This sermon was preached at Peace Hill Christian Fellowship on January 29, 2006. To listen to the audio, just click on this link – Rom 6A.
See Death in Yourself.
Don’t Despair: “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?“ This is a difficult question to understand. Why would someone ask a question like this? Is it because Paul thinks that his readers are going to be so impressed with grace that they might decide to just live in sin? Is Paul responding to people who think that it doesn’t really matter whether we sin or not?
No! This is a question of despair. Paul has said that there is amazing, abounding grace, and that we will be justified by grace and receive eternal life. That’s great, but most of us still have a problem – we sin. And the question that we/ or that I want to ask is this: What about my sin? I am all for grace and forgiveness – but does that mean that I have to continue to live with my sin? Is it just that the rottenness and ugliness and shame of sin will continue (covered by grace) until I can finally die and be free of it? Am I just going to continue to sin while grace increases?
I see things in my life that I hate! And I see things in my life that enslave me! And I am very tempted to despair and say – what does grace mean if I have to continue in these things that feel like death?
Don’t You Know That We Have Died: In his movie, “The Sixth Sense”, M. Night Shyamalan shows a man who is killed in the opening scene – but neither we nor the man know this until the end of the movie, when, suddenly it becomes clear to him and he sees that he is dead. And with that realization everything changes. Suddenly he sees everything as it is – and not as he thought it was.
We are like that man. We see sin, things we hate, compulsions in our lives – and we are tempted to despair. We think that seeing these things means that we are dead and sin is alive in us – but to see our sin – to recognize our sin as death – means that we who were dead have already begun to come back to life.
Something in us has died – the body of sin – that person who was at home and comfortable in sin – has died! And you and I are no longer at home and at ease and blind to sin!
We Have Been Baptized into Death – Vs.3: We were baptized into his death – the picture of being totally dyed – identified with his death. We have been indelibly marked – changed to the core, through the death of Christ. How?
We Were Crucified With Him- Vs.6 : In the first place, we who have put our faith in the cross of Christ have done so because we came to see and hate our sin. The cross is the picture of atonement – our sin on Christ nailed to the cross – dying and struggling and being judged as damnable. We have become like those who stood around the cross agreeing with the punishment of our own sin – hating it and wanting it to be judged and done away with in Christ. By faith, we have crucified our old sinful self along with Christ – our sins, our justifications for our sins, our achievements, whatever.
We Were Buried With Him – Vs.4: Also, we who have believed, have Burrell our old life along with the dead body of Jesus. The picture is one in which the old me and you are put in the ground – and a new one rises up to life. We are in agreement with our own death. We long for our sin to be covered up – buried in the ground – and it is in Christ.
The Presence of Death in You is Life: This is good news! Those who have not yet put sin to death don’t recognize that sin is in them. They are like the dead man in the movie – seeing their life through a completely different lens of interpretation – unaware that they are dead.
This Means We Can Live in Hope.
Because the Body of Sin/Death is Done Away With and We are Living in Resurrection Bodies: “If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.”
Because we have become alive to the presence of sin through death with Christ – we will be united with him in resurrection. The fact that I am no longer at home with sin means that the body of sin no longer fits us – it has been done away with and our new body – the one that is going to be resurrected – is very uncomfortable in the presence of sin. Another way of saying this is that the body that made you dead has been taken away and the body that is alive is not comfortable with the death practices of sin. When sin bothers you – you are feeling ALIVE!
This means that our discomfort and hatred of sin are a mark of the Spirit of God – it means you have been marked for resurrection. It means your body is a living resurrection body. What we hate has become evidence of what we hope for – eternal life.
Because the Death of Sin is Present But No Longer Master: “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.”
The fact that we have become aware of death (sin) means that death is no longer master – sin is no longer our master. We have become someone else – we have changed identities. Satan’s biggest lie is to tell us otherwise – to say to us that the presence of sin means that we are still his – to keep us in a fearful, doubting, sad condition – a condition of unfaith.
This Means We Can Live to Serve Righteousness.
Don’t Let Sin Reign: “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. “
If we have died – and are therefore alive – how should we live? First we should recognize that the presence of sin does not mean that sin is reigning. When we think that our enemy has control over our lives and that we are showing signs of death – then the temptation is to despair.
This is where the passage began – should we continue in sin? Paul’s answer is the strongest possible way of saying NO! that the Greek language offers. Sin is not in control of your life – to believe that is to throw off discouragement and to be able to live to God.
Where are you Offering Yourself to Sin: “Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness…”
Where have we let sin reign? We need to ask this question – this is an eye opening question – it is that point in the sixth sense in which the man suddenly recognizes he is actually dead. Where have we given ourselves over and decided that sin is in control? Where have we despaired? Where have we let discomfort mean condemnation instead or letting it be a sign that we are on foreign ground?
First identify – then move away. Don’t despair just because sin will be present as you try to move away. Unnatural but present sin will not go away, but that does not mean it is in control – only present.
Offer Yourself to Righteousness: “… but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.” If we can be at peace and not despair about sin – then we are free to make offerings to God that are pleasing to him: offerings of truthful and gracious words to one another – offerings of hospitality – offerings of forgiveness – offerings of purity – of honest practice – of kindness and gentleness – of encouragement. Because we are not under Law – where such things would be required to earn a standing before God – but under grace – where such things are gifts, beautiful and pleasing to God.