April 7, 2017 – Friday
Read: Romans 6:1-11
Focus: vs. 4
“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
“Repent and be baptized!” That was the cry in the wilderness from John the Baptist as he prepared the way for Jesus to come and minister. The idea of repentance is to turn completely around and go the opposite direction. If you are heading north, repentance would turn you back to the south. East and west aren’t good enough. When we repent from sin we are choosing to turn around and walk in the opposite direction.
Paul takes up the issue of repentance in Romans 6 when he deals with the question of “shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” At the end of chapter 5 he says, “But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” This introduces some crazy logic that Paul needs to dispute. If the increase in sin causes an increase in grace then it follows that even more sin will bring about even more grace. And who doesn’t want more grace? So sin away in order that you may experience more grace! The problem is repentance. Paul says this is crazy talk because we have been baptized into the death of Jesus; we were buried with him. We have died to sin and, if that is the case, then how can we act as if we are alive to it? If you’ve turned around and gone the other direction from sin, how can you keep on sinning?
Paul goes on to say, in verse 7, that “anyone who has died has been set free from sin.” This is in reference to the idea of slavery he introduced in verse 6 (“we should no longer be slaves to sin”). Before accepting Jesus into our hearts we are slaves to the master of this world. Sin had dominion over us but, since we are buried with Jesus and now are alive in Him, sin no longer has that dominion. The bond has been broken so that it is no longer our master. In verse 10 Paul talks about Christ defeating death when was resurrected. He says, “The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.” In Christ, then, we are “dead to sin but alive to God.” Sin no longer has dominion over us.
Maybe that’s all a lot of theological gobbledygook. It can get muddy for sure but here is the point: Before accepting Jesus sin was your master – but not anymore. This means that, before, you were bent towards sinning – you leaned towards it and it was natural for you. But now, you are bent the other direction – you lean towards holiness as God changes your nature. It’s a fight that will continue as long as you still live in a world, and with a body, that leans toward sin. So you still sin but you’re getting stronger at choosing a better way to live – a way that pleases God. You still sin, but you’re heart just isn’t in it anymore and you find your desires are to please God and forsake sin. Yes, you can blame Jesus for that. He’s changing you every day and the taste of sin is getting worse by the minute. Praise God that we’ve been buried with Christ so that we can live a new life with Him!