Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ: Romans 6:1-14

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?”  (Rom. 6:1)

In other words: If God is so forgiving, why change? Why not continue in sin if His grace is indeed greater than the deepest stain of sin? (Rom. 5:20)

Never one to hold back his beliefs, Paul retorts to this distorted line of reasoning: “By no means!” He continues describing the Christian’s death to sin by using the picture of baptism.

Baptism

“In the church of Paul’s day, immersion was the usual form of baptism—that is, new Christians were completely “buried” in water. They understood this type of baptism to symbolize the death and burial of the old way of life. Coming up out of the water symbolized resurrection to new life with Christ” (NIV Study Bible).

Baptism is a witness to the world that one identifies with Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory."  - Colossians 3:1-4

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”  Colossians 3:1-4

So What?

God’s amazing grace covers all our sins, but His forgiveness doesn’t make sin less serious. Although His mercy and pardon are free, it cost Jesus His very life to pay our ransom from sin. God never intended His unlimited reservoir of grace to be wasted, or become an excuse for immorality.

As long as we are here on earth we will feel the pull of sin and temptation, but through the indwelling Holy Spirit, God frees us from sins’ captivity. If we think of our old, sinful life as dead and buried, we have a strong motive to resist sin and enjoy this new life with Christ. This is the believer’s daily choice and responsibility. (For more on this concept see: Galatians 3:27, Colossians 2:12 and 3:1-4.)

The Holy Spirit’s Filling—Part 1

“The Holy Spirit can be in you, and yet you can know very little of His power and influence. The issue we always have to deal with is not how much of the Holy Spirit we have, because we [Christians/believers] all have Him. The issue is how much He has of us . . . . The filling is crucial to experiencing the Spirit’s benefits . . . . The absence of this is spiritual defeat and, ultimately, disaster.”  – Tony Evans

The Bottom Line

It is impossible to live the Christian life on our own (John 15:5).

Christianity—A Supernatural Life

When we were saved, we did not lose our sinful desires. (If you’ve been a Christian for a while, you know this is true.) I used to think: If I just try harder, then I will succeed in my Christian walk. 

XXX

Self-improvement programs don’t work long-term (Romans 7:18-21). The only solution for the “flesh” (sinful desires) is crucifixion with Christ (Galations 2:20). Because the Christian life is a supernatural life, we need supernatural help. This is why God gave us the Holy Spirit—“He who is in you” (1 John 4:4).

Tony Evans writes: “The Spirit’s filling is for every believer . . . . We have to appropriate or claim it because it is not automatic. Every Christian has been baptized into the body of Christ, and every believer is indwelt by the Spirit. But not every Christian is filled with the Spirit. If we were, a command to be filled would not be needed.”

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit . . . .” – Ephesians 5:18

The Holy Spirit’s Enablement

When filled with the Spirit, He enables us to overcome temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). He also empowers us to be effective witnesses for Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8).

I love Ephesians 1:18-21: I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

How can a believer know he/she is filled with the Holy Spirit?

Next week—part 2—I will explore the meaning of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Have a great week!