Tod Kennedy, December 28, 2014
Romans 6-8, The Christian way of life, sanctification, is possible—now what?
Romans 6, Union with Christ makes the Christian way of life possible
Theme of Romans 6-8
Since we have died with Christ to sin and to the law we are able to serve God and righteousness (Romans 6), yet sin attempts to take back the rule by working through our flesh and every time we allow deposed King Sin to rule we will fail in the Christian life (Romans 7). We are not condemned to this failure because the Holy Spirit lives in each believer and the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (walking by the Holy Spirit) has set us free from necessary rule by the law of sin and death (Romans 8).
Argument of Romans 6
Paul, having dealt with God’s righteousness and man’s unrighteousness in relation to sin, condemnation, and justification by faith now turns to the justified ones living as slaves of righteousness for God. Believers are not to continue to sin just because they are under grace. Believers died with Christ to sin (sinful nature and personal sin) and now live with him in this new kind of life. Believers know that their old self was crucified with Christ and that Christ died to sin, so they should consider by faith that they are dead to sin and alive to God. Therefore, just as believers used to be slaves of sin, they are to present themselves to God as slaves for righteousness. Being slaves of sin had no benefit—sin brought death. As slaves of God believers do benefit—righteousness in life now, progressive sanctification, and eternal life in the future.
Expanded Outline of Romans 6
- Romans 6:1-5. The believer’s union with Christ makes it possible and practical to live the Christian way of life right now. When we first believed in Christ as savior, we were baptized—identified—into his death and were in that very moment joined to Christ (“in Christ,” position or absolute family status). This baptism is the baptism by the Holy Spirit. We became a new creation or new man, and our old self (the unregenerate Adam man) died with Christ to sin and we are able to live with Christ in newness of life, Jesus’ resurrection kind of life.
- Romans 6.6-14. The result was that sin’s legal and practical hold ceased to have authority over us, so that we are no longer slaves to sin. We can think of sin as a king master who no longer has the right to control us. In Adam we could only act under sin’s control. Sin was built in to our humanity since we descended from Adam. Now at faith in Christ the old self, our unregenerate self, died to sin and sin has nothing to control. But sin in some way still remains a part of humanity (Romans 6.6). We are now able to live the Christian way of life in the power of the Holy Spirit (the story of Romans 8) by knowing this doctrine (knowing this, Romans 6.6,9), by faith acceptance of the doctrinal truth (consider, Romans 6.11), and by presenting (παριστημι paristemi aorist imperative, Romans 6.13) ourselves to God for righteousness—making the right decisions which are in accordance with God’s will as it is revealed in Scripture. The aorist tense is used for conduct in a specific case—choosing to serve God whenever the choice comes up, not to serve sin. This will happen many times; it is not a once and done forever meaning here. We no longer present (παριστημι paristemi, present imperative for the habit) ourselves to (king) sin. We now live this new grace life and do not need to sin (Romans 6.1,14).
- Romans 6.15-23. Believers are now slaves of God and righteousness, no longer slaves of sin, and this new slavery will result in righteousness, sanctification, and eternal life. We are God’s slaves to produce his righteousness (Romans 6.17,18,22). We gain great benefit from this new slavery: righteousness in life now, progressive sanctification, and eternal life in the future. So, what should we do about this? In everyday life we should know the truth of our new kind of life, believe that truth, and apply that truth by presenting ourselves to God for righteousness, not to sin resulting in Christian life death (carnality and walking in darkness) and possibly physical death.
Select Doctrines Romans 6
- In Christ—Positional truth (Romans 6.2-5, 8, 11).
- Baptism (Romans 6.3-4).
- Walk in newness of life (Romans 6.4).
- Sin (Romans 6.1-2, 6-7, 10-18, 20, 22-23).
- Old man (Romans 6.6).
- Freed from sin (Romans 6.7)
- Grace (Romans 6.1, 14, 15, 17, 23).
- Know-believe-apply, know-consider-present (Romans 6.6, 11, 13).
- Present to God παριστημι paristemi (Romans 6.13,16)
- Slaves of God (Romans 6.22)
- Slaves of sin or righteousness (Romans 6.6,16-20)
- Sanctification (Romans 6.19, 22).
- Eternal life (Romans 6.23)
Some applications or So What?
- Because I am related to the resurrected Christ I am able to live his new resurrection kind of life.
- I do not have to obey sin when it tries to order me to disobey God because I have been set free from sin.
- I need to believe what God has done for me and in me so I can now actually live for God. This means to confidently accept as true and rely on what God has said.
- To whom am I moment by moment presenting myself to for service—to sin or to God and righteousness?
- My personal righteousness and sanctification increase when I served God and do not serve sin.
- Other. See Principles and Applications, Romans 6-8 notes.