For the epistles, we will read smaller chunks of some chapters. This is because there is so much to chew on in some of them.
Paul ended Romans 5 by confirming that "where sin increased, grace abounded all the more" (5:20). So he starts Romans 6 with a rhetorical question:
What shall we say then?
Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?The answer may seem obvious to us, but Paul was trained in the school of thought that used questions like this to bring deeper thoughts to his listeners. His opponent was fictional, but he wanted to counteract the influence of two groups who challenged the gospel: Antinomians and Judaizers.
Let's review who these people were:
It is a compound word combining the Latin word anti (against) and Greek word nomos (the law). They believed that the Gospel freed all followers of Jesus from obedience to any kind of law, whether Jewish, civil, or moral. Salvation was only by faith and man could live any way he wanted because he was under grace. They even took it to an extreme of saying that the MORE one sinned, the more it demonstrated God's grace because He forgave it.
They believed that believers are saved by God's grace, but they still needed to keep the works of the Jewish law.
We will be learning more about both of these camps as we study the rest of the New Testament epistles.
We are free from the Law, but that does not give us a license for sin, and if we are baptized into Jesus' death, we are also raised to a new life!
Wuest writes about the Greek word for baptism, baptizo, as:
. . . the introduction or placing of a person or thing into a new environment or into union with something else so as to alter its condition or its relationship to its previous environment or condition.
It refers to the act of God introducing a believing sinner into vital union with Jesus Christ in order that that believer might have the power of his sinful nature broken and the divine nature implanted through his identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, thus altering the condition and relationship of that sinner with regard to his previous state and environment, bringing him into a new environment, the kingdom of God.
(Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, p.96-7)In classical literature this term was used when a smith would dip a piece of hot iron in water, tempering it or when Greek soldiers would dip the point of their spears or barbarians would dip their spears in bowls of blood to identify them as weapons for war.
When we are baptized in Jesus Christ, we are identified with the Prince of peace! We are not only separated from our evil nature, but we have His divine life imparted to us so that we are a new person altogether. Put that in your needles and knit it for a while!
Sometimes I like to illustrate passage. Here is something I did many years ago. I am not an artist, but it cements the point:
|(Glory of "Fath" is"Father," by the way)|
This is "not a new kind of life the believer is to live, but to a new source of ethical and spiritual energy imparted to him by God by which he is enabled to live the life to which Paul exhorts in Romans 12-16" (Wuest, p. 97). We have become slaves of righteousness rather than slaves of sin. SO, we go on living in that by presenting our bodies to God as instruments for His glory in the Kingdom of righteousness!
God has given us "everything pertaining to life and godliness," (2 Peter 1:3) but we often do not tap into the power that is readily available to us because of our new life.
Do you tap into this? Often we do not know the power that is available to us is only one prayer away.
I read "Morning Affirmations" to God (I also listen to them on my iPod when I walk in the morning) on a regular basis, this is the section on "Spiritual Warfare" that includes Romans 6:
Protection in Spiritual Warfare
Lord, guard my heart against the temptations of the world and renew my heart and spirit:
Since I have been raise up with You, O Christ, I will keep seeking the things above, where You are at the right hand of God. I will set my mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:1-2)
I will be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving I will let my requests be made known to You, O God. And Your peace, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-8)
Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and anything worthy of praise, I will let my mind dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:9)
Oh Lord, guard my heart against the weaknesses and temptations of the flesh so that I may reckon myself dead to sin:
Father, I know that my old self was crucified with Christ, so that I am no longer a slave to sin, for he who has died is freed from sin. I will reckon myself as dead to sin, but alive to You in Christ Jesus. I will not present the parts of my body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness, but I will present myself to You, O God, as one alive from the dead, and the parts of my body as instruments of righteousness to You. (Romans 6:6-7, 12-13)
O Lord, guard my heart against the attacks of the devil and give me the strength to resist him:
As I submit myself to You, O God, and resist the devil, he will flee from me. (James 4:7)
I will be of sober spirit and on the alert. My adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But I will resist him, firm in my faith. (1 Peter 5:8-9)
I will take up Your full armor, O God, that I may be able to resist and stand firm. I put on the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness; I put on my feet the preparation for the gospel of peace and I take up the shield of faith with which I will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. I take the helmet of salvation and the sword of Your Spirit, which is Your Word, O God. With all prayer and petition I will pray at all times in Your Spirit and be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:13-18)
I try to remind myself daily of the resources available to me. How about you?
Here is a link to all of the Morning Affirmations from Face to Face: Praying the Scriptures for Intimate Worship. The author's ministry was kind enough to give me permission to reprint them from the book.
Bring us into the full realization of our new life in You so that we might live in the power of your Spirit on a minute-by-minute basis. Amen.