|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2007|
|When a man comes to understand why he is what he is and where it came from, his whole perspective on sin changes. When he turns to Christ and puts his faith into Christ, he is never again related to sin like he used to be. That, says, Dr. Barber, is the whole point.|
To understand Romans 6 you have to realize that the Apostle Paul is driving home a truth: We no longer have the same relationship to sin we once had. In other words, when a person comes to Christ, he turns. He renounces that sin as he puts his faith into the Lord Jesus Christ. What has happened so often is that we have tried to get somebody saved without helping him to realize that he is lost! He is trying to get into heaven without realizing he is in Adam and must be in Christ. Salvation is not just getting us into heaven; it is getting heaven into us! It changes us from within! That is what Paul is bringing out.
When a man comes to understand why he is what he is and where it came from, his whole perspective changes. When he turns to Christ and puts his faith into Christ, he is never again related to sin like he used to be. That’s the whole point.
There are some important things we desperately need to understand about our salvation, so Paul begins to bring it out. He uses the phrase, “What? Do you not know this? Are you walking around calling yourself a believer, and you don’t have this understanding in your life?”
Look back at 6:1: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?” He says in verse 2, “May it never be!”—It’ll never happen! That’s the most absurd thing a Christian could say.—”How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” “How shall we who died” is in the aorist indicative active. Let’s say yesterday I picked up a ball and I threw it. That’s aorist indicative active. I picked up the ball. I threw the ball. I participated in the action. It is a historical fact. I did it. I died to sin. There’s your repentance right there.
Look in Galatians 5:24. It is so important to grasp this: “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” There is something going on here. There is a conscious choice. There is a turning away from. That is what he is saying. What do you mean by asking if you can go back and live in sin again? What are you talking about? Don’t you understand? You turned away from it. You renounced it. You’re dead. You’ve died to sin.
Verse 6 takes us to a deeper understanding of everything that Paul is saying. He continues to build his answer to the question in verse 1. He says in verse 6, “knowing this [In other words, we are coming to understand this. It is something that we haven’t got all the knowledge about yet, but we’re learning] that our old self was crucified with Him.”
What does “the old self” mean? It’s the old man. I’m sure that’s a term familiar to a lot of folks—the old man. Who is the old man? Everything I was in Adam, that’s the old man. It’s what I used to be. The term for “old” is not the word in the Greek that we get the word “archaic” from. It’s the word we get the word “worn out” from—a worn out, useless, old man. He is not good for anything. As a matter of fact, over in Romans 3 it says because the people had rejected the Messiah the people had become useless to God. It’s the old man, and it’s not useful for anything. It’s never been useful for anything. It’s everything you were and I was in Adam.
Adam had a son he named Cain. Let’s look at Cain. Cain was in Adam. He possessed a natural mind, feelings, taste, desires, all apart from God. He was his father repeated. He was morally after the flesh. Sin controlled his mind, his will, and his emotions. The old man—the person we were before Christ—carried on from generation to generation. Now everything that we were because of Adam is dead. It died with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:22 that the old man had to do with the way we once lived before Christ came into our lives—driven by sin, ungodly, a sinner, an enemy of God. It says, “in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self.” Ephesians is saying, “Quit living as if the old man is alive. He’s dead! He died when Christ died.”
Then Colossians tells us that at salvation we have laid aside the old self with its evil practices and have put on the new self—the new man. Colossians 3:9 reads, “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices and have put on the new self.” It’s already done. That’s what happened at salvation. That’s what Romans is talking about. We are brand new creatures in Christ.
What does II Corinthians 5:17 say? “Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature.” Where was he before? He was in Adam, but now he is in Christ. Now what? He’s a brand new man. Something new has happened in his life. The old man seems to be all that we were in Adam. That’s why we did what we did. It involves everything that we were because of Adam. The only way to get out of Adam is to die, and now be born into Christ, to be spiritually birthed into the Lord Jesus Christ.
