Romans 6:1-4 ESV
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
How is it that so many people today claiming faith in Jesus Christ totally miss this first paragraph here? Our salvation from sin is not freedom to continue in sinful practices, only now without guilt. Jesus didn’t die that painful death on a cross to free us only from the punishment of sin so that we could go on in our sin without worry that we will ever be punished.
Just because we are not under the Old Covenant Relationship that God had with the Jews does not mean we are free to continue in sinful practices. That is not what God’s grace is about. And, we don’t continue living in sin to show God’s grace, either. For, his grace is not a free pass to continue in sin.
His grace, which brings salvation, in fact, instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts (worldly passions) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14).
God’s grace to us frees us from slavery to sin, and it empowers us to live holy and godly lives, pleasing to our Lord. For, by faith in Jesus Christ we died with Christ to sin, and we were resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (See: Eph. 4:17-24; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Lu. 9:23-26).
Romans 6:5-7 ESV
“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.”
So many people today are teaching half of this, but not the whole. They look at Jesus’ sacrifice for their sins solely as him taking their punishment for them so that they are now free from all punishment of sin so that they can continue in their sins while claiming heaven as their eternal destiny.
But, the whole object of our old self being put to death was that it be put to death, for real, so that we would no longer be ENSLAVED to sin, not just so we would no longer be punished for sin.
For, being set free from sin is not just about being set free from the punishment of sin, but it is about being set free from the control (the power) of sin over our lives, so that we are now living under the control of God’s Spirit as slaves of his righteousness.
So, as believers in Jesus Christ, we are to walk (in conduct, in lifestyle) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God, and not according to our sinful flesh. We are to forsake our former lives of living for sin and self, we are to be renewed in mind and heart of the Spirit of God, and now we should be following our Lord in obedience to his commands, to walk in his ways.
Romans 6:8-11 ESV
“Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
Because of what Jesus Christ did for us on that cross in putting our sin to death so that sin no longer has dominion over us, we are to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
This means that our frame of mind, our way of thinking and believing, our attitudes, our speech, and our conduct (behaviors) should reflect that we do consider ourselves dead to sin but alive to God. For, this is not some intellectual assent to something, but this is the reality of it being lived out in our day to day lives.
In other words, what this means is that we take seriously what Jesus did for us on that cross, and we don’t take his grace for granted, but we live our lives day in and day out as though truly we are dead to sin and as though Christ’s life is now alive within us and being lived out through us.
So, this should change our whole perspective about life and how we are to live it. For, if we are dead to self, truly, then self is no longer in charge. Self is no longer who rules what we do. We aren’t driven by self, but we are being led by the Spirit of God in what we do and in who we are.
This isn’t about self-abasement, though. For, if we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, then we do need to care for ourselves. But, self should not be the boss of our lives. We shouldn’t be living for self but for God.
Romans 6:12-14 ESV
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”
In all practicality, this is what this death to sin and living to God should look like. We should not let sin reign (have supremacy, control) over our lives. We should not be walking in obedience to the passions of our flesh. We should not be presenting our eyes, our ears, our hands, and our bodies as instruments (tools, agents, mouthpieces) of unrighteousness (wickedness).
This means that we should not be watching movies, TV shows, videos, etc. which glorify the flesh and which are sensual in nature and which tempt us to unrighteousness. The same goes for music, or music videos, or YouTube videos, or video or electronic games, etc. or specific internet sites.
But, it isn’t just that. It is that our lives are not to be given over to self-pleasure. Yet, this is not saying we can’t enjoy life, or that we can’t take pleasure in food or the sunrise, or in a walk in the park, or the laughter of children, etc. But, it is saying that our lives should no longer be about self. Self should not be on the throne. Self should not be our guiding light.
We need to be those, instead, who are listening to our Lord. But, we can’t listen to him if we are drowning out his voice with all the voices the world is offering us. We can’t just give our Lord 5 minutes a day for a daily devotional and then spend all the rest of our free time feeding our flesh. Our Lord is not truly our Lord (owner-master) unless we submit to his rule over our lives.
And, then we need to be following the Lord wherever he leads us, doing what he says to do, and not doing what he forbids, too. We must not shut him out. We need to hear what he is saying to the churches, especially right now. And, we need to live like we truly have been brought from death to life, and as those who truly are instruments of his righteousness. For, this truly is what God’s grace is all about, that we walk in Jesus’ footsteps.
Footprints of Jesus
Lyrics by Mary B. Slade, pub. 1871
Music by Asa B. Everett
Sweetly, Lord, have we heard Thee calling,
Come, follow Me!
And we see where Thy footprints falling
Lead us to Thee.
Though they lead o’er the cold, dark mountains,
Seeking His sheep;
Or along by Siloam’s fountains,
Helping the weak.
If they lead through the temple holy,
Preaching the Word;
Or in homes of the poor and lowly,
Serving the Lord.
Though, dear Lord, in Thy pathway keeping,
We follow Thee;
Through the gloom of that place of weeping,
If Thy way and its sorrows bearing,
We go again,
Up the slope of the hillside, bearing
Our cross of pain.
By and by, through the shining portals,
Turning our feet,
We shall walk, with the glad immortals,
Heav’n’s golden street.
Then, at last, when on high He sees us,
Our journey done,
We will rest where the steps of Jesus
End at His throne.
Footprints of Jesus,
That make the pathway glow;
We will follow the steps of Jesus
Where’er they go.
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