Dead to Sin but Alive
1What should we say? Should we keep on sinning, so that God's gift of undeserved grace will show up even better? 2No, we should not! If we are dead to sin, how can we go on sinning? 3Don't you know that all who share in Christ Jesus by being baptized also share in his death? 4 When we were baptized, we died and were buried with Christ. We were baptized, so we would live a new life, as Christ was raised to life by the glory of God the Father.
5If we shared in Jesus' death by being baptized, we will be raised to life with him. 6We know that the persons we used to be were nailed to the cross with Jesus. This was done, so our sinful bodies would no longer be the slaves of sin. 7We know sin doesn't have power over dead people.
8As surely as we died with Christ, we believe we will also live with him. 9We know that death no longer has any power over Christ. He died and was raised to life, never again to die. 10When Christ died, he died for sin once and for all. But now he is alive, and he lives only for God. 11In the same way, you must think of yourselves as dead to the power of sin. But Christ Jesus has given life to you, and you live for God.
12Don't let sin rule your body. After all, your body is bound to die, so don't obey its desires 13or let any part of it become a slave of evil. Give yourselves to God, as people who have been raised from death to life. Make every part of your body a slave that pleases God. 14Don't let sin keep ruling your lives. You are ruled by God's undeserved grace and not by the Law.
“Well then,” a person might reason, “I might just as well go on sinning, since God will forgive me.” I suspect that when we read these words we think what a perverse way of reasoning that is! Yes, but don’t we all do it, consciously or unconsciously? Be honest. Think of the last time you struggled with a besetting sin.
Every time we do this we deny who we are. Perhaps we have never understood what happened before God. When we were baptized we were “buried” with Christ in the water, and when we came up out of the water we began a new life with him.
This is the life in which sin no longer holds power over us. It tries to, and we often forget who we are and fall back into the old life. But once we have put our faith in Jesus and been forgiven, he gives us a new status. We cannot go back to the old status.
This is radical stuff. The way most people think is that we live our lives and then die, and then . . . whatever. What Paul is saying here is that we live our “old” life, without Christ, then, when we turn to him and believe, our “old self” dies and a “new self” is born. This new life is totally different. Physical death doesn’t end it. It is forever. The great turning point is not when we die physically. It’s when we believe in Jesus Christ.
Live who you are! Sin no longer has any power over you.
Perhaps you have never thought of your baptism like this. Maybe you have never been baptized. This is so important that I urge you to find another Christian who can help you come to grips with what Paul is saying.
Lord Jesus, help me think this through. Help me, too, as I put it into practice and count myself (v 11 NIV) dead to sin. Thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit and the new life you have given me, over which sin has no power. Amen.