“Wrestling With Romans”
It’s a Done Deal (Chapter 6 Verses 1-14)
There is something else believers ought to know and that is that we are united to Christ in his death and resurrection in our baptism (v5). Those two aspects of his saving work are mighty deeds, conclusively historical facts, but he did so, so that we might, through him, enter new life. One facet assures the other, his death equals our death to sin his resurrection equals our being raised to new life. So we ought to know (vv6-7) that the old man, the sinful self has been crucified, dead and buried. As believers we are not made up of the old man and the new man as some say, for the old self is dead, Paul says so here, now if he is dead, he is dead, finished. So that there be a decisive break with sin, and that is confirmed in Paul’s other letters too (Ephesians 4.22-24; Colossians 3.9-10). Now because the old sinful self is dead, we are liberated, no longer slaves to him, the power of sin has been broken (v7). In the same way as with physical death, a person’s life is over, even so, from the moment we were united to Christ and died in and with him, that old sin-life was over. Well, this is the effect here sin’s power is dead, concluded for the believer, in the atoning death of Christ.
If that be the case (vv8-10), if we have embraced these great gospel salvation facts by faith, which should be basic knowledge for every Christian, then the joyous results of them are ours personally too. If he took your sinful self upon himself in his death, then you died, not like, but with him, and were also raised with him in his resurrection. In his death he dealt with the cause of death, sin, and having defeated sin, rose gloriously from the tomb dealing the death-blow to death’s stranglehold over us (v9). Now what the Lord Jesus accomplished on that cross, he accomplished conclusively, this very important fact must be grasped, the sufficiency of his atonement (Hebrews 7.27; 9.12, 26, 28; 10.10; 1Peter 3.18). “It is finished,” he triumphantly cried (John 19.30), and his resurrection is the proof that that is so (Romans 1.4). Now the result of this is that the man Christ Jesus, resurrected, ascended and enthroned with glorified humanity lives forever in the presence of God, and that for us. Our access into communion with God is mediated in the death of Jesus, and our ongoing communion is mediated through the life he lives to God. The man Christ Jesus our only mediator (1Timothy 2.5), in his death and in his life he stretches out to us and embraces us, drawing us ever and again into the presence of God. What a great High Priest to have, what a Saviour to have!
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)