Shall we turn now in our Bibles to the fifth chapter of Romans.
Since chapter 3 Paul has been talking about justification by faith. How that God has declared me innocent because of my faith in Jesus Christ. Believing that He took my sin and died in my place; He became my substitute. He took God’s judgment for my sin. He bore it for me. By my believing in Him, God declares me innocent of all charges, justified by faith.
In chapter 4 he illustrates from the Old Testament, from Abraham, the truth of justification by faith. Then gave to us the keys to Abraham’s faith. So having set forth the treatise on justification by faith, in chapter 5 he begins,
Therefore being justified by faith (5:1),
Having been justified by faith he begins to speak of the results in our own personal life and experience; that which I have experienced because of justification by faith.
The first benefit or blessing of justification by faith is that,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (5:1).
Something that would not be possible if I were justified by works that is possible for any length of period. As Christians there is, it seems, an inconsistency at times between my profession and my walk. I do not always do those things that are pleasing unto the Father. I cannot with Jesus say, “I do always those things that please the Father.” I wish I could. I can’t. Sometimes my works are outstanding. Sometimes I do extremely well. Other times I fail.
Now, if I were justified by works, then I would have peace with God as long as I was doing good. But when I failed, that peace would again be broken. But because I am justified by faith, I do believe in Jesus Christ; that doesn’t change. I believe that He is the Son of, that He came to redeem the world, that He died for my sins, that He arose again the third day, and He is at the right hand of the Father making intercession for me, and I believe that He is coming again to establish God’s kingdom on the earth.
Sometimes I don’t do what is right, but my belief never changes. Even when I am doing something wrong, I still have a solid faith in Jesus Christ. Therefore, because my peace with God is predicated upon justification by faith I have always peace with God. As we studied last week, Paul’s quotation of Psalm 32, “Oh how happy is the man to whom God does not impute iniquity.” Because I am justified by faith, my faith in Jesus Christ is unswerving, God does not impute or account iniquity to me. I have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I have access by faith into this grace (5:2)
This glorious grace that God has manifested unto me, I have access into that grace through faith. Then I
rejoice in the hope of the glory of God (5:2).
How wonderful it is that God has given to us this living hope through Jesus Christ. That is something that today the world’s philosophy cannot offer to man. The existential philosophy has concluded that there is no universal good, that there is no universal truth. That truth must be experienced individually and it is how you see a thing and how you feel about a thing that constitutes truth to you. But it is a personal individual matter.
We can see examples of existentialism in art, the modern art, as you look at the paintings where it looks like some fellow has stood across the room and taken little plastic bags full of paint and thrown them against the canvas, and they exploded when they hit the canvas and popped out in all directions, and then they give some kind of a title to the thing, “Sunset at Maui.” I have looked at some of those modern art paintings, and for the life of me I can’t see anything in them. Someone stands there and says, “Oh, isn’t that beautiful? Oh isn’t that lovely?”
It is one of those things that you have got to see it yourself and interpret yourself. Now, when I was a kid we used to have Spanish stucco on the ceiling, and we used to see horses and things in the ceiling, but it takes a bit of imagination. You see the effect of it, you have to experience it, you interpret it for yourself, that is the whole ideal and the purpose of the art is to express the philosophy.
Coming home from Hawaii, my wife and I watched some dumb movie and it was one of those movies that they didn’t put the end on it. You know the guy just goes walking off. Now, I don’t know if he committed suicide or he sobered up and got right. You don’t know what happened. They didn’t finish the story; suddenly you see the end. Man, that’s not the end, they didn’t finish it. I was so mad that I wasted the time watching the unfinished story, but that again is a classic example of existential philosophy. And its purpose is to let you experience it and you put the end on the story. The story has a thousand different ends. Because each of us sees in it what we want to see. We, each of us, interpret it for ourselves.
