(Summary of the sermon: 21 Feb 2016)
WHY I WILL NOT SERVE KING SIN?
JUSTIFICATION AND SANCTIFICATION
The book of Romans chapters 6 – 8 explains to us two significant truths in the life of a Christian – justification and sanctification.
In justification, Christ puts His righteousness to our account. He declares the believing sinner as righteous and removes our guilt of sin forever. But in sanctification, Christ imparts His risen life to us by the Holy Spirit. God takes the justified sinner and makes him holy.
Paul presents this concept to us in three ways.
- Deliverance from an old king and submission to new one as subjects
- Deliverance from an old slave master and subjection to a new slave master
- A widow who remarries and becomes subject to a new husband
In each case, we break free from one relationship to establish another one.
Today, we are going to study about the first illustration.
DELIVERANCE FROM AN OLD KING
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Paul had in the previous chapter written that where sin abounded, grace increased. Lest he be misunderstood, he clarifies in chapter 6 that it does not mean that we can keep sinning because our relationship with sin has now undergone a change.
At one point sin ruled over us and subjected us. We were dead to sin. But Ephesians 2:1 says that now, ‘And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins’. Again Colossians 3:3 and 1 Peter 2:24 says, ‘For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God’. ‘who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed’.
We are now no longer under the dominion of sin. We have now been moved from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.
Paul describes this transformation with four word pictures.
Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
Romans 6:3-4 ,6
Baptism symbolizes a union and identification with someone or something. When Christ died, was buried and raised, we partook in all those actions with Him. 1 Corinthians 6:17 says, ‘But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him’.
Now that may make us wonder how we could have been baptized with Jesus’ death of 2000 years ago. It is possible because God chose us before the foundation of this world. We read this in Ephesians 1:4 that says, ‘just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love’. Also 2 Timothy 1:9 says, ‘who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began’.
We were buried and raised with Christ in order to walk in the newness of life. We are called to walk in a new way even in the ordinary routine of our life serving King Jesus our new Master.
For if we have been united together (planted) in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection.
Imagine planting some tomato seeds in a pot and watching the plant grow. We were planted similarly in Christ’s death and so that we could share in the likeness of His resurrection. We can do this by walking in the newness of life.
knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
Crucifixion was a cruel form of death. Criminals were placed on wooden cross and their wrists were nailed with wooden spikes. They could either sit in a semi sitting position or lift themselves up and hang by their wrists. Either way, the weight of their bodies would pull the bones out of their joints. Eventually after many hours or days, the crucified one would simply die.
This is the picture that Paul paints when he says that our old man was crucified with Christ. Dr. R.G. Lee once went on a guided tour of the Holy Land. When he came to the Mount of Calvary, he ran ahead. The guide caught up with him and asked him if he had ever been there before. Dr. Lee replied that ‘1900 years ago, I was crucified with Jesus on the hill!’ While the two thieves were physically crucified with Jesus, we were spiritually crucified with Him on the Cross centuries ago.
Now, what does it mean when we say that our old man was crucified? William Nouvel says that our old man is our old self. It is also our old desires, lusts, ambitions, hopes, judgments looked at federally. Our old man was crucified; therefore he is no longer our king. Ephesians 4:22-24 says, ‘that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness’. We can put on the new man, the new king to whom we owe allegiance.
Interestingly, two things happened when we put the old man to death.
- Our old man was destroyed so that the body of sin was done away with. The body of sin is our human body with eyes, hands, legs and feet. It is the body that sin uses as its instrument. When the old man is put to death, it no longer holds sway over us or our bodies.
- We no longer have to serve old king sin. The old man who served king sin was crucified when Jesus was crucified so that we no longer have to serve him. For example – It is sin that prompts us to feel lazy and find excuses to stay away from church. But with our new life, we can say no to king sin and say yes to King Jesus.
Consider this scenario. Suppose after the US presidential elections, can President Obama demand that Americans continue to serve him? No. By selecting another president, the Obama administration is put out of business. We will serve the newly elected President. Similarly, we don’t serve king sin because he was put out of business by Jesus at the Cross.
If we died with Christ, we believe we shall also live with him. Death once ruled over Jesus. But because He identified himself with the wages of sin, that is, death, He vanquished it. Resurrection is proof that God conquered power over death and that His victory over death is final. Because He is free from the clutches of sin or its wages, we who share in His death and resurrection are also made free. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, ‘For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him’.
William Nouvel says that, ‘Christ is made to be what we were so that we might become in him what he is. Christ didn’t change the old man but He sent him to the cross and released us from him. Our history began when Jesus saved us on the Cross. We realize it when we die to king sin and become alive to king Jesus.
Let us now quickly look at some practical applications of this truth.
Romans 6:11 says, ‘Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord’.
God wants us to reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to God. By faith, we receive what God has done for us in Christ. ‘Reckon’ is in fact another word for ‘faith’. Though it may not sometimes feel like we have died to sin, faith says it happened. John Wesley wrote – ‘flames and feelings fluctuate. These can neither thy Savior be. Learn thyself in Christ to seek them be feelings what they will. Jesus is thy savior still’.
Once a church father took his students to a cemetery and asked them to listen to what Polycarp said. Afterwards he told them that this is what it means to be dead to sin. Sin has no control over us. We are dead to it. Even when we think we feel the urge and pull of sin, we can by faith remember that we are dead to it.
Let me give you another example. In the US Civil War, a man named George Wyatt was drafted by the union army. Since he had a wife and 6 children, his friend Richard went in his place and was martyred. Later, the army tried to draft George Wyatt again. He said, ‘Check you records. You will find that I am dead’. When we died in Christ, sin cannot legally touch us anymore. Let us believe in it.
- Yield to the new boss
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Romans 6:4, 13-14
Sin doesn’t have dominion over us; therefore we mustn’t let it reign over us. It is a deposed king. We must yield ourselves to God and serve Him. It’s like serving on a ship under a crooked captain. The company learns of his dishonesty and wires saying that he must be arrested, released of his duties and that his first mate is to become the new captain. Similarly, in our Christian life, we have two captains. Each gives us orders. We can decide whom we will obey. Paul tells us not to yield ourselves to the enemy. We are under grace that relieves the bondage of king sin and that lets us serve King Jesus.
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