Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Romans 6:1-11 The New Self Cannot Sin

KEY TEXT: Romans 6:1-7, 11 Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self  was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin... So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

KEY THOT: Paul makes it quite clear that grace is not our rationalization for sin but our reason for righteousness. Grace is God putting to death in Christ our old sinful self, and raising us up with a new righteous self. The solution to the old self is not reformation but death. Salvation is not about reforming the old sinful self but rather of putting the old self to death through the actualizing act of water baptism and being raised with a new self created after the righteous image of Christ: "put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteous(ness and holiness" (Ephesians 4:22-24). 

For this reason, we should now "consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus" (v.11). We ought not to keep our old self alive by repeating the mantra that "we are just sinners". Instead, we should affirm the reality that that the old sinful self is already dead once we are baptized and that we are now renewed with a new self that has been "created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness" (Eph. 4:24). If we believe the old self is still alive, our conduct will conform to our belief. But if we believe that God has through our baptism put to death the old self of sin, and has given us a new self of righteousness that cannot sin, then our conduct will reflect our belief: "Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God" (1 John 3:9, NKJV). 

The "seed" of God is the new self, the divine nature in us.This new self "cannot sin" because it is God's seed in us. So we have a choice here: to pattern our conduct after our old sinful self by repeating the lie, "we are only sinners" or to pattern our conduct after the new righteous self that cannot sin by affirming the truth that "we are righteous saints because our old self is dead and we now live by our new self". 

That is why Paul says in Romans 6:11, "So, you must consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus." So, let's stop considering ourselves as alive to sin but as dead to sin--and live by this new truth that "by the grace of God I can help it" and not by the old lie that "despite grace I can't help it."

Abba-Father, thank God that by grace You have not only forgiven our sins but have put to death the old sinful self in us through the act of baptism. And You have also given to us the new self created after the likeness of God which cannot sin. May You grant us grace to live according to the new self of righteousness, not the old self of sin. For Jesus' sake, Amen.

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