Romans 6:4 (KJV) 4 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.
In our last post I talked about one of the most important topics in the bible. The fact that we have been made the righteousness of God in Christ is what I call one of the grand truths of scripture. Understanding this can change everything. When we received Jesus as Lord, our nature was changed. We were made right with God. All the requirements of the Law were fulfilled. We cannot earn this righteousness. However, now it is our responsibility to walk in what God has done for us.
1 Corinthians 15:34 (NKJV) 34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.
Paul is not saying that we should not sin so we will be righteous. He is saying that if we understand what God has done in making us right with him, we will have the power to overcome sin. Sin is a disease. It produces death everywhere it touches. Righteousness does not make sin less sinful. It does not make it less of a disease. Waking up to the fact that God has changed our nature and made us right with him gives us the power to live above sin.
Romans chapter 5 is one of the greatest chapters in the Word of God. It tells us about the power released in Jesus sacrifice and how it changed us. In this mighty chapter, Paul points out that through one man death came into the world. Because sin changed Adam’s nature, death passed on to all who were born of his race. He goes on to say that through one man, Christ Jesus, God gave the gift of Grace.
Romans 5:16 (NKJV) 16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.
Paul sums up this chapter this way:
Romans 5:19-21 (NKJV) 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Paul reveals to us that grace produces righteousness in everyone who receives Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9-10.) If one man’s disobedience causing him to sin could bring death to all then one man’s obedience to die for sin can bring righteousness to all. This is just and it is logical. Verse 21 is how Paul ends this chapter.
It is important to understand that Paul did not write in chapter and verse. He was writing a letter to the Roman church. The chapters and verses were added later. Paul has not changed the subject. He continues in chapter six what he was talking about in chapter 5. It is vital that we begin with what Jesus did. If we do not understand that our righteousness is a gift that was paid for by the blood of Jesus, we will live our Christian life trying to earn what we already have. That does not mean that we have no part to play. Look at chapter 6 verse 1 through 5.
Romans 6:1-5 (NKJV) 1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
Does the fact that I have been made right with God by grace mean we should feel free to continue in sin? Paul had been accused of preaching that very thing. Some today are preaching that very thing. I love Paul’s answer. In this case I like the King James Version better than the New King James.
Romans 6:2 (KJV) 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Paul cannot even understand how anyone who has been rescued from sin could think that way. Only those who do not understand could come to that conclusion. Righteousness by grace means we are dead to sin. We no longer have to be subject to its power. In verse four we find out what God has enabled us to do. We can walk in “newness” of life.
I looked up the word translated newness in the Greek. It means just that. It can also means a renewal of life. What is Paul telling us? When we received Jesus as savior and Lord, we were made right with God. However, there was much more than that. Our nature was changed. We were put back into union with almighty God. He did something inside us. We died in Christ. Our spirit was made alive in him. A new kind of life came into us when we were born again. It was not a change of philosophy or religion. It was a change of what we were.
In weeks past, I talked about man’s creation. In Genesis 2 we learned that man was different from all other physical beings. Their life came with their creation. However, man’s body was formed without life. It did not become “a living soul” until God breathed into it. Man came alive from the inside out. The source of his life was direct union with God. When Adam fell, that connection was lost and he was instead connected with the devil by nature. He was still alive from the inside out by the source of his life was not the purity of God. It was the evil of the Satanic nature. It was spiritual death (Ephesians 2:3 and Romans 5.)
What happened to us at the new birth? We were made right with God! Our nature was changed! We became children of God in spirit once again. THE SOURCE OF OUR LIFE WAS CHANGED! We no longer draw our life from the sin nature. We have “newness” of life. We have something in us that is so much more powerful than the sin nature that we never have to give in to temptation again. I am not talking about law or will power. That is the Old Covenant. I am talking about the power and victory that grace bought for me.
I am free from sin by the blood of Jesus. I no longer have to walk in it and I no longer have to endure the earthly consequences of sin. The eternal consequences are taken care of when I receive Jesus as Lord and savior. However, the wages of sin is death. When we allow sin to reign over our mortal bodies, our lives, we open the door to things God does not want for us. We no longer have to do that.
The law could not keep it from happening but the righteousness of God by grace can. Not by making sin no longer deadly. The righteousness of God by grace gives us access to that newness of life that Adam enjoyed in the Garden. When we access and walk in that life, sin is not longer a problem. We walk above it. We do not have to pay the legal price because we just do not sin. How do we access this newness of life? Let us hear what Paul has to say.
Romans 6:11-14 (NKJV) 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.