“Wrestling With Romans”
Changed and Changing (Chapter 6 Verses 1-14)
Does all this mean that we can just go on sinning freely (v1)? Well, that would be the foolish logic of some, would it not? No, says Paul, most definitely not (v2). To come to such a conclusion would be mentally, morally, and spiritually unsound, it would certainly reflect a lacking in knowledge (v3), as to the operations of redemption. The Apostle points out that the very significance of their baptism would tell them otherwise. Their baptism was the sign and seal of the covenant benefits wrought by the Lord Jesus in his death. He died for their sin, and they died to sin, the sin-life ended there, or it should have (Romans 3.25; 5.6-11). We heard the message, the word of life, we believed, entering new life in Christ, everything that is pictured in the baptismal rite. Now because we are the beneficiaries of Christ’s death, the dynamic effect of his atonement is not only that we die to sin, but live in newness of life (v4), just as he rose from the dead (John 3.5; Titus 3.5). The question is asked (v3), know ye not? Now as Christians we should know the significance of our baptism. Perhaps this is an area the Church ought to address, educating folk sufficiently in the basics of the faith. In the early Church these basics were taught through catechising baptismal candidates, certainly so in the case of adults, so that when they were baptised, they knew clearly why, and what the significance of their baptism was. In the case of baptised infants we assume their godly parents have fulfilled their covenant responsibilities in catechising their children as they have grown up.
So, instead of carrying on living in the old sinful ways, we live out the new life given to us in Christ. To carry on in sin is to be without spiritual life, and therefore without any spiritual activity whatsoever. Our life, both the physical, and the spiritual which is unseen, show themselves in a thousand different ways, people are able to see a change has occurred, the old has gone, the new has arrived (2Corinthians 5.17; Ephesians 2.5-6). This new life reveals itself in a new value life-style, there is ongoing repentance resulting in holiness of life. There is constant renewal of life, being filled with, and changed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5.18). There is the constant work of restoration that all can see going on. Like the shop that is being renovated, it has a sign for all to see, UNDER REPAIR, SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE. Every Christian should wear one of those signs for we are constantly under repair, being restored to the image of God throughout our remaining lives. There is a call for us to be continually refreshed too (Acts 3.19), for God’s love to be poured into us repeatedly (Romans 5.5), and an experiential knowledge of that joy unspeakable (1Peter 1.8). That comes to us as we walk in covenant obedience to the Lord, in the way of repentance and faith.
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)