Some of the modern music today is existentialism. I can’t for the life of me find the melody. All I get is the beat, and you have to put in what you want. They provide the beat and you put in the melody. These are all examples of existential philosophy. Now, the result then of existential philosophy is a separation of people. It creates loneliness and isolation. It puts me in my own little island and you in your own little island, and I don’t know if I am thinking what you are thinking, and you don’t know if you are thinking as I am thinking, because we are alienated by the philosophy. I don’t know if you are seeing in that picture what I am seeing. Now you know there are forms of art when you see the barn, and therefore and the cow on the fields and I have no problem with that. I can say that is a barn and that is a fence and that is a cow. I have no problem with that, and I know that when you look at it you can see a barn, and a fence, and a cow, because they are obvious. I am unified with you. As we stand there and look at it, I feel unified with you because I know you are seeing the same thing I’m seeing.
So the effect of existential is that of separation of man and making man isolated on an island. As each of us interpret life and truth as we experience it ourselves, but declaring that there is no universal truth or there is no universal good, that it is a matter of a person’s individual experience, they have despaired of ever discovering truth or good.
Existential philosophy has concluded that reality can only bring despair and a person cannot live in despair, thus you must escape reality. And we see a world full of people trying to escape reality. They are trying to escape in so many different things, into nomadism, into drugs, into alcoholism, into impulsive eating, impulsive gambling, or so many ways by which a person is seeking to escape the world in which he lives. Existential philosophy suggests that a person take a leap of faith into a non-reason religious experience. Because you cannot live in reality because that is hopeless. You either escape reality, or you have some kind of a religious experience. That again is very unique and isolated. You can’t explain it, but there is a sense, a consciousness of well-being. They talk about the ultimate experience.
We do have a hope. We can be real people. We can live in reality. As a Christian I can live in reality and I realize that the world is corrupt. I realize that government has failed. I realize that we have not and will not discover the solutions for world peace. And I agree with the existential philosophers that if you think we are going to discover world peace, you are not a realist. You are not living in reality. You are living in a fool’s paradise. Reality would bring me to despair if I didn’t have the hope of Jesus Christ. Because I have a hope in Jesus Christ, I can face the reality of life, but still rejoice in the hope because I know that when He comes we are going to live in a world of peace. We are going to live in a world where we don’t have to worry about our grandchildren going to the market to buy a loaf of bread, being exposed to pornography or being exposed to the possibility of being accosted by some pervert.
That world is coming, it isn’t now. And as long as Satan reigns it never will be. Satan isn’t going to reign forever, thank God. Jesus is coming and is going to establish God’s kingdom, and we shall sing the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ and He shall reign forever, forever, hallelujah, hallelujah. It will be cause for great praise. I rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. I have tonight a living hope for the future. Not in man, but in Jesus Christ and in God’s kingdom. Not only so, this isn’t all, he says,
We also glory in tribulation (5:3):
What kind of a nut are you, Paul, to glory in tribulations?
Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount said, “Rejoice when men speak evil of you, for my name’s sake. When men persecute you for righteousness sake. Blessed are you when men shall persecute you for righteousness sake, rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven.
The Bible tells us to count it all joy when you fall into diverse problems. I haven’t achieved that yet, but I am working on it.
We glory in tribulation. How is it that I can glory in tribulation? I glory in tribulation because I have learned that in every trial there is an opportunity for God to manifest Himself in my life, and to work in my life. I have learned when there is pressure, when there are problems to just wait on the Lord. It took me a long time to learn that.
