Romans 6:1–16, 22–23comment (0)
September 29, 2011
By Robert Olsen
Related Scripture: Romans 6:1–16, 22–23
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Assistant Professor of Christian Studies, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
It’s All About New Life
Romans 6:1–16, 22–23
Living a New Identity (1–4)
Salvation by grace is a wonderful thing. We do nothing to earn our salvation — it is a free gift from God. But since salvation is free, does this mean that we ought to live anyway we want, since our works do not merit eternal life? Paul, suspecting that some believers might make this assumption, emphatically answered, “By no means!” Paul used the picture of baptism to demonstrate that Christians are now dead to sin. Baptism is a picture of our identification with Christ’s death and resurrection. We have died to self and now have new life in Christ. This is one of the main verses that indicates that baptism ought to be done by immersion in order to properly reflect Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Instead of living life where we sin casually because we are forgiven of our sins, we strive to live life as Christ did. Christ was sinless and perfect, and while we are not either of these, we are being sanctified and made more like Him through the Holy Spirit’s power. God abhors sin; therefore, in seeking to please Him, we seek to avoid sin. This is one way that others can see that Christ has made a difference in our lives, and it helps our witness to unbelievers.
Living With Christ (5–11)
Christ died for our sins and freed us from the bondage of sin. Since Christ freed us from the chains of sin, we no longer live by satisfying our sinful desires. If we continue to sin without remorse or concern, then this shows a lack of gratitude for the work that Christ did. Surely if someone died to save us — and this is what Christ did — then we ought to demonstrate proper gratitude and love by not obeying our sinful desires.
We have been crucified with Christ. Obviously no one reading this has actually experienced a physical crucifixion, but we experience new life because our old bondage to sin has been destroyed. The new life we have is not only a future eternal life after our bodily resurrection but also a new life now, one in which we are not slaves to sin. We have the Holy Spirit’s power living within us, which gives us the ability to say no to sin. The more we live with Christ and obey God, the more we are being sanctified, that is, being more and more Christlike.
Furthermore Christ’s death was a death to sin, a perfect sacrifice, once for all. This demonstrates the end to the sacrificial system that was prevalent in the Old Testament, which was God’s way of atoning for sin.
Living As God Wants (12–14)
Paul emphasized to his readers that Christians need to avoid sin and live for Christ. Serving a holy God, we need to live in a holy fashion. There is no excuse for tolerating sin in our lives, even though we are still sinners. Sin is not our master. We are no longer slaves to sin because we no longer live under the law. The Old Testament law brought about fear and judgment. Grace motivates us out of a sense of love. If God died for us and saved us, then out of love, we seek to be obedient and serve Him.
Living for a New Lord (15–16, 22–23)
If a Christian persists in living in a sinful fashion, then this is problematic. Paul said we are slaves to whom we obey. This means there are two choices: one, we are slaves to sin, which is evident if we live a life of willful disobedience to God’s commands, or two, we are slaves to righteousness, which is evident in our actions and how we perceive sin. If we have a hatred for sin and repent of our sin, then this demonstrates our love of Christ. If we persist in sinning with no remorse, then this suggests an unrepentant heart, which is antithetical to the Christian life and requires serious introspection. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 13:5 that we are to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith. Being a Christian is not a matter of saying a prayer and living like our former selves. Being a Christian means following Christ and His commands. We have been set free from sin, which should be evident in our lifestyle and attitude toward sin.