“Wrestling With Romans”
Don’t Just Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk (Chapter 6 v 1-14)
The result of what has been said is this following exhortation (vv11-14). How as Christians we ought to live for God (v11), not allowing sin to reign (v12), yielding our bodies as instruments to righteousness (v13). Because sin’s dominion is broken, we are not under the law’s condemnation now, we have been justified by grace (v14). Is not this what the world needs to see from Christians today, the reality of Christianity, the power of the gospel in practical living, the out working of all this great theology? A renewed, revitalised, and purified Church? I guess perhaps if we had more Christians in our Churches we could do a lot more things, and a big Church after all is very impressive, is it not? Is it not more important that we be better Christians than have more Christians? Lives that people take notice of? If we really want the next generation that will take over from us to be fervent, vital Christians then we must sow the seeds of that in their lives now, and we will only do that if we are what we should be, living as Paul demands here. You want a better Church? Then be a better Christian. It will never be any better than we are ourselves. You see we can speak about, confer about, even preach about moral and spiritual reformation, but that never gets past the intellectual, it does not cost a thing that’s why it is so easy, but actually do it? Be godly? That costs, that draws persecution and criticism, even from other Christians, that is uncomfortable, and for some too much so.
You can talk about Christ’s death and resurrection, but Paul is saying here you need to get involved, in his death and resurrection, yes, you personally. The moment you approach that cross, just a glance of a believing heart and you see immediately the need for renewed repentance (Revelation 2.5). You see the need for self-denial, to take up your cross again and follow him faithfully (Luke 14.27). You begin to realise that there is far too much of the world far too close to you (Galatians 6.14). You see the traces of pride that need to be broken under the Saviour’s humility (Philippians 2.5-11). You begin to see again the need to watch and pray (Matthew 26.41), you begin see that all the talking about his death and resurrection is not the same as heart involvement, is not the same as Spirit-filled commitment to them (Romans 8.5-6). That Spirit-filled commitment is nothing short of abiding in Christ, obeying that is, his commandments, meditating in and doing his word continually, a full orbed obedience to God’s whole, entire revelation. Now only grace (v14), only pure gospel grace will do it. Grace which removes the curse of the law, breaks the power of its condemnation, unites us to Jesus Christ, and fills us with spiritual power, energy, enabling us to trample upon a life-style that is sub-Christian, unholy.
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)