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Romans 6:1-14

Wednesday Evening Home Bible Study
January 14, 2003

In this section of Romans, Paul brings much of what he's already said in this letter down to a practical level for the believer. Since God has justified the believing sinner through the cross of Jesus, Paul now calls that believer to being to think and behave like what they truly are in Christ.

We can organize Paul's words under three main verbs featured in them: "know", "believe", and "reckon".

I. "DO YOU NOT KNOW ...?" (vv. 1-7).
A. Paul asks and answers the question implied by 5:20-21 - the question of whether or not we should continue in sin that grace may abound (vv. 1-2).
1. He answers this with the strongest negative possible: (mã genoito), "Certainly not!"

2. His reason for giving such a strong "no" is because of our new spiritual condition. We have "died" to sin (cf. Romans 7:1-6); and so, it is no longer appropriate for us to "live" in it (that is, to be responsive and obedient to it) any longer.

B. To support this remarkable affirmation, Paul calls upon his readers' knowledge of the fact of our spiritual union with Christ in His death (vv. 3-4a):

1. That we were buried with Christ through "baptism" into His death.

2. This is not speaking of a literal baptism as in a church, but of a spiritual baptism by which we are brought into full identification with the death and resurrection of Christ.

3. And just as we have been baptized into His death, we're also baptized into his resurrection.

C. The conclusion Paul draws from this truth that we "know" is twofold (vv. 4b-7):

1. We should now "walk" (that is conduct our day-to-day lifestyle) in "newness of life" (that is, as those who have been raised from the dead with Christ).
a. We have been united together in the likeness of His death.

b. We shall certainly also be in His resurrection.

2. We should no longer be slaves of sin.

a. Paul says that our "old man" has been crucified with Christ. This is a figure of speech for the vehicle through which sin formerly held dominion over us and acted out its demands - that aspect of us which had no choice but to obey sin's demands.

b. The old man has been crucified that the "body" of sin might be done away with (or literally 'rendered inoperative'). We should interpret this "body" which has been destroyed, in the light of the "old man" which was crucified. "Body" suggests our mortal, physical bodies that have been habituated to sin through our fallenness; and it's this over which sin has taken possession (see vv. 12-13, 19; 8:10-11).

c. Note the progression: The "old man" was crucified, so that the "body of sin" might be rendered inoperative, so that we should therefore no longer be slaves of sin. This points us back to the original thing we're called to "know"; because whoever has died has been freed from the dominion of sin. We die that death that thus frees us through the death of another.

II. "WE BELIEVE ..." (vv. 8-10).

A. Just as we know that we died in Christ, we can now believe that we also live with Him. We can believe that our union with Him is a full one that involves us completely in both His death and His resurrection; and this means we now walk in the newness of life Paul speaks of in verse 4.

B. We believe this, again, because of something we know. We know that having been raised from the dead, the death He died was one that He died only once for all time. He dies no more; and death can no longer have any dominion over Him (Hebrews 9:27). The only thing He now experiences is life unto God. This, then, becomes our experience in Him as well (Gal. 2:20 - note: we live "by faith").

III. "LIKEWISE YOU ALSO, RECKON ..." (vv. 11-14).

A. "Likewise" identifies this as a result of what we "know" and "believe". To "reckon" here, is to consider ourselves our count ourselves to have died to sin, and to now be alive to God in Christ Jesus.

B. In practice:

1. This would mean that we should no longer allow sin to "reign" over our mortal bodies, so that we should obey it in its lusts. We are to reckon ourselves to have, as it were, died; and now we no longer "live" to hear or respond to its demands.

2. This would also mean that we no longer present our "members" (body parts) over to the service of sin's demands; but present both ourselves as alive from the dead, and our body members as instruments of righteousness to God.

C. In our experience, then, sin shall no longer have dominion over us because:

1. We are no longer under the principle of law.

2. We are now under the principle of grace.

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