Some people confuse the old man with the flesh. You can’t do that. We are going to talk about dealing with the flesh later. But now we are talking about the old man. That is the person you and I were in Adam that has now died when Christ died. Why was it necessary for the old man to die? Well, it says in Romans 6:6: “our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with.” The word “that” in the Greek is hina. It means “in order that.” It means “A” comes before “B”. “A” has got to happen before “B” can happen. We had to die. The old man had to die before I could become a new creature in Christ.
Paul goes on to say, “that our body of sin might be done away with.” Now this translation leaves a lot to be desired. It doesn’t mean to be “done away with”. If you think for one second that because you are now a believer you can’t sin any more, forget that! That’s not what this verse is teaching. “Done away with” here means “to be rendered powerless.” That’s what it means. This is what happened to you; this is what happened to me. But I’ve still got choices to make.
Every day I live, my flesh beats me to death. It says, “Come on. Do this. Do this.” But my spirit says, “Don’t you dare!” The flesh is pulling and tugging against the spirit at all times. But we know this is the truth: if you choose to live under its power, it’s your choice. Sin to the believer is a choice! If you choose to let it have power over you, then that’s your problem. But it doesn’t have power over you if you choose to believe and live in light of what God has said.
The body of sin is soma. It’s my body. Paul says the outer man is decaying. This body is dying. I know that it’s dying. I can tell every day that it’s dying! This body is dying, and because this body is dying, it’s unrenewed. Because of that, the propensity to sin is in it. This is where the flesh is. The flesh is deeply entrenched into this body that we live in every day of our lives. This body is trying to have power over us, but the Word of God says it doesn’t have power over us. Some Christian might say, “Well, it does over me! It does over me. I’ve been trying to quit smoking for years. I just can’t quit smoking.” The Word of God says, “Oh, yes you can!” It’s like the Apostle Paul is saying, “What? Do you not understand this? Who lied to you and told you that you have a habit in your life that’s empowering you?” The body of sin has been rendered powerless. We have been set free from the power of sin. That’s what he’s teaching here.
“Well,” you might be saying, “I don’t like that.” Well, I didn’t tell you that you were going to like it. I didn’t write it! That’s what he said. That the body of sin might be done away with? No. That it might be rendered powerless. That’s why, when I sin now, I have to confess it. It wasn’t something that just happened. Something didn’t make me do it. I chose to do it. You don’t sweep sin under the rug as a Christian. You have to put it under the blood by confession and repentance because you’re responsible before a holy God for committing that sin.
We should no longer be slaves to the sin. Everything that used to control us, that old nature of Adam that was in us and still has the propensity, is still left in us. But listen, we have brand new hearts. The Spirit has come to live within us. We have been united with Christ’s life. Something has changed from within. Therefore the corrupt nature that was passed down from Adam has been broken and we now have a brand new heart. Something new is in us.
Verse 7 wraps it up: “for he who has died is freed from sin.” I don’t know why the translators translated it “freed.” When I tell you what it means, you’ll understand. The word is dikaioo. It’s the word that means to be declared righteous. But more than that, it means to be shown to everybody that you are declared righteous. What is Paul saying here? He that has died to sin is freed from sin. When you see a believer change their lifestyle, when you see a believer repent, when you see a believer break a habitual sin, and you see that person start living holy before God, you see a person who has been set free. You see a person who has been declared righteous.
This idea that God tolerates sin today is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. It has nothing to do with God’s grace. God’s grace doesn’t give us license to sin. One sin caused the fall of the human race, and it cost Jesus His life on the cross. God hates sin. When will we ever understand it? Our relationship to sin now is supposed to be entirely different.
Something has happened within us. Don’t ever say you can live immorally during the week and come to church on Sunday and claim to know Christ. Don’t ever think that! Now you may be a Christian, but you’re miserable. You’re a new creature—whether you know it or not. Something happened to you when you put your faith into Christ. You renounced sin and you turned to Him. That doesn’t mean you can’t sin. That doesn’t mean the habit of sin won’t come into your life, but it means that you are freed when you live righteously before God like He wants you to live.
Well, there are three things coming up that we want to see in verses 8 through 11. I want to nail them down for you. I think they will help us understand. I don’t want to go too slow, and I don’t want to go too fast. I’m trying to keep a balance in Romans. I don’t want to lose you by just taking a verse at a time. I’m trying to get enough in here that you can see what’s going on.
