you waging war against your sin daily and relying on His strength to overcome sin, knowing that He is faithful and just to forgive those that repent and confess their sins? (1 John 1:9) This seems to be the heart of the issue here.
As you look at your own life, do you truly believe that you have been buried and raised again with Christ? I know this is a struggle for me to grasp, not to mention live out each day.
We have been offered a new and transformed way of living that only became possible through the amazing work of Christ on the cross. This is an incredible truth! Through our union with Christ, we possess, through His Spirit, the ability to say no to sin, overcome temptation and to resist the devil. Christ died to free us from the tyranny of all these things, the question is, have you accepted that gift? Maybe you’ve accepted Christ but you haven’t fully embraced your true identity in this area?
As you discuss this personal and spiritual tension in your House Fellowships this week, I encourage you to wrestle with who you are in Christ. Are you still a sinner? Are you truly living dead to sin? Are you walking in obedience to defeat personal sin or have your grown comfortable with certain sins and behaviors?
These are tough questions but they are incredibly valuable as we journey together, as a family of missionary servants, on course to please our King Jesus by living redeemed lives for the sake of His Glory and Kingdom.
*Photo by Tante Tati and is registered under a Creative Commons License.