Daily Reading: Romans 6:1-13
“…How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”Romans 6:2b
Miles Sanford (1914-1999) wrote several books on the “identification truths” we’ve been discussing the last couple of days. As I read through one of his works, I was astonished at the amount of like-minded authors quoted who not only understood these truths, but preached them publicly. How is it then, that we have arrived at an era where good expositors – Bible teachers and pastors are not emphasizing these truths? Simple, phrases get passed around in universities, seminaries and churches. Someone has once said, “If you say something enough, people will begin to believe it’s true.” It seems this has become the case with the common exhortation we hear in church today, that we must “die to self.” Now, it may seem as though we are covering the same topic for several days. Yes, we are, but I hope to bring to light several aspects of this truth.
Today, I want us to consider the ramifications of NOT “knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him…” (v.6) Evaluate the incorrect exhortation that we are “to die to self.” This demands that the believer try and accomplish something that is impossible to do. No wonder so many people are frustrated trying to live the Christian life! You and I have, and had, no ability to separate ourselves from that old man of sin. Scripture rightly declares what we experience before the cross, we are “slaves”(v.6) to sin, and lest we think think this truth is unique to Romans; read Ephesians 2. This letter to the Ephesian church reminds them of the depth of their depravity – completely unable to repair themselves. Paul uses the phrase “dead in trespasses and sins.” Additionally, this is not a Pauline idea. Peter also said, “…they themselves are slaves of corruption;” (2 Peter 2:19). If this is not significant enough, the Words of Jesus should ring clearly in our mind, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits a sin is slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:34).
Do not think for a moment that I have inadvertently skipped over the “newness of life” portion of verse 4. We will be there shortly. Our goal is to have a firm understanding of our separation from the old man, the man of sin, the man of death is our old self – our pre-salvation self. The only way the death of the old man could occurs, was through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. Only the death and resurrection of Christ was capable of breaking our spirits free from the bondage that is the old man – the man of sin. To consider for a moment that you and I have what it takes to “die to self” is not only foolish speech, it is borderline blasphemous! Only Christ can overcome sin, only Christ can overcome death. Let us not become so arrogant as to think we can die to our old self. Paul tells us to “know this” (v.6) As the Lord leads, lovingly correct the brother or sister who uses the phrase incorrectly. Use Scripture, and be sure – you are dead to sin.