Right now we are waiting upon the Lord in regards to the bid we made upon the site in Newport Beach. The school board tells us that in two weeks that they will make their decision. I can honestly say that I am not tense. I am not nervous. I am not really concerned. If we get it, we get it; if we don’t, we don’t. When we bought the Greenville School from the Santa Ana School District, we put in a bid and we didn’t even go to the board meeting where they were going to have the oral bids once they had opened the sealed bids that had come in. We just submitted a bid on a school and let it go at that. One morning the school secretary called me and said, “You just bought a school.” I said, “Well, praise the Lord.” In these times we have an opportunity to wait on God and see Him work, thus,
tribulation worketh patience (5:3),
As I learned to wait upon God,
patience brings experience (5:4),
Because as I wait upon God, I experience the work of God. I see God work. I learn by experience that God does work in every situation where we just wait on Him. I experience that work of God, and as I experience God’s faithfulness in working out my problems, it only then enhances that hope. So I glory in tribulation because I know there is another opportunity for God to work in my life, for me to experience afresh God’s love and God’s grace as He works in my situation. As I see the work of God completed, my hope just gets stronger. Yes, God is faithful. Yes, God will keep His word. Yes, the Lord will establish His kingdom that He promised.
the experience, hope: and the hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (5:4-5).
So I have this glorious hope as God just pours out His love over my life through the Holy Spirit.
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died (5:6)
For the good, sweet, wonderful, generous, kind people? No. Fortunately He died
for the ungodly (5:6).
Oh, may the Holy Spirit take and stamp this truth deep in our hearts tonight. Christ died for the ungodly. I qualify.
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (5:7-8).
When did God start loving you? When you surrendered your life to Jesus Christ? When you raised your hand and you went forward? When you said the sinner’s prayer? Did God say, “Oh, isn’t that sweet? I am going to love them now.” No, God commended or displayed His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for the ungodly. Because He died for us in that ungodly state, I have no place in myself whereof to boast. Well, the Lord died for me because He saw that I was doing my best. He knew I was trying hard; He knew I had potential? No! The grace of God is complete. Christ died for me when I was still a sinner, when I was in an ungodly state God loved me then. Now does God love you any less now that you are His child?
Isn’t it interesting how so often we in our minds imagine God as being disgusted with us, or disappointed with us, or discouraged with us, or through with us. We can just imagine God having negative attitudes towards us.
I have shared before how when Jan was just a little girl and she was going through that nobody-loves-me routine. After she had been reprimanded for something and at that point none of her friends loved her, and her mother and daddy didn’t love her, nobody loved her. We said, “Oh, yes, we love you.” “No, you don’t.” She wasn’t giving in so I finally said, “Well, Jesus loves you.” “Oh, no, He doesn’t.” I said, “What?” “He just stuck His head out from one of the closets and stuck His tongue out at me.” You know, sometimes we imagine Jesus doing that to us, like He has had it with us. And I can understand Him doing it, but He doesn’t.
If while I was yet a sinner He died for me. God demonstrated, commended, displayed His love toward me in that while I was still a sinner Christ died for me. Now that I am a child of God, now that I am trying to live a life that is pleasing to Him, now that I seek to walk in fellowship and in that love, surely He doesn’t love me any less. God commended His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him (5:9).
That is, that wrath of God that shall be revealed against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men that Paul spoke about in chapter 1. He shall be saved from wrath.
It is interesting that the Great Tribulation is called “the day of God’s wrath.” In the opening of the sixth seal, as the people on earth cry for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them, they pray, “Hide us from the face of the Lamb, for the day of His wrath has come,” but thank God if Jesus loved me when I was a sinner and died for me, how much more being justified now by His blood will I be saved from the wrath through Him.
For if, when we were enemies, [an enemy to God, if in that state] we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more, being reconciled, we will be saved by his life (5:10).
If His death could reconcile me to God, how much more His life as He lives to make intercession for me.
Notice there are several “much more” in this chapter, and I love the “much more.” It is an argument from the lessor to the greater. It is a typical philosophical type of argument. Paul uses it often in his writings. And here, if through the death of Jesus I was reconciled to God, how much more shall I be saved by His life.
Not only so (5:11),
Now this comes back to verse 1, “Therefore being justified by faith,” and this is the final experience that Paul illustrates or gives to us the final result. not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement (5:11).