In verse 8 he shows us what we ought to be believing daily concerning our life with Christ: “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.” “Have died” is aorist active indicative. There it is again. It keeps coming up, doesn’t it? I died!
When I chose to turn to Him and turn away from sin I died. “We believe” is present active indicative. Something is constantly going on—durative action. Now listen. It means that what we say we understand, we are allowing to control our lives. That’s what the word “believe” means—to give yourself to; to give over to; to throw your full weight upon.
We are believing this—present tense. What are we believing? That we shall also live. If we have died with Christ, then daily when I wake up in the morning, I am believing that I shall forever live with Christ. He’s not talking about one day when Christ comes. If he were, he would go back to that little word meta. Remember the two different words? One day we will be with Him, in the company of Christ. He’ll not be in us, we will be with Him in that word.
He uses the word sun again and suzao. Zoe is the word for life—essence of life. So in other words, we will live with Him. He is the essence of everything that we are. Think about that for a second. The Holy life of God has somehow been intertwined into my life.
He lives in me! That’s the whole idea that Paul is trying to get across. When you start talking about turning away from sin and living holy, you got to remember the holy, divine presence of God lives in you. Philippians 1:21 says, “For me to live is Christ [it’s the very essence of everything I am] and to die is gain.”
Colossians 3:4 reads, “When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” He is not pointing to a future time. He is pointing to right now. So there are some things we are believing every day: “Lord, I have turned away from sin. How am I to live holy? You live in me. You are holy! Therefore, I live with you every day of my life.”
“We believe” in Romans 6:8 is in the present tense. What do we believe? We believe we have been justified. We believe we have died to the sin with Him. We believe we have been baptized into His death. We believe we have been raised to walk in the newness of His life in us. We are believing this very moment, every day. Every day that I live I have to believe (adhere to, allow it to affect me) that Christ’s life is in me and that’s what enables me to keep my life free from sin day by day. If I do sin, that’s what convicts me so that I can bring it back to the cross and confess it. Suddenly we see that sin is what He had to die for, and our relationship to sin changes.
So we are believing something every day, holding on to it, giving in to it, allowing it to affect us. But secondly, he shows us what we know about the death of Christ. Because we are believing something, we know something. The word for “know” there is perfect active participle. Something happened here, causing something to happen over there. I am believing every day that I wake up. You know when I get up in the morning, I say, “God, I can’t live this life today apart from You. But You say in Your word that I’m intertwined with Your life, and so, Lord, today I’m believing. I’m giving myself to that: that you in me will live this life today.
“Knowing” in verse 9 is the word eido. It is not the word for experientially knowing, as he used earlier. This is the word for intuitive knowing. I just know it! Nobody had to teach me this. I know something. What do I know? “That Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.” Jesus absolutely defeated physical death on the cross. I want to tell you something—He is our High Priest, and He can never die! Isn’t that wonderful? He is a man! A resurrected man! At the right hand of the throne of the Father. He can never die, and His life is my life. Therefore, that means I have eternal life in Him. I can never die in that sense. Death may take place with this body. That just means separation, and the moment it takes place, immediately I am in the presence of the Lord. As a believer I never ever have to face the fear of death because He has conquered death.
When Lazarus died, one tear streamed down His face, but when He saw Jerusalem, which had rejected Him, many tears flowed down His face. We cry at the wrong things, folks! Death is a piece of cake. He has defeated death. The death that was attached to the sin has now been overcome. Death will not reign over me. Death will not reign over you. How do I know that? Because He lives forever! His life is my life, and I live forever with Him. How many Christians are not believing, so therefore, they are not knowing? You are not knowing something. Don’t you know it? Don’t you intuitively know it? Don’t fear death! He conquered death.
Well he goes on in verse 10: “For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.” Now we must understand something here. He is continuing to talk about holy living. How in the world is it that we have a different relationship to sin now? We have His life in us. Paul says, “For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all.” There are two things there. One, He died to the penalty of sin and it is no longer affecting us because the penalty for the sin of Adam and his race was death. So He came under the race of Adam, under the Law, went to the cross, bore our sin upon Himself, and now that He is dead, that death is gone, and when we put our faith into Him, that death never bothers us anymore. That ‘s the penalty of sin.
