Newness of Life (Part 2)
“For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God” (v. 10).- Romans 6:8-10
Verse 8 of Romans 6 basically restates verse 5, reminding us that the earlier verse was something of a thesis statement for verses 5–10. Paul expanded on the first half of verse 5 in the passage we studied yesterday, and he goes into the second half in today’s passage. Whereas yesterday’s passage dealt with our identification with Christ’s death and what that means for us in practical terms, today’s verses aim to show us how we are identified with our Savior in His resurrection.
In verse 5, Paul told us, “If we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection.” In verse 8 he puts it this way: “If we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.” In other words, Jesus died and also rose again. If we are “baptized” with Him, or identified with Him through belief and confession of His name, we too die and are raised anew in some sense. We have seen that our death refers to our transfer from the reign of sin to the reign of grace, from union with Adam to union with Christ, a transfer from one stage of life to another, such that it is impossible for us to go back. One result is that our sinful inclinations have been rendered powerless to the point that we can resist them successfully. But there is more. Paul tells us that after Jesus had died to sin once for all, He began to live “to God” (although, in a sense, He always had lived to God as no other man ever had). The same is true for us. Not only do we merely defeat sin in this new life, we seek to please God, to be as much in submission to His will as possible, and to know and glorify Him to the fullest possible extent. As we do, we experience what Jesus called “abundant life.” As Dr. James M. Boice puts it, “True Christianity is living out a new, joyful, abundant, resurrected life with Jesus Christ now.”
Once again, Paul emphasizes how important it is that believers know these things (v. 9). The truths that our sinful inclinations have been “done away with” and that we now are able to live to God are facts we tend to forget in our daily battle with sin. But knowing these things is most helpful. As Boice pointedly reminds us: “What is true of Jesus is true of us. His relationship to sin, while He was in this life, has passed forever. It is true of us as well, since we are joined to Him. The key to holiness is to know this and to press on.”
In a sense, the Christian life is like the process of learning to ride a bicycle: You fall off a lot, but you have to get back on to learn. Yes, you will sin, but surrender is not an option. You must “press on,” asking God for grace to pass the next test. Remember that you have been set free to live to God. He Himself has made it possible for you.
Passages for Further Study
Romans 6:18, 22; 8:2