How different are you since you came to Christ? Are you a better person? Do you give more money? Come to church more often? Even volunteer some of your personal time? Often we think of our Christianity as things we do or don’t do. Things we do better or more often or the things we no longer do as much. What we need to realize with the Apostle Paul in Romans 6 is that what we have as Christians is far more radical than that; we have a new nature. We have a new heart. We are new creations. We walk in “the newness of life”. Our very life within us is new, and this newness of life results in a newness of experience.
New hearts produce new living:
We are so prone to get this backwards. We put the cart before the horse, so to speak. We like to think that if we do things differently we will be different people. The biblical reality is quite different. We are made new inwardly, and as a result we live new outwardly. Sometimes this is quite subtle, but the reality is quite real. In Romans 6, Paul is telling us that faith in Christ and the grace of God applied to us through faith has made us new. We, who were slaves to sin, are no longer slaves! You are a free person. You don’t have to obey sinful desires. That doesn’t mean you won’t, it means you don’t have to. You are free! The grace of God has set you free from the law of sin and death, and the abounding of grace overwhelms the reality of sin. That’s why Paul is being accused of teaching liberty in sinning. Actually, Paul says, its quite the opposite.
No Longer Slaves:
Should we continue sinning so we get more grace? Absolutely not! We have died to sin. We have new natures. We have been buried with Christ. Our old nature is gone. The new has come. The slavery issue has been settled. WE ARE NO LONGER SLAVES! You have died with Christ and now you are living with him. Jesus died to sin and lives to God, and now ,through faith, so do you.
Consider yourselves dead - and alive!
Paul says “consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God”. This is a new creation thought pattern...consider yourself. This is the way you think about yourself. You’re new. A new nature. Not something you did for yourself, or accomplished through your efforts, but you were “born again”. It was an act of God.
Present yourself to righteousness.
A new birth means a new creation. You are able to act differently because you are different. Paul now goes on to say “don’t let sin reign in your mortal body”. Don’t “present” yourself to sin, but “present” yourself to righteousness. First you “consider yourself”, then you “present yourself”. You have to consider yourself before you present yourself. Consider the new nature and life God has put within you. Consider the fact he has set you free from slavery. Consider the fact you have died with Christ and now are alive with him to God. Now present yourself. Ask yourself the same question Paul does. How can I who am dead to sin still live in it? I am no longer a slave. I am now free to present myself to God as an instrument to obey him and do his will.
We are alive to God!
Does that mean I should never sin again? No, it means you are not actively ‘presenting’ yourself to sin. You are not obeying the old self who has died with Christ, you are obeying the new self who is alive to God. You actually see yourself as you really are; dead to sin and alive to God. A new creation. So....you don’t have to sin any more! You don’t fundamentally succeed against sin because you are trying harder, you are able to overcome sin because you are a different person. Not a slave but free! You are far more different than you think!
From one freed slave to another....