Focal Passage: Romans 6:1-14
The world is changing. In 2011 we have witnessed massive
struggles for government control in North Africa.
These struggles have been proclaimed by many in the media as
the overthrow of tyrannical dictatorships in favor of democracy — a real
people’s movement. If only it were so easy.
What we see on the world scene today could, however, serve
as a metaphor for what happens within the heart of Christian believers. We are
also engaged in a spiritual battle, and there are eternal consequences for the
The apostle Paul was a well-traveled man. During his three
missionary journeys he had done verbal combat with many adversaries: Judaizers,
Gnostics, Stoics, Epicureans, and the Libertines.
To use today’s language, he had confronted the most extreme
fundamentalists and the most raging liberals. Not only was he fighting
anti-Christian forces outside the church, but he daily battled harmful forces
In the context of this passage, however, it seems clear that
the spirit and doctrine of the Epicureans and Libertines had infiltrated the
church, causing considerable confusion and damage. Simply put, the basic life
goal of these groups was “pleasure.”
Perhaps you’ve heard the statement, “Eat, drink, and be
merry, for tomorrow you die.” Liberalism resulting in licentiousness was a
powerful force in Paul’s world, particularly within metropolitan cities such as
Corinth and Rome.
The problem for the Christians, however, was that actions
Yes, they were saved by grace, not works.
Yes, faith was more important than circumcision. But grace
and faith in Christ also had its expectations. The Christian experience wasn’t
a license to sin, and it certainly wasn’t permission to sin more (v. 1-2).
In this passage Paul contrasts the old self with the new
self, and death to resurrection. Let’s look at these contrasts. Paul says that
in the Christian experience, the “old self is crucified.” Christians should
consider themselves “dead to sin (v. 11).”
We are not what we were, and we are not to ever return to
what we were. Jesus Christ was crucified for our sins. That sacrifice had
eternal consequences, and we must always take the cross seriously.
As Christians, we now live in a new relationship to God.
Jesus Christ has given the Christian “new life.” As Paul said in verse 4, we
are to “walk” in a new way of life. Paul is talking “lifestyle” here; daily,
growing, genuine and vital. When unbelievers watch us, they should see the
“likeness” of Christ. Jesus arose from the grave with a “glorified” body. Our
lives are to reflect His glory.
(SPECIAL NOTE — Thank you for your continued support of the Biblical
Recorder site. During this interim period while we are searching for a new
Editor/President the comments section will be temporarily discontinued. Thank
you for your understanding and patience in this. If you do have comments or
issues with items we run, please contact [email protected]
or call 919-847-2127.)