1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (ESV)
In Romans 6:1-5, Paul describes the relationship which exists between the believer and sin. The believer is dead to sin. Before we were converted, we were dead in our trespasses and sins. Ephesians 2:1-3 says “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience — among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” (ESV) But when we became alive in Jesus Christ, we became dead to our sin. When Jesus Christ was crucified, our old self was crucified along with Him. And when Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, our new self was raised along with Him.
But I hear an objection to this idea. And that objection is coming from me. I don’t feel like I am dead to sin. I feel like sin is still alive and well within me. There is not a day which goes past during which I do not sin multiple times over. Does that mean that I am not a Christian since I struggle so with sin? No, that is not the case, because, if it were true, then there would be no Christians. I am not the only Christian who struggles with sin. The key to gain a better understanding is in Romans 6:2 “How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (ESV) The Christian no longer lives in sin. That does not preclude the Christian from sinning on occasion, but it does preclude a Christian who still lives in sin. The Apostle John put it this way in 1 John 2:1 “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (ESV) And again in 1 John 3:6 “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.” (ESV)
Therefore, belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ not only imputes righteousness, it also gives the power to live a life of righteousness. In Romans 6:4 we read “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (ESV) This is not talking about what we will be like after we are resurrected. This is talking about a here-and-now fact of life of being a Christian. Here are a couple of more passages from the Apostle Paul, which speak to this idea of walking in the newness of life.
20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!—
21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,
22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,
23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (ESV)
2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (ESV)
So, then, if I am indeed dead to sin, and if I indeed have been raised to walk in newness of life, why do I still struggle with sin so much? Paul is going to answer this question for us in detail in Romans 7:7-25. Here is an excerpt from this passage:
14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.
15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good.
17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.
19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. (ESV)
No, I admit that I may be way off base in the next comment, but I’m going to write it anyway. I may be dead to sin, but my sin is not dead to me. As long as I live in this body of flesh, sin still wants to have control over this corrupted body. Therefore, there is a constant struggle, a constant war, going on between my new self and the sin which wants to gain control over my old body which I am still dragging around. After all, my old body used to belong to sin – it was rightfully the possession of sin. Sin wants nothing more than to regain control over what used to be its rightful possession.
By Berean Husband