Daily Reading: Romans 6:1-13
“…How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”Romans 6:2b
Some 28 years ago now, I walked into my pastor’s office. I was living the conflict of Romans 7; I knew what was the right thing to do was and was a believer in Jesus. It seemed, however, that this 17 year old was powerless to overcome sin. The phrase “it seemed,” was careful used. You see the metaphorical glasses through which my faith looked were unclear. These were fogged up by two things. First, my experience attempting to do spiritual things while being led by my flesh desires, seemed to overpower what I knew was right. As so many do, I repented, tried again, only to fall flat on my face again. Second, my knowledge of God’s Word was lacking. Knowledge alone, of course, is not enough to fix the problem, but it sure helps to have light when we are trying to walk!
As an individual goes through the cycle that this 17 year old did of knowing law, repenting, and trying again in the flesh with no further knowledge, several inevitable things begin to happen. We will come to the point of being “tired of trying,” and may even give up, turning away from the faith. I praise God that I did not get that far. There is something equally as devastating, however, when a believer knows God, and knows the truth, but becomes callous to their personal sin. The believer who knows what is right and refuses to do it because they can’t seem to have victory, thus refusing obedience, is far worse off than not even knowing in the first place. Finally, there is yet another very dangerous path which must be avoided. This path is predominant in certain theological circles. This blasphemous mindset blames God for not changing the individual. This concept finds it’s roots in a out of balance understanding of God’s sovereignty. Its important to understand, remember, and know that our sin is a result of personal choice, not of God doing, or not doing something.
What is it about Romans 6 that will clear up our metaphorical glasses? Truth be told, these truths are not only in this chapter of the Bible. However, perhaps, no where are they more clearly laid before us than in this chapter. Yesterday, we discovered a simple truth which we could spend the entire year meditating on, and likely still only barely grasp the full ramifications of. This truth is that we are dead to sin. Paul examines with slight variances to drive home the point all the way through this chapter. Paul now uses the illustration of baptism (identification) in an attempt to help us understand more clearly. Verses 3 and 5 emphasize the truth that we are spiritually baptized into the death of Christ. Let’s consider this phrase as me move on in the days ahead. When a person is baptized, they become submerged or “dipped” (Greek ‘baptizo’) in a liquid. Water baptism is not, however, what Jesus is talking about here. To dip is to take on the characteristics of. Paul is explaining that we took on the spiritual characteristic of Christ at the point of salvation of being “dead to sin.” We are separated (dead) to sin. Let’s meditate on that truth again today!