Daily Light #3: Dead to Sin, Alive to God (Romans 6:11)

Romans 6:11 “Likewise you also, reckon  yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The context of this verse is a most glorious context: the union of believers to Christ in His death and resurrection.  We are united to Him through baptism (vv.3,4).  There does exist debate among Christians as to whether baptism in this passage is water baptism or spiritual baptism.  While I lean more toward the spiritual baptism view, I can see Paul referring to water baptism as well, in the sense that water baptism is the ordinance of our Lord that signifies both God’s regenerating work of the Spirit and our death and resurrection with Christ, and further serves as our entrance into the visible church (see Acts 2:38,41; Col. 2:12–clearly spiritual baptism in this case).  Water baptism itself, however, does not effect a spiritual union with Christ.  So Paul is either speaking of baptism in a figurative sense (baptism thus carrying the meaning of being identified and united with Christ) or in a physical sense (water baptism thus signifying the spiritual reality of being identified and united with Christ).  In any case, our union with Christ is a spiritual reality, of which water baptism signifies.

In Christ’s death our old sinful flesh has died.  In Christ’s resurrection we have been raised in newness of life (the resurrected life!).  Paul says in verses 5-6,

For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

On the grounds and virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection believers are set free from their enslavement to sin (which all of man is born into).  No longer are we held under the condemnation of the law, for we are under grace (v. 14).  We are now “slaves of righteousness” (v. 18).  This freedom we have from sin enables us to live lives of righteousness to the glory of God.  No longer are we bound to live in willful disobedience to His word; through Christ we are now able to live in willful obedience to His word.

This being the case, we are not to let sin reign in our bodies, to obey its lusts (v. 12).  This is the constant struggle between the Spirit and the flesh (Gal. 5:16-26).  This is the life of sanctification that Christians are called to through the gospel.  The gospel call is a call to holiness in and through Jesus Christ, as evidenced by this chapter of Romans (see also 1 Thess. 4:1-8; 2 Tim. 1:9; Tit. 2:11-14).  If you are a true believer then you have been raised with Christ in newness of life, to no longer live in a constant state of sin, but unto God in righteousness.

This chapter of Romans is a wonderful passage to read and study in the midst of temptation.  Remind yourself that you are dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.  This is simply standing on the promises of God in the gospel.


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