Notes on Romans 6:1-14 — How shall we live? Part 1

Christians are sinners (sin is lawless — 1 John 3:4) who are freely pardoned because of who Jesus is and what he has done.

Because of Jesus Christ,  Christians are not condemned as they deserve to be. Rather they are treated as children of God. A person’s acceptance with God is wholly and only dependent upon the Lord Jesus Christ.

How should Christians live in response to that great truth? What do we say in the light of this mercy from God. Do we continue to live as we did before we were brought to faith in Jesus Christ. Do we continue in sinful rebellion?

Apparently Paul had come across people who argued like this: ‘If by showing of mercy to sinful people God receives well-deserved praise, surely the more sinful we become the more amazing will be His mercy and the more deserving He will be of praise.’ – or to put it another way – ‘Let us sin so grace might abound.’

Is God’s mercy a reason to do any and every sinful thing we can imagine because Jesus has rescued us from the judgement of God?

Paul says, ‘No!’ In fact, ‘May it never be so!’

 ‘We have died to Sin, how can we continue to live with it?’

Paul arguement is that we can’t continue in sin because we are united to Christ. Paul’s reasons seem to be these:

Christ’s death and rising again makes sinners legally clean. The supreme Judge declares us ‘NOT GUILTY’ simply because of what Jesus has done for us. We are to become what we are.

Water Baptism (a washing with water) symbolises of our unity with Christ. It symbolise our being made clean because of that unity.

When the Holy Spirit makes people into Christians, the act is referred to as a baptism, a cleaning.

  • He units them to Christ
  • He applies the benefits of Jesus to them
  • and, from that moment onward they are regarded as good and as clean as Jesus himself.

‘Baptised into his Death’ means that we, because of the unity with Christ, are regarded as having died for our sins when Jesus died.

‘Buried with him’ indicates that our death is final. It means that those who are united to Christ, those who trust Jesus, have no remaining punishment awaiting them. The Judgement due their sins is passed as the reason for judgement is dead and gone.

Being united with Jesus Christ in his resurrection mean that we are brought to life. Not only are we given the gift of everlasting life, but we are brought to a new way of life. We are to have, and as Christians we will have, new attitudes.

We ought to walk (conduct ourselves) in newness of life (verse 4).

We cannot have one without the other – forgiveness and a changed attitude to sin come as a package to the Christian.

If we are rescued from judgement by unity with Jesus in his Death, we are also united with Jesus in his resurrection. We are to be united to his new way of life. To emphasise this reality, Paul uses a ‘much rather’ phrase: ‘If one is rescued from sin, so much rather will that one live now as a new sort of person.’

[Continued in Part 2]

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Notes on Romans 6:1-14 — How shall we live? Part 2

[Continued from Part 1]

If we are rescued from judgement by unity with Jesus in his Death, we are also united with Jesus in his resurrection. We are to be united to his new way of life. To emphasise this reality, Paul uses a ‘much rather’ phrase, as if to say: ‘If one is rescued from sin, so much rather will that one live now as a new sort of person.’

Why is this so? Well, Paul says that even our death with Christ implies the doing away with our old way of life.

Knowing this, that our Old Man was crucified so that the body of sin might be brought to an end.

Our Old Man is our pre-Christian attitude. We had bad attitudes

  • To God as king – we had rejected God’s rule
  • To Christ as saviour – we thought we were fine as we were.
  • To God’s law – we made our own rules as if we were God.

We were once slaves to sin and death. We were bound to it and could not (and would not) free ourselves.

  • Jesus said so (John 8:34-36), but Jesus sets these sorts of slaves free.
  • Paul says that Jesus’ death puts an end to slavery to sin (old man crucified so that we might no longer be slaves to sin — Romans 6:6b).

This is true because death deals with sin (verse 7). ‘The one who has died [with Christ] is justified [set free] from sin.’ The flow of Paul’s argument seems to be this:

  • Death is the just end for a sinner; it is what justice requires. A sinner’s death does not make a sinner clean.
  • Christ’s death alone justifies because Jesus was not a sinner when he died for us — the just one died for the unjust.
  • If we are one with Jesus in his death, we ought to be one with Jesus in his life.
  • Jesus lives – raised from death – because He was just  and He continues to live a good life.
  • Our lives as Christian should be modelled on the good life of Jesus – Live with him.

Knowing that Christ is raised, never to die again, leaves us with these conclusions:

  • Jesus has done with sin – his once for all time death provided complete salvation.
  • There are no more sins for him to deal with – all the sins of all his people from all time (past, present and future) have been suffered and died for.
  • Therefore Death no longer has any authority over, or claim of any kind upon, Jesus Christ.

Jesus died once for sin, Jesus now lives for God, so…

  • We are to regard ourselves as dead to sin (having died with Christ)
  • and as alive to God – alive to doing things God’s way.

This means we are not to let sin boss us around, precisely because we are saved sinners.

We are not to obey sin with regard to our desires.

  • Human desires were created by God and they were given to us as good things.
  • Our sinful nature messes with these desires, for example:
    • Our human desire for partner was messed with, producing unfaithfulness, pornography and prostitution.
    • Our desire for useful work was twisted by laziness, workaholic attitudes and careerism.
    • Our desire for food is blighted by over-eating or other difficulties.

Next, Paul’s language seem to echo the 10 commandments, which begin with a statement of how God had rescued Israel from slavery in Egypt and how they are now his people.

  • We are not to present our physical and mental abilities as weapons of unrighteousness.
    • You are my people.
    • You are to show love by not doing evil.
  • We are to present our physical and mental abilities as weapons of righteousness.
    • You are my people.
    • You are to show love by doing positive good.

If you are a Christian, if you trust Jesus Christ, you have been made alive from the dead. You are united to Christ. You are Children of God.

You are no longer under law to be condemned by it. Jesus has dealt with your sin. You may now say with the Psalm writer, ‘Oh, how I love your law!’ (Psalm 119:97)

You are now a child of God’s grace in Christ, under his fatherly protection and love. You have been saved to show love and do good.

We have new attitudes toward God and our fellow human beings because Jesus has died and risen again for us. As Christians we are no longer to live as if God isn’t there, no longer to live as if we were our own boss. We are to love God with all our mind, strength, will and heart, and to love our neighbours as ourselves.