Living Under Grace

The Apostle Paul’s argument that we are alive in Christ and dead to sin in Romans chapter six is based on our spiritual union with Christ. If Christ has triumphed over sin and death, then so have we, because we are alive “in Christ.” Notice the verb tenses. “We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer” (Rom. 6:2)? How can we as believers die to sin? We can’t, because we already have. “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death” (vs. 3)? We have also been buried (vs. 3) and raised with Christ (vs. 5). We cannot be united with Christ in His death and not be united with Him in His resurrected life. Jesus didn’t just die for our sins, He came to give us life (see Rom. 5:8-11). “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him” (vs. 8).

“For we know that our old self was crucified with him” (vs. 6). The defeated Christian tries to put the old self to death and can’t do it. Why? Because, he is already dead! It is false reasoning to ask, “What experience must we have in order for this to be true?” The only experience that had to happen, happened 2000 years ago and the only way we can enter into the experience is by faith. We cannot do for ourselves what Christ has already done for us. We don’t make anything true by our experience and any effort to do so will prove fruitless. We believe what God has done and said on our behalf is true. When we choose to believe God and live accordingly by faith it works out in our experience.

We don’t do the things we do with the hope that God may someday love us. God loves us. That is why we do the good things we do. We don’t labor in the vineyard with the hope that God may someday accept us. God has accepted us and that is why we labor in the vineyard. What we do does not determine who we are. God has determined who we are and being a new creation in Christ should determine what we do. When we as believers choose to sin, that does not make us sinners any more than sneezing makes us sneezers. We are still children of God who have chosen to sin even though we don’t have to.

Christ defeated death when He was resurrected and He defeated sin when He died once for all our sins (vss. 8-10). “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (vs. 11). Counting yourselves dead to sin does not make you dead to sin. You are dead to sin because of your new life in Christ, therefore continue to believe it and it will work out in your experience. When you are tempted to sin, just respond by faith and say, “I am alive in Christ and sin is no longer my master.”

Dr. Neil

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