Archive for category Romans 6

The Foundation of our Faith

Yesterday we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I have noticed, however, in my own life and in the church a great lack of emphasis on the resurrection. It is in fact the very foundation of our faith. Just listen to what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:

“Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. (Emphasis Added)”

Not only there, but all across scripture you find the significance of the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ; they are not mutually exclusive. What the first accomplished, the other proved.

So I want to expound upon a few of the incredible things the resurrection of Jesus Christ achieved. This is by no means a comprehensive list and for brevity’s sake has been shortened from my original study; but I hope it will bless you as it did me when I studied it.

1.       It proved He was who He said He was. “…declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead…” (Rom. 1:4)

When Jesus walked this earth, He claimed to be the Son of God. It was for this (supposed) blasphemy that He was slain. Those watching mocked Him, saying, “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!” Yet Jesus didn’t answer His accusers with a word; He answered them with the undeniable testimony of the resurrection, appearing to the disciples and 500 after. The Roman centurion said at His death, “Surely this was the Son of God”; how much more would he have said that if he had seen the resurrection? Jesus was no mere man, no mere teacher; He was everything He claimed to be: the Son of God, the Messiah, sent from heaven to save His people from their sins.

2.       It proved His defeat over sin, leaving it in the tomb, and won life abundant now for those who believe. “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)

Paul expounds upon the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ throughout Romans 6. I am struck by the profound depth of the simple act of baptism. It’s not just being submerged under water; it’s being submerged in Christ. As Christ went to death, He slew sin in us, our old man, the flesh. And in the tomb it has stayed. When He returned to life, He brought us with Him so that we might live in new and true life. As the well known verse states, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, no longer must we walk according to our old patterns of life trapped in sin. On top of that, we can have life, peace, and joy in Him. He doesn’t just remove the old; He replaces it with something new, something radiant and beautiful.

3.       It proved that Christ has the power over death, that death shall one day ultimately be undone, and that we shall enjoy life everlasting with Him forever.  “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15:53-55)

I agree with Charles Spurgeon when he said that 1 Corinthians 15 was perhaps the most eloquent chapter in the Bible. It is a chapter of the hope of resurrection life with Christ for all eternity. It is the chapter that details the ultimate destruction of Death itself. How great this hope we have is. 1 Peter 1:3-4 says, “In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you…” It is this inheritance that we shall one day be brought to through the gates of death. For those who believe, death is not the end; it is merely the beginning into something far greater and far more wonderful than anything this life can hold. This is the hope of Christianity, and it is not some vain hope. It is not like the farmer’s hope for rain or my hope I’ll get the things I want. Those hopes might not be realized; our hope in Christ is rock solid. Nothing can shake it or move it. It is a hope based on a fact.

Do you have this hope? Do you want this hope? Do you want joy and peace and life in Christ, here and now? He is who He said He was: the Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior. If you turn to Him with your whole heart, you shall not be disappointed.

Yesterday we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I have noticed, however, in my own life and in the church a great lack of emphasis on the resurrection. It is in fact the very foundation of our faith. Just listen to what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:

“Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. (Emphasis Added)”

Not only there, but all across scripture you find the significance of the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ; they are not mutually exclusive. What the first accomplished, the other proved.

So I want to expound upon a few of the incredible things the resurrection of Jesus Christ achieved. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but I hope it will bless you as it did me when I studied it.

1.       It proved He was who He said He was. “…declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead…” (Rom. 1:4)

When Jesus walked this earth, He claimed to be the Son of God. It was for this (supposed) blasphemy that He was slain. Those watching mocked Him, saying, “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!” Yet Jesus didn’t answer His accusers with a word; He answered them with the undeniable testimony of the resurrection, appearing to the disciples and 500 after. The Roman centurion said at His death, “Surely this was the Son of God”; how much more would he have said that if he had seen the resurrection? Jesus was no mere man, no mere teacher; He was everything He claimed to be: the Son of God, the Messiah, sent from heaven to save His people from their sins.

2.       It proved His defeat over sin, leaving it in the tomb, and won life abundant now for those who believe. “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)

Paul expounds upon the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ throughout Romans 6. I am struck by the profound depth of the simple act of baptism. It’s not just being submerged under water; it’s being submerged in Christ. As Christ went to death, He slew sin in us, our old man, the flesh. And in the tomb it has stayed. When He returned to life, He brought us with Him so that we might live in new and true life. As the well known verse states, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, no longer must we walk according to our old patterns of life trapped in sin. On top of that, we can have life, peace, and joy in Him. He doesn’t just remove the old; He replaces it with something new, something radiant and beautiful.

