2b How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin.
Romans 6:11 (NASB95)
11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about yet one more area of scripture that I think it is easy for us to see as “foolishness”. As I wrote it, I was feeling concerned about how foolish it truly is. I don’t know about you, but for me, from time to time when I’m sharing some of God’s “foolishness”, I get a sinking feeling that anyone listening must be disagreeing with me. At least one reader last week let me know just how much that was true. The people-pleaser side of my personality wants to shrink back from those moments. Thank goodness His Spirit is bolder than I and for the fact that I have a wife who gives me strength. This week’s blog is one of those moments of uneasy foolishness yet again.
Paul, in Romans 5, makes it clear that we have no righteousness of our own. Not even our best deeds are pleasing to our Lord. In Romans 6, Paul swings the pendulum fully back to the other side, and I find that most people think both truths are rather impossible. You see, Paul now enters into the fullness of what Christ has done in the life of each and every person who have given all in the pursuit of Him. In a very real way, everything, and I mean everything, has changed in the life of those who have fallen squarely into the arms of grace.
Are you ready for God’s “foolish” truth about us? We should not go on in the sinful lifestyle of our past because that person is dead. The “baptism” that is talked about here has nothing to do with water or being dunked into it. It carries the idea of being associated, joined to, or immersed in. Just as Jesus died, was buried, and rose again physically. We died, were buried, and rose again spiritually. We are not who we were. That person died and that person is not coming back to life (:9-10). Our resurrection was as completely, 100% new people in Christ. We died as sinners and were raised as saints. By the way, saints is the term that Paul uses for Christians more than any other.
Here is where we head into the oh-no-they’re-going-to-disagree-with-me category, but just look at what God’s Word is saying here, not Nate. We have been “freed from sin”. We are no longer “slaves to sin”. Our “old man” and its “body of sin” is “done away with”. We were formally “slaves to sin”. Slaves must obey their master. Prior to Christ’s work of killing the old us, we HAD to sin. Every thought, every action, and every desire had to submit to our master: sin. We were by definition: sinners.
If that is hard to believe, try this one. Christ killed the old man so that we could and would live a “new life”. The word “might” can make us think that Paul is referring to a hope, but the sense here is much more of an expectation. Why would we walk in sin when we were made to walk in a new life that is free from sin? Why would we choose to act like the person were before, ever?
In my experience, there is not much more firmly entrenched in the 21st century, evangelical Christian mind, than the idea that we are sinners saved by grace. Yet, I would challenge that assumption, and I believe you should, too. Based on this passage and others like it, we need to put that phrase firmly in the past. I was a sinner that has been saved by grace and am now living daily in His unending grace. Our identity has changed. The person we were is gone. We are now those who have been completely and utterly freed from the power of sin and its hold over us. Our job now is to stop believing and repeating an inaccurate view of ourselves and follow Paul’s instruction in verse 11: consider it true. There might be a million reasons coursing through your head and mine why we should not believe it, but we need to lay those at the feet of Christ and take Him at His word. This is the “who”. Make sure you stay tuned for Paul’s explanation of the “how” in the coming weeks.
May we believe and live in the freedom from sin that God has given each and every one of us who have trusted in Jesus’ complete work on the cross.
 1 Corinthians 1:18, also see my July 16th blog post
 Romans 5:6-9, also see my October 8th blog
 Romans 5:20