These are the results of being justified: I have peace with God, I have access to the grace, I rejoice in hope, and I joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. This word atonement in the Greek is a different word from the Hebrew word translated atonement in the Old Testament. The word atonement in the Old Testament you find used quite a bit in Leviticus as you deal with the various sacrificial offering. “Thus shall they make an atonement for the sins.” That Hebrew word is kaphar. If you will think of it as a covering, kaphar, a covering, that is a literal translation of the Hebrew kaphar. You shall make a covering for the sins. But the sacrifices of the animals in the Old Testament could not make an atonement for the sinner. It could only make a covering for the sin. It could not put away the sin, all it did was cover the sin. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could put away sin. It took the blood of Jesus Christ to put away the sins. The Old Testament sacrifices were only looking forward to that sacrifice that God one day would make in sending His only begotten Son who would die as a lamb without spot or blemish.
“We are redeemed,” Peter said, “From our vain empty living, not with the blood of bulls or goats but with the blood of Jesus Christ who was slain as a lamb without spot or blemish” (I Peter 1:18-19). So the Greek word atonement is a different word with a different idea entirely than the Hebrew kaphar, or covering for sin. The Greek word atonement can best be understood if you break it up. At-one-ment. In that I have been made one with God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for me. So I joy in God because I have become one with God through Jesus Christ who has made this possible. He has made it possible that as He said, “In that day you shall know that I am in the Father, and ye are in me, and I am in you.” This alienation that once existed between God and man no longer exists.
Isaiah said, “God’s hand is not short that he can not save, neither is his ear heavy that he can not hear, but your sins have separated you from God.” But now that the sins are put away, Jesus has made this at-one-ment, He has bought me into one with the Father. This is the record that God has given us eternal life this life is in the Son, and He that has the Son has life, that life of God, one with God.
“These things,” John said, “Write we unto you, that you might have fellowship with us and truly our fellowship is with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ” (I John 1:3). The word fellowship, koinonia is the same idea: oneness, a communion, a joining together with. So I have been joined together with God through Jesus Christ.
Now Paul teaches a very important doctrinal truth and, unfortunately, there are those today who are teaching something other than this basic doctrinal truth that Paul is getting across here in the later portion of chapter 5 of Romans.
There is a teaching today that has been called the moral government of God. This teaching the moral government of God, among other things, teaches that man is not sinful by nature, but sinful by choice. When Adam sinned he sinned for himself, but Adam’s sin was not passed on to me, that I was born as Adam, totally innocent, and totally neutral. That I am a sinner because then I chose to sin. But Adam has no responsibility with my sinful state. I only am responsible for my own sinful state.
This is a very dangerous doctrine, because as you read the whole treatise that Paul has here, the whole idea is that if one man could make us all sinners then one man could make us all righteous. But if you deny that one man made us all sinners, then you must also deny that one man made us all righteous, and thus, I am a sinner by choice or I am righteous by my works, and it leads to a works/righteous position, which is one that none of you can maintain. I can’t; I tried to maintain that position for years. I never could. All that did was bring me into condemnation and guilt and frustration.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (5:12):
Now let me point out that the word have is not in the Greek text. What the Greek text reads is, “Wherefore, by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned.” We all sinned in Adam. He acted as a federal head, he acted for all of us, and by his sin death entered the world. By his sin we were all made sinners.
God said to Adam, “The day that thou eatest, thou shalt surely die.” He was talking about spiritual death, which Adam experienced when he ate of the forbidden fruit, his spirit died. Adam could not pass on through his genes something that he did not possess, spiritual life. Through the genes all he could pass on was a physical body with a capacity of a consciousness, but being dead spiritually he could not by procreation pass on spiritual life. One man sinned, death entered the world, and death passed unto all men.
Paul the apostle in Ephesians 2, in describing our past lives, said, “You hath He made alive (spiritually), who were dead because of your trespasses and sins. Who in times past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, that even now is working in the children of disobedience, among whom you all once had your manner of living. You were by nature the children of wrath even as others” (Ephesians 2:1-3). That is by nature, because by one man’s sin death entered the world and death passed unto all men, for all sin.
