“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4
On Easter Sunday, we celebrate the truth that Jesus Christ was crucified, He was buried, but that He gloriously and powerfully rose again the third day! While we rejoice in this truth – the truth of Easter – the question must be asked, “What does Christ’s death, burial and resurrection mean for us today, right now, in 2017?”
Christ’s death burial and resurrection has affected our life here after.
We must keep in mind the truth that Romans 5:8 says, “…while we were yet sinners…” and that Romans 5:12 says, “…all have sinned.”
All of us are sinners. That is a fact whether we choose to admit it or not. Sin has been defined, by some as, “missing the mark” – missing the mark of God’s holiness. But it also includes “hitting the wrong mark” – doing that which is against God’s holiness.
The result of sin is seen in Romans 5:12 – death – eternal death in hell.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:14-15
Three times in Romans 5:1-11, it states that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, died for us. He died so that we would not have to! Through faith, we must receive His gift – the gift of eternal life.
“That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:21
Romans 5:1-11 describe for us the benefits we receive once we have, through faith, received Jesus Christ.
- We’ve been justified. (vs. 1) God no longer sees our sin; He sees the righteousness – the holiness of Jesus Christ!
- We have “hope of the glory of God.” (vs. 2) We will one day enjoy life in Heaven!
- We shall be saved from wrath. (vs. 9) We do not need to fear the wrath of Hell any longer!
- We shall be saved by His life. (vs. 10) His death has paid our penalty!
- We have received the atonement. (vs. 11) Our sins can be forgiven and covered by the blood of Jesus Christ!
These are all the results of salvation which will affect our life here after. We have been saved from the penalty of sin. We know that one day when this life is over that we spend eternity in Heaven.
But what about right now? What about our life here and now? How has Christ’s death and burial affected my life from Monday through Sunday?
Christ’s death burial and resurrection has affected our life here and now.
In Romans 6:4 Paul states that “we should walk [live] in newness of life.” That refers to our life here and now!
Newness. While I don’t presume to speak for everyone, I would imagine that most individuals like – and prefer – that which is new or fresh.
- The taste of fresh baked bread just as it has been brought out of the oven.
- The fresh smell and feel of clothes that have just been brought out of the dryer.
- The fresh smell of the air after the conclusion of a spring storm.
- The smell of a new car.
Paul starts out Romans chapter 6 with a question, “Shall we continue in sin?” In other words, once we are saved and we know that our life here after is secure, should we continue to live in sin? There are two possible ways that you could approach that question.
Thank God for His grace! I can now live as I please!
Sin has such a hold on me that I can’t help but sin. Thank God for His grace!
Both of those thoughts are false, though. Why? Because of the holiness of God. Holiness – absolute perfection – is the fundamental attribute of Who God is. Adam and Eve were created in holiness and although, through them, sin has entered the world God still demands holiness.
The answer to the question, “Shall we continue in sin,” should be…
- Because of grace I must live in holiness.
- Because of grace I have the ability to live in holiness.
“For he that is dead is freed from sin!” Romans 6:7
Most Christians understand that they have been freed from sin, “I know that I’m saved and on my way to Heaven. I don’t have to fear Hell.” But practically, they are not living in the “newness of life” a life – here and now – that has been freed from the power of sin!
Too many people – including Christians – think of Sin as some sort of pet that they can carry around in their pocket that they can bring out whenever they want to play with it. They think that they are in control.
Sin is a cruel taskmaster. Sin cannot be made to serve. Sin demands to be served.
Understand this – You will serve something in this life!
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” Romans 6:16
So, if we are going to live in “newness of life” there are some truths which me must count as truth!
- We have been baptized into Jesus Christ. (vs. 3)
“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:” Romans 6:5
The use of the word “baptized” signifies that we have been placed into a new environment. We have been placed into the family of God. It also signifies that we have been brought into union with Christ. Our relationship with Christ has changed. We were once the enemy of Christ but now we have peace with God through Christ.
- We must live in Jesus Christ. Romans 6:8 states that “…we shall also live with Him.” Romans 6:10 states that “…he liveth unto God.” Romans 6:11 states that we must reckon – account – that we are “…alive unto God…”
“For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:19-20
- We are dead to sin. Notice how Paul, in Romans chapter 6, describes our relationship to sin now that we have received Jesus Christ by faith.
- We are dead to sin. (vs. 2)
- The body of sin has been destroyed. We no longer must serve sin. (vs. 6)
- We must account that we are dead to sin. (vs. 11) Whether we “feel like it” or not, we are dead to sin!
- We must not allow sin to have control over us. (vs. 12)
- We must not yield to sin. (vs. 13)
- Because of grace, sin cannot have control over us. (vs. 14)
- We still have a choice to either serve sin or serve righteousness. (vs. 15-16)
- We were the servants of sin. (vs. 17) We no longer are sin’s servants!
- Because we have been freed from sin, we are now the servants of righteousness. But unlike sin, righteousness does not demand to be served. We must make the conscious choice to yield ourselves to righteousness and serve righteousness (vs. 19).
Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, which we celebrate and remember today is an opportunity for us to consider, “Are we walking in the newness of life?” While we know that our life hereafter has been affected for the better, what about our life here and now?
President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.”
Booker T. Washington remembered the Emancipation Proclamation in this way, “As the great day drew nearer, there was more singing in the slave quarters than usual. It was bolder, had more ring, and lasted later into the night. Most of the verses of the plantation songs had some reference to freedom. … Some man who seemed to be a stranger (a United States officer, I presume) made a little speech and then read a rather long paper—the Emancipation Proclamation, I think. After the reading, we were told that we were all free, and could go when and where we pleased. My mother, who was standing by my side, leaned over and kissed her children, while tears of joy ran down her cheeks. She explained to us what it all meant, that this was the day for which she had been so long praying, but fearing that she would never live to see.”
And yet, many of those slaves, while being made free from slavery willingly yielded allegiance to and began serving the Union. By the end of the Civil War, almost 200,000 black soldiers and sailors had fought for the Union and freedom.
Will you willingly and consciously choose to walk in newness of life by yielding to Jesus Christ and righteousness?