I would guess that most of us reading this right now are born again…..saved ….in other words, we’re Christians. At times, many of us find ourselves in a struggle. We do things….say things…that we know are wrong.
We sin…and afterwards we are filled with shame and guilt.
We know that God washes away our sins with the blood of Christ. (1 John 1:7)
1 John 1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
And we know that when we confess our sins God forgives us and cleanses away all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
So, God has put in place a spiritual mechanism, if you will, for removing the sin and the effects of the sin we allow the devil to bring into our lives. That’s a good thing but isn’t it tiresome and disappointing when we see ourselves in that sin-confess-sin-confess cycle?
It is my hope and prayer that what we consider in this teaching will cause us to open our hearts to the Lord for Him to do a deep adjustment in our souls.
Join me by praying this aloud: “Father, will You do that for me….please? Will You open my heart to You so I can be freed from the sin-confess cycle? I present myself to You right now to DO JUST THAT. Amen”
All the verses I will quote in this piece are from the New American Standard Bible because that is what I was reading when I received this Word. I’ll start in Romans 5:15 and will move quickly through Chapter Six.
First, I want to ask a question that I hope we can answer by the end of this article:
“Why do we live, even as Christians, doing things we KNOW are wrong to do?”
In his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul was reviewing what had happened to and for them through them receiving Jesus as their Lord and them being saved.
"For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:17)
The first “one” was Adam. Paul is contrasting him with Jesus, who came to fix everything Adam broke. Jesus came bearing a superabundance of grace and righteousness.
"So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men." (Romans 5:18)
Adam brought condemnation to all mankind and separation from God. Jesus brought justification. It literally means “an acquittal of all charges.”
"For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous." (Romans 5:19)
Adam’s disobedience made us into something: habitual sinners. The obedience of Jesus to His Father made us righteous.
The problem, though, is that from our birth until the day we are saved, all we know is how to sin. Even the “good things” that we do are done for sinful reasons. The information of how to survive through sin is stored in the memory banks of our brains.
Why do we still live like that? We do it because we think it gets us what we need. We do it because, even though we often are aware it is wrong to do…we still think it is good to do.
"The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 5:20-21)
Paul tells us that God gave the Law so that transgression or, literally, “side slips” – error…sin would increase.
There are two things for us to see here today.
1) God hates sin but He gave the Law so we would know for sure that we were sinning when we sinned. It’s a way to measure good and bad.
2) God knew that because of what Adam did in the Garden we would instinctively break any rule that was presented to us.
Paul says, “but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more…” The more we sin, the more grace God had for us. This is why it is bogus for anyone to ever say that what they have done is too much for God to forgive.
God has LOTS of grace for us.
God knows how some people think. He knows that some people will think, “Well, God has lots of grace for my sin…so I’ll just sin as much as I want because God will forgive me anyway!”
Paul addresses this idea:
"What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?" (Romans 6:1-2)
I’ve lost count of how many I have prayed with to receive Jesus as Lord. I’ve done a lot of prison ministry and other kinds of ministry over the years.
Having said that, I’m not sure that we do a great job of leading people to Jesus sometimes. Oh, we pray the “sinner’s prayer” with them and baptize people and that’s great. People DOget saved.
My concern is that we often are not telling people exactly what has happened to them when they are saved and we can see the result of that in how they live AFTER they are born again. So many seem to live after receiving Jesus as Lord as if nothing has happened to them.
For instance, how many of us were taught that when we prayed to receive Jesus as our Lord that we would literally “die to sin” like Romans 6:2 says we did?
I wasn’t. I was told that all my past sins would be washed away and that if I died right then, I would go to heaven. That was true, for sure, but it wasn’t the whole truth.
Perhaps the reason that what follows in Romans 6 was first written to the Christians in Rome is that Holy Spirit wanted them (and us) to know more of what happened when we were saved.
God is going to reveal the “spiritual mechanism” He put in place to rescue us from not only the sin debt that was bringing us straight to Hell but also His plan for changing us in a completely fundamental way.
He was grieved that our automatic go-to lifestyle was to sin. He was grieved that we lived as those who had no other choice….because WE HAD NO OTHER CHOICE…. and He loves us.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
He loves us so much that He set in place a way that we could not only be rescued from our sins….but also from our lifestyles of sin.
"...for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:11)
The word “soter”, translated “Savior” means “deliverer….rescuer.” He has rescuedus….saved us from the trap of habitual and instinctive sin.
"I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm." (Psalm 40:1-2)
If you have never cried out to Him to save you. Perhaps today is YOUR day.
God reveals His plan…His spiritual mechanism to save us from lifestyle sin AND our sins. He had some things in mind for us and to do that He had to do some things in a sequence that leads to what He had in mind.
"Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?" (Romans 6:3)
Did you know that you were literally placed into Jesus…baptized into Him when you prayed to receive Him as your Lord? And that when that happened you were baptized into His death?
Galatians 2:20 says that we were “crucified WITH Christ.” So, we were. (Romans 6:6 will say that too.)
"Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:4)
God wanted us to “walk in newness of life.” He wanted us to habitually live a new lifestyle – one that wasn’t automatically sinful. To do this, we had to be buried with Jesus so we could be raised with Jesus but - it isn’t love to bury a person alive. So something had to happen first.
"For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection," (Romans 6:5)
We had to join Jesus in His death so we could be buried and raised with Him.
"knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;" (Romans 6:6)
So, from God’s viewpoint, we HAD to die so Holy Spirit baptized us into Christ when we prayed to be saved and the people we were (who could not resist sinning) were crucified WITH Jesus.
God wanted “our body of sin to be done away with” because that was the only way we could ever be freed from being slaves to sin. We HAD to die with Jesus. Why?
"for he who has died is freed from sin." (Romans 6:7)
Because dead people stop being slaves.
So, we had to die. It was the best way.
Looking at these last few verses backwards we can see the plan of God for us. God thought:
“I love them so much that I want them to be freed from sin. The only way that can happen is for their body of sin to be done away with. The only way THAT can happen is for them to die with Jesus so that I can resurrect them WITH Jesus. The only way they can die with Jesus is for Holy Spirit to baptize them INTO Him. The only way THAT can happen is for Jesus to go to them and die for them. Only then can my beloved children be restored to Me.”
Isn’t His love for us HUGE?!?!?!
So, we died with Christ but we did not stay dead. We rose with Him, too! That’s good news!
"Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him." (Romans 6:8-9)
Colossians 2:12 and 3:1 both refer to Christians having been raised from the dead WITH Jesus. So, we were!
God wanted us to never be under the authority of a bad master ever again.
Death is a bad master. Death comes through sin. We’ll see in Romans 6:23 that death is the payoff or wage of sin.<