Therefore, I sin because I am a sinner; sinning does not make me a sinner, it only proves that I am a sinner. You say, “Well, what about the little children who died?” God takes care of them. They’re safe. “Oh that precious little innocent baby.” Are you sure? Look at the way they are making their fleshly demands, listen to them wail, look at them kick and flail around. If they were bit enough and strong enough they would rip that crib apart.
How many of you had to be taught how to tell a lie? Why is it necessary to teach your children to be honest? They seem to learn to lie very naturally. So we have to teach the positive values. For a child left to himself will bring the reproach to his parents according to the Scriptures. For we by nature are the children of wrath.
(For until the law the sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed where there is no law (5:13).
Sin was there, but it wasn’t imputed because there was no law. Adam had one law; he broke it. Oh, he had a few positives and one negative, but he broke it. If there is no law that says that the speed limit is fifty-five miles per hour then you can’t be ticketed for going over fifty-five. But it is because there is a law that says that is the limit, you can be ticketed for going over that limit. But it used to be in some areas that they did not have speed laws, and thus you could not be ticketed for speeding because there was no speed law. Most generally then they would ticket you for reckless driving if you were driving beyond a speed limit that was safe. But where there is no law you cannot be arrested for violating the law, because there is no law that pertains to that. Until the law was given, their sin was in the world but it wasn’t imputed or accounted to man.
Nevertheless even from Adam to Moses death reigned (5:14),
The consequences of sin was still there and men died.
even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who was a figure of him who was to come [even Jesus.] But not as the offense, so also is the free gift: for if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many (5:14-15).
This is the important teaching of one man’s righteousness making many righteous. How is it that God can account me righteous? Because Jesus is righteous. His righteousness imputed to me by my faith in Him.
Not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one unto condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) (5:16-17)
So by one man sin entered the world, death by sin, death passed unto all men for all sinned. Even so, by one man’s righteousness of many made righteous who believe in Him and who are justified by faith and many come into eternal life through the one. One man brought death, the first Adam brought death, and Jesus Christ brought life. Adam brought sin. Jesus brought righteousness, and thus, Jesus acts as a federal head as Adam acted as a federal head for humanity. Now Jesus acts as the federal head for all those who believe in Him, and you are made a new creation.
The old things are passed away and everything becomes new. You can’t say, “Well, that is just my Irish temper,” because I have a new nature, the nature of Jesus Christ. I have been born again by the Spirit of God, a new creature, a new nature, and I relate now to Jesus Christ as the origin of my life.
Therefore, as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound (5:18-20):
The law came along in order that we might see how far we did miss the mark. The word sin means missing the mark. But if you don’t see the mark, how can you miss it? How can you know how far you have missed it? You may be shooting wildly, but I can’t convince you of that until I put up the mark. Then as your arrows go flying all over everywhere, I say, “Oh man, you really missed the mark.” The law came along that we might see how far we missed the divine ideal. How far we came from living a life that was acceptable and pleasing to God. The law once and forever put down the thought of self-righteousness if properly understood. The law entered that the offense might abound, but where sin abounded, grace did overflow.
That as sin has reigned unto death, even so grace might reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord (5:21).
As you go back and meditate on chapter 5, underline the “much mores”, and meditate upon the contrast that he draws. Another thing to mark in chapter 5 is the many references to Jesus Christ our Lord, or through Jesus Christ our Lord, or by Jesus, that which we have through Him, that which we have by Him, and these are the things that you want to note in chapter 5.
What shall we say then? (6:1)
If where sin abounds, grace does much more abound,
Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (6:1)
No. Let’s let God reveal how much grace there is by continuing in sin. Paul’s answer is typical:
God forbid (6:2).
Now he gives to you the new principal of life.
