“…How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”
If the end of Romans 5 is a crescendo of God’s grace, then the beginning of Romans 6 is an explosion of His glory. If the believer misses the juxtaposition of Romans 5 and 6, he or she will be stifled in their Christian walk. We, of course, may come to the same conclusion as Paul did here if we are faithful to compare the Old Testament with the rest of the New, however, here we have laid out in front of us the great truth that you and I share in the condition we live now – our daily walk with God. I cannot emphasize strong enough the importance of understanding this Scripture. To those who I have preached to over the years, I have purposed to include this with the greatest of frequency!
This first verse of chapter 6 is the logical conclusion we must come to. God is glorified in our obedience in His strength. However, as asserted so clearly at the end of Romans 5, our knowledge and experience of God’s grace increases as we sin and repent, freely glorying in His grace. So should we sin more, and glorify God more? Paul replies, “Absolutely not.” In fact that would not glorify God at all. It is even greater to glorify God as we see His work in us, and the mighty power of the Holy Spirit working through us!
Our understanding then of this next verse is the paradigm of the victorious Christian life. Remember, our lives can be filled with dead religious actions or dead sinful actions. Either of these mindsets operate out of the flesh and attempt to bring glory to God apart from the work of the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps the greatest mistake in the church today is the attempt of the believer to try and die to self. It is grieves me to hear a great Bible teacher use the phrase, “We must learn to die to ourselves, so we can _________.” So often what is meant, is that the believer should not give in to fleshly desires, in order that he or she may focus on God, the leading of the Holy Spirit, or some task that God has for us. Consider, however the ramifications of the person who is trying to “die to self.” The theological implications are mind boggling and often leaves the believer attempting to accomplish something that has already been accomplished. So many wonderful people have become disillusioned because of this statement.
Allow me to share something with you that is not a secret. It is a clear statement in Scripture and requires no knowledge of the Greek to discover, comprehend, or experience. This is a truth that Paul declares and reiterates over and over through this chapter, and again in letters to the churches. It is a statement that must be allowed to sink into the deepest part of your person; a statement that should change the paradigm of how you view yourself, and what your next step should be as a believer. This is the statement, “…we who died to sin…” Notice the tense, and read the chapter again. You, my friend, are dead to sin, and you don’t have to try and “die to self” any longer!