New Life In Christ – NOW!
When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. – Romans 6:10-11 NLT
Jesus Christ didn’t just die as our substitute, He died as our representative. He stood in our place during His trials and the scourgings that accompanied them. He took the ridicule and verbal abuse that should have been aimed at us. He suffered the pain and agony of having his hands and feet pierced with nails – meant for us. He hung on a cross as a representative of all mankind, bearing the brunt of the penalty for their sins, not His own. That day, we died along with Christ. We were joined with Him in his death. Paul reminds his readers that when they experienced New Testament water baptism, they were symbolically buried with Christ. The very act of baptism is a public testimony of the believer’s belief in and dependence upon the sacrificial death of Jesus on their behalf. But Paul goes on to emphasize that as important as the death of Jesus was, it means nothing without His resurrection. “For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the power of the Father, now we also may live new lives” (Romans 6:4 NLT). Paul is stressing our progressive sanctification – our ongoing transformation into the image of Christ through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
The real point Paul seems to be trying to stress in this section is that, because of our identification with Christ in both His death and resurrection, we have the capacity to live new lives. “We know that our old sinful natures were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin” (Romans 6:6 NLT). That’s the crux of Paul’s argument. Because of our association with Christ in His death and resurrection, we have been set free from the power of sin in our lives. And we should KNOW that, not just intellectually, but experientially. Our experience should confirm for us that we have a new power available to us that makes a life of righteousness possible. And that power is the Holy Spirit. Paul speaks of this life-transforming power later on in this same letter. “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you” (Romans 8:11 NLT). That’s why Paul can go on to say, “Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do” (Romans 8:12 NLT). Just as Christ was raised from the dead, never to die again, so too have we been raised to new life, never to have to be enslaved to sin again. Jesus, in His resurrected state, lives for the glory of God, and so should we. Our new lives should be a testimony to the power of God in our lives. Our newfound ability to live holy and righteous lives should be a regular reminder of the reality of Christ’s death and the Spirit’s power. Which is why Paul reminds us, “So you also should consider yourselves dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11 NLT). We have to constantly remind ourselves that Christ’s death paid for our sins, but His resurrection provided the power we need to live free from sin in our daily lives. We have not only been saved, we are being saved every day of our lives as we allow the Holy Spirit to empower us and provide us with the strength we need to put our own sinful natures to death. It is a progressive, ongoing process that will never be complete until God calls us home or Christ returns for His bride, the church. Paul started this section with a simple, rhetorical question that needs no answer. “Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” (Romans 2:2 NLT).
Father, I want to live the life You’ve called me to live in the power You’ve provided to make it possible. I have been crucified with Christ. My sins have been paid for. My debt has been paid. I have been set free from slavery to sin and its rule over my life, but the truth is that I can so easily find myself falling back into old habits and living as if I am still a slave. I don’t utilize the power of the Holy Spirit in my life like I should. I try to live the Christian life in my own strength and it always produces the same ineffective results. Continue to show me how to live in Your power and not my own. The same power that raised Your Son from the dead resides within me and I want my life to reflect His presence and power in my life more and more with each passing day. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men