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What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?……… 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
Paul asks a profound question to begin Romans 6. If we have been delivered from sin, how can we continue in it? Why do we continue in it?His answer to this question comes out over the next three chapters and so this devotion will be part of a mini-series on overcoming sin.
Paul’s question, why do we sin?, is answered indirectly by his emphasis on the fact that we are dead to sin. Death in its physical nature is quite final. In Paul’s view, if you are dead to something, then you can’t be alive in it, and thus you should not continue in that activity, namely sin, anymore.
It’s amazing to me how easy this is to grasp when we consider physical death. This year has been very tough, as we saw several people die even though we were praying for their recovery from sickness. As I stood over their coffins, it was very clear to me that death is final on this earth. No longer would we hear their voices, laugh with them, rejoice with them, cry with them. Death in this regard is cold and cruel. The crisp, cool nature of death is evident in the tent of a body that remains for one last viewing, yet we all know that this tent is so hollow and shallow and pales infinitely in comparison with the friend who is no longer present in it.
And yet despite the cruelty of death, particularly an untimely one, there is a sense of peace, that our loved one is now resting in God’s presence. And thus, there is no need to be in perpetual mourning. In the words of Jesus, our hearts can respond to his command “peace be still”. Today, I would like to challenge you to consider the idea that you are completely dead. Dead regarding any response to sin. That’s why Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20).”
To be crucified with Christ is to see his death, as your death. To consider his nailing to the cross, as the nailing of your sinful desire, and the brokenness of his body, as that of yours. Ultimately the passing of his last breath, is the expiry of sin from your body.
You are completely dead when you are crucified with Christ. But not just dead, but even buried, Paul adds in Romans 6:4.
So, let the old you stay dead. When those urges rise up to react inappropriately, or indulge, consider that they are finalized in Christ. Then, dig in and ask God for his grace to help you to stand in that very moment. It will be a process, of continually reminding yourself that you don’t have to react to temptation. May God help us, now and always.
– Pastor Olu Jegede