3.       It proved that Christ has the power over death, that death shall one day ultimately be undone, and that we shall enjoy life everlasting with Him forever.  “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15:53-55)

I agree with Charles Spurgeon when he said that 1 Corinthians 15 was perhaps the most eloquent chapter in the Bible. It is a chapter of the hope of resurrection life with Christ for all eternity. It is the chapter that details the ultimate destruction of Death itself. How great this hope we have is. 1 Peter 1:3-4 says, “In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you…” It is this inheritance that we shall one day be brought to through the gates of death. For those who believe, death is not the end; it is merely the beginning into something far greater and far more wonderful than anything this life can hold. This is the hope of Christianity, and it is not some vain hope. It is not like the farmer’s hope for rain or my hope I’ll get the things I want. Those hopes might not be realized; our hope in Christ is rock solid. Nothing can shake it or move it. It is a hope based on a fact.

Do you have this hope? Do you want this hope? Do you want joy and peace and life in Christ, here and now? He is who He said He was: the Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior. If you turn to Him with your whole heart, you shall not be disappointed.

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Abundant Grace

Lately, I’ve been memorizing and studying Romans 6 with my group of friends. This has been one of the most important chapters in the Bible for my spiritual life and I think it is for many people. So for the next few weeks, this is where I’ll be. I hope you find my thoughts on this chapter encouraging and life giving.

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” – Romans 6:1

The first thing we need to do to understand this verse is look back at the end of chapter 5. Paul’s question in verse 1 is referring back to a previous statement. Romans 5:19-21 says:

”For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”

I want to focus on the amazing truth that Paul just stated: “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Though sin may abound in the world, grace shall be the triumphing force in the end. And though sin may have abounded in the past, grace has overwhelmed it. Even though the patriarchs of the faith were sinners, grace has abounded to them.

This is a crucial point of the gospel that I don’t want you to miss: no matter how heinous the sin, God’s grace can abound much more. You see that when a hater and blasphemer such as Paul comes to Christ; his sin may have abounded greatly, but the grace of God was much more abundant. No matter what he had done before that moment on the Damascus road, Paul’s sins had been taken “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12). This is the hope of the gospel, that all our sins up to that very moment when the grace of God captures us are forgiven.

Not only that, but the grace of God redeems our past as well. Past sins can be transformed by God to grow us spiritually or to bless us or even those we have hurt. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” All things means all things, and I believe that means the past as well. I imagine a man I know who was a sex addict to the hilt, even though he was married. Now that he is a believer, he ministers to men who are struggling through the same things in a way that he could not. Does that mean that God endorses that behavior in his past? No – it has simply been redeemed by the power of the grace of God.

It is an amazing thing, this grace that God has bestowed upon His people. But it is not to be taken advantage of or lightly. That’s why Paul asks the question that he supposes could be on the mind of his listeners: “Well, if grace abounds when sin abounds, we should keep on sinning, right? I mean, that’s what we’re used to doing!” Paul responds to this in Romans 6:2 –

“God forbid! How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”

The purpose of grace is not just to forgive and redeem our past, present and future; the purpose of grace is also to free us from the bondage of sin. Paul states that almost as if it should be obvious! “How shall we…?” We, who have been redeemed by the grace of God, how shall we continue living according to sin?

We are freed from sin because we are dead to sin. If you have been redeemed by grace, baptized into Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:3), then you are dead to sin. This is a simple yet profound truth that I have discovered. In Christ, I am dead to sin; but sin is not dead to me. By that, I mean this: often I thought being dead to sin meant that I wouldn’t be tempted to sin. It sounds logical. Dead people don’t respond too much, and if I am dead to sin, I must be free from temptation!

Wrong; this idea led me down a path where I believed a lie. I believed that every time I was tempted, I was slave to my desires, and I fell into sin. I thought I was supposed to be free from temptation. Yet even Christ was not free from temptation! Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (emphasis mine).”  As Christians, we cannot expect to be free from temptation; in fact, if we are following Christ like we should, I would almost say we should expect more temptations. However, take heart – you do not have to struggle underneath sin any longer! If you are in Christ, you are dead to sin. You may be tempted, but because you are dead, you do not have to respond to sin.

“Oh, to believe it! Never mind the feelings. Each time I come up against some particular sin, let me there say: I died to that in Christ. If it be a worldly attraction: I am crucified to the world and the world unto me. If it be proud, haughty self, again let me reckon: One died for all, all died. Then I should not, and need not, live unto myself – I am dead to my selfish pride and conceit and haughtiness. Let me do as the two young women who replied to an invitation to attend a ball: ‘We are very sorry, but it will be impossible for us to attend. We died last week. We are Christians.’” – L.E. Maxwell, Born Crucified

Realize, dear one, that if you are in Christ, your past, present and future are forgiven and redeemed. Realize that if you are in Christ, you are freed from the bondage of sin. Revel with joy in the grace of God. And if you stand apart from Christ today, run to Him. He is your only hope, your only salvation from sin. Do not perish in your sins, but run to the cross and let the grace of God overwhelm you.

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