But then secondly, He died to the power of sin. When He rose, He rose victorious over anything that sin could ever do over you and me. When His life is in us, that’s how we live daily—with victory! Second Corinthians 5:21 says, “He made Him who knew no sin to become sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Remember the song “Rock of Ages”? “Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee. ... Be of sin the double cure. Save from wrath and make me pure.” This is exactly what we are saying right here in Romans.
The second great truth right here is that Christ died to sin once for all. Thank God! It’s not like the Old Testament. That what Hebrews is all about. The author of Hebrews keeps saying, “He is the Lamb.” Back in the Old Testament, this was a shadow of who was to come. Jesus is the substance, and He only had to die once, and He will never die again! His life now is our life. That’s how we live this holy life!
Verse 10 goes on to say, “but the life that He lives He lives to [the] God.” When you see the word “God” with a definite article behind it, which it has here, it means God the Father. Jesus daily lives His life to God the Father; even though He is God, His whole life is given to the Father, as we know. Therefore, if He lives unto God, and He is God, then we, having His life, are spiritually and supernaturally drawn to God. Did you know that? That’s how God does it. That’s why Philippians says, “He is in us to will and to work.” He’s the One who gives us the desire. He’s the One who moves us towards God. “You mean to tell me I’ve got to choose against that?” Yes, sir, you do!
The Spirit is what’s pulling me and moving me like a mighty current towards God. That’s how holy living is taking place. We don’t live holy outwardly; we live holy inwardly. It’s the Holy Spirit of God who is doing it from within, changing us from without.
Finally he says in verse 11 we are believing something every day because we are considering something. It is present middle passive imperative. Imperative means you had better. Middle voice: you had better do it. Passive voice: let everything I’ve taught you cause you to do this.
Consider it. The word “consider” is logizomai. It means to reason it out. Remember it says in James, “Count it all joy”? That is the same word. “Consider” means to take everything I’ve said, put it in the computer, hit the enter button and come up with the conclusion. Make up your mind. Don’t you know these things? “Well, you do now,” he is saying. Now consider them. Consider them. Present tense means don’t ever be found not considering them.
The next time sin comes against some of you, remember, if you are claiming to know Christ, and you’ve put your faith into Christ, He died for the very sin that you are trying to commit. That’s the very thing that humiliated Him when He went to the cross. Why would you want to go back and do that? He lives in us now, and His holiness in us begins to drive us like a current towards the Father. Oh, yes! We can stop it. We have to pull against the current and go upstream, though, because we have become new creatures in Christ Jesus.
What facts are we to consider? Verse 2: We are dead to the sin of Adam. Verse 3: We were baptized into Christ Jesus and into His life. Verse 4: We are raised with Him into newness of life. Verse 5: We are intertwined into His life and death; forever identified with Him. Verse 6: Our old man, what we used to be in Adam, is dead. Verse 7: We have been justified from the sin of Adam, declared righteous because of what Christ did. Verse 8: We are believing daily that His life is ours now. Verse 9: We experientially know that since the death does not reign over Christ, it does not reign over us. He has died to the sin once and for all. He ended its penalty and its power to those who have put their faith into Him, and now as He lives unto God, so we do because His life is in us.
Why should we consider all those things? Verse 1 asks us, “What shall we say then, are we to continue in sin that grace might abound?” Now, come on! Come on! What’s your answer? “Well,” you say, “yes! Yes! I can still do it!” You can? That’s odd! I thought Christ’s life was in you now. I thought that old man was dead. I thought you had become a new creature in Christ. I thought the Holy Spirit was moving you towards God. Do you mean to tell me that the Divine Referee of God is not going to call you on it when you start going back to what you used to do?
Hebrews 12 said we obviously can do it, because he says, “He chastens and disciplines and scourges those whom He loves.” I’m glad the Father is faithful to correct. How could a Christian live habitually in sin? How could he go back to live like he used to live?
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace might abound?” You answer it. Absolutely no, sir. We have been radically transformed.