In Romans 6.1, the Apostle Paul asks, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” His answer is an emphatic, “No!” Jesus Christ died and rose again so that we might progressively eradicate sin from our lives.As I explained in yesterday’s comments on Romans 6.1-4, baptism symbolizes the dividing line between sin and salvation in a Christian’s life. Romans 6.5-10 moves from symbol to reality. If baptism provides a powerful reason to stop sinning, then our actual union with Christ provides an even more powerful reason.
Consider what Paul writes in Romans 6.5-10:
If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
According to verse 6, “we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.” Christ died for the purpose of doing away with sin in us. Sin is the “old self.” It is that part of us that is enslaved to immoral passions and out-of-control addictions. God does not want us to live that way, so when Christ died, our “old self” died with him. Why in the world would anyone want to resurrect the “dirty old man” in our souls?
Now pay attention to verses 8 and 10: “if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him” and “the life he lives, he lives to God.” If we are united with Christ in his resurrection, we will live “to God.” In other words, we will live for God’s glory, according to God’s standards, and in God’s presence. Sin does not redound to God’s glory. It does not measure up to God’s standards. And it cannot be found in God’s presence. Consequently, if we are united with Christ in his resurrection, sin can be no part of our lives.
But obviously, sin continues to be a part of our lives. Our “old self” died on Christ’s cross. We “know” this, as Paul puts it in verse 6. But our final triumph over sin awaits our future resurrection from the dead, which will put us beyond the reach of sin. We “believe” this will happen, according to verse 8. It is a matter of faith.
Not just faith, however! As we will see in tomorrow’s devotional, there are practical steps we can take right now to progressively eradicate sin from our lives.