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Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Gospel of God's Grace # 47

A Study of the Epistles to the Romans

Sanctification: The Right Way of Union with Christ

Let us now turn to the meaning of these three words [know (or knowing); reckon; and yield]  in relation to the problem of the power of sin in the believer's life.


First, we must know. "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death" (6:3-4) The article "the" is before the word "death" in the original Greek. It is "the death," not a death of our own. It is the death of the Son of God.  "That like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted [bodily united] together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection" (6:4-5).

If we are to know victory over sin in our lives, we must first of all know that we died with Christ on the Cross. When He died, we died; when He was buried, we were buried (in the mind of God). This passage does not discuss water baptism, only insofar as water baptism stands behind as a symbol of the thing he is talking about here. Paul is talking about the spiritual reality: when Christ died, we died; and when we believe, He baptizes us by the operation the the Spirit of God immersing us into the body of Christ.

"Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him" (v. 6). And yet we talk about "crucifying the old man." Don't we? "The old man" HAS been crucified, if you are a Christian. It stirs up our pride for us to try to do something by "crucifying the flesh of the old man." But Christ has already gotten the victory! The "old man" means the old self; what we were in Adam. That "old man" was crucified with Christ at the Cross, and the task is finished in the mind of God. (see also Galatians 2:20).

When we exercised faith in Christ, we entered into that crucifixion. "That the body of sin be destroyed." Does the word "destroy" mean annihilation? No. Every one of us knows that although that "old man is crucified with Christ," there is still sin with us. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8). Sin is still there. Therefore the word "destroy" does not mean annihilation, but what it does mean is this: "That the body of sin might be made of none effect, rendered powerless." The Greek word here gives the idea of sin being annulled, or rendered inoperative.

"The body of sin" - what is that? It is the body we have, in which sin finds an instrument: the tongue, the hands, the mind. Sin does not find its source in the body. Sin fins its source in the will, but uses the body as an instrument. Because we were crucified with Christ the body of sin is actually powerless in our lives. "That henceforth we shall not serve sin, for he that is dead is freed from sin" (v. 6). A corpse is in view. It does not matter how great a sinner that corpse was, it is now free forever. We are not to doubt the transaction back there when we died with Him. "He that is dead is freed from sin." You cannot take a man that is dead and punish him anymore. When we died back at the Cross with Christ, the question was settled. The penalty was paid. Sin has nothing more to do with us, because we are dead to it. "If we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him." Death is past and believers are now alive in Christ and should conduct themselves as dead to the past.

"Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead, dieth no more? (v. 9). If He does not die anymore, do we? Certainly not. Some people say we can, but we died with Him, were buried with Him, raised with Him. "He dieth no more!" So we die no more. That is security! "Death hath no more dominion over Him." When He went to the Cross, He paid the debt of sin in full. And when the debt is paid in full, the creditor has no more power over the debtor. We are in Him, therefore death hath no more dominion over us.

Verse 10 sums up the matter in just a few words. First of all, when Christ died, we died. When we died back there with Him, our old self was crucified. Second, being identified with Him, we are risen from the dead, to die no more!

~Alva J. McClain~

(continued with # 48 - "Reckon")

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