January 18 - Romans 6:1-7

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Romans 6:1-7 – Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ

Paul moves to a second fruit of justification – holiness.

In tandem with justification comes sanctification. John Wesley teaches that sanctification is a two-fold process. It happens at the moment we are justified, but it is also a life-long process. Now that we are living a new life, we have died to sin.

Paul writes that our sin … that part of us that separates us from God … was buried with Christ's burial. He writes "all of us who were baptized unto Christ Jesus were baptized unto his death …" (Romans 6:3). This means that we put on Christ … we take on the entirety of Christ's experience. Christ died because of sin … that part of his experience in our lives is the death of our sin. His resurrection is the new life that we live without sin controlling us.

Baptism is so much more than an event in the life of a child, it is a transformation where we take on all of Christ. It is an outward symbol of that change in us, where we are no longer slaves to sin. Just as Jesus Christ was crucified and died, so that part of us died as well.

The ritual of baptism had been around for quite a while before Paul began to teach of its significance in a Christian's life. John the Baptist did so as he taught about repentance. The act of immersion (later signified by water) was a visual and physical reminder of leaving sin behind and when a person emerges from the water completely, the sin is left and a new person comes forth.

Burial, of course, has been around since time immemorial. It is the moment when death no longer can be questioned. Unless you are Lazarus and brought back by Jesus, burial is it. This is a reality that can not be changed. Paul tells us that baptism proves to us that sin is buried (Romans 6:4) and that we move beyond that to resurrection and new life.

Through Jesus Christ, we are no longer bound by sin. It has died and has no control over us.