In Romans 6 Paul responded to the question of why God’s people shouldn’t continue a lifestyle of sin now that we’re firmly held in the grip of grace. Keep in mind Paul used the term sin to describe a lifestyle of disobedience to meet our needs, satisfy our desires, heal our pain and pursue whatever kind of freedom suits us.
With that in mind, why should we refuse a lifestyle of sin to meet our needs, satisfy our desire, heal our pain and pursue our freedom?
We refuse a lifestyle of sin because of what we are.
We refuse a lifestyle of sin because of who we are.
We refuse a lifestyle of sin because of whose we are.
We refuse a lifestyle of sin because of what we are. Vss. 1-4.
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Paul describes the born-again experience in which we were given a new nature that responds to God’s call, God’s commands, and God’s character.
In vss. 2-4 Paul describes our born-again experience by comparing it to Christ’s physical death and resurrection.
Christ had an actual physical flesh and blood body that was crucified and then buried. Upon His crucifixion and burial, Christ’s body was rendered powerless, that is He died.
Paul compared Christ’s physical death to the death of our sinful nature through the power of the Spirit. Our sinful nature died in that it was rendered powerless and metaphorically put in a grave. That is our sinful nature no longer had the power to keep us from listening to God, obeying Him, and following Christ. The death of our old sinful nature is the reason we could finally hear and respond to Christ’s call in the gospel.
Christ rose again from the grave in a new body of flesh and bone. In the same way, we’ve been born again with a new nature that responds to the call, commands, and character of the living God. Metaphorically speaking our old nature was buried and we rose with a new godly nature which changed the core of what we are. This spiritual resurrection is symbolized by baptism by immersion.
We can compare our new self to the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly. I suppose a butterfly could still spend its life crawling on the ground, but it doesn’t have to.
Have you been born again? Do you have a desire for a life that follows the call, commands, and character of the living God?
We refuse a lifestyle because of who we are. Vss. 5-7. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.
Before Christ, we mainly identified with Adam and his rebellious desire for individual autonomy. Identity is the condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is; the qualities, beliefs, etc., that distinguish or identify a person or thing:
For example, there are times I can be identified as a Philadelphian by my accent.
Adam believed disobedience was the key to freedom only to find that it enslaved him and humanity into a lifestyle of sin. In Adam, sin is not so much what we do, but who we are, thus it’s not just a series of actions. Rather it's a way of life grounded in the belief that
purposeful, systematic disobedience to the living God is the pathway to meeting our needs, satisfying our desires, healing our wounds, and enjoying our rightful freedom.
Thank God that we no longer identify with Adam, but with Jesus Christ who rose from the grave with a new, spiritual flesh and bone body that is no longer subject to pain, death, or temptation. And that’s the same kind of body we’ll have.
Thus in Christ, our new, primary, and permanent identity is that of citizens of Christ’s new society in which all of our soul’s longings will be met completely.
We, therefore, live in ways consistent with our new identity which moves us to refuse a lifestyle of sin to meet our needs.
We refuse a lifestyle of sin because of whose we are. Vss. 8-14. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
Throughout this passage, Paul contrasted our old life dominated by the sinful nature with our new life dominated by the grace of God through Jesus Christ.
Though we’re no longer under the power of our old nature, it is still present within us and is still eager to respond to the temptations that surround us. Our sinful nature want us to live as though we have no choice but to obey its desires.
But in Christ we’re no longer have to obey the sinful nature’s impulses and dictates.
It’s like refusing to obey a boss at an old job.