How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (6:2)
I have received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. In receiving Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior I have done that and the result is that I am born again. I am now a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ. If I am born again, then where is the old Chuck? He is dead. That old fellow who used to live after his flesh, he is dead. I now have a new life, a spiritual life, that life from Christ. Therefore, to say, “Well, let’s go ahead and just live in sin that grace may abound,” is folly. Because I am dead to sin, that old life is dead.
So know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? (6:3)
Don’t you realize that water represented the grave? Don’t you realize that as you were put in the water it was the burial of the old life? You were buried with Christ in the water of baptism.
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 (6:4). It’s a whole new life, that new life after the Spirit and, of course, that is the old things. The old life after Adam is a life after the flesh. It is a life where the body is dominant, and the consciousness is occupied by the body needs. It is life on the animal plane--body and soul. The body supreme, the mind subjected and filled with the consciousness of the body needs.
Now, when you are born again, that which is born of the flesh is flesh. If you are born again by the Spirit of God, the new life that you now have is spirit, soul, and body. So now the spirit is the dominant feature and the new life is spiritual life, the old life was a fleshly life. The new life is a spiritual life. A spirit in union with God’s Spirit. So a spirit in union with God’s Spirit, my thoughts, my consciousness now is upon God and the things of God and how I might please Him by walking in the spirit. These are the things that dominate my conscious state. God’s love for me, God’s grace for me, God’s goodness for me, these things dominate my conscious state. No longer dominated by my fleshly desires or fleshly needs.
That is what baptism was all about. Buried with Christ, but yet raised in that newness of life in Him.
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, [through baptism] we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection (6:5):
As I come up out of the water, it’s like being resurrected--like Jesus resurrected coming out of the grave. That new resurrected life of Christ.
Knowing this, that our old man was [not is, was] crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed [or put out of business], that henceforth we should not serve sin (6:6).
This body of sin was put out of business. It can no longer dominate my life. It can no longer rule over my consciousness, because that old man was crucified with Christ.
As Christians our biggest problem is with our flesh. For our flesh is still seeking to make its demands on us. Our flesh will still bring us under its control and power. As a Christian there is a warfare that is going on in me, for the flesh is warring against my spirit and my spirit is warring against my flesh and these two are contrary to each other.
There is this battle going on for the control of my mind, the control of my life. My flesh still wants to sit on the throne of my life and the spirit wants to sit on the throne of my life and there is a battle waging raging, actually, over the control of my life itself, the flesh and the spirit. I don’t always do the things that I would as we sang this morning. Then I shall be what I would be, and I shall be what I should be, things that are now nor could be soon shall be our own. The battle will be over one of these days and my spirit leaves this old body of flesh. I am still living in the body, that is my big problem. If I weren’t living in this body any longer then I would have no problems. But I am still living in the body, and as long as I am living in this body it is going to struggle for supremacy, and thus, I must keep my body under. You remember Paul the apostle said, “I beat myself to keep my body under.”
It is a struggle. It is a fight. My body wants control again. It wants to sit on the throne. I have to keep my body under. The way to do that is to reckon that old self to be dead. It is a reckoning process. “Lord, that is a part of the old life dominated by my flesh. I reckon that to be dead. That flare up, Lord, that belongs to the old life, that bitterness that belongs to the old life, that anger that belongs to the old life, that is dead.” Thank God that it is dead. I don’t have to live under that domination anymore. That was crucified with Christ and I am now living a new life in the resurrected Lord. So the old man was crucified with Him. But the body of sin might be put out of business, that I shouldn’t serve sin any longer.
For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death has no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he lives, he lives unto God (6:7-10).
I am now in the risen Christ. I am living in Christ. I have that life in Christ. Sin no longer can reign as king in my mortal body. For Christ now reigns. Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Account that to be...how many times I must account that to be in my own life? When the old flesh rears its ugly head and I do that which is not pleasing. The Spirit of God calls my attention to it and I feel so ashamed that I would have said, “I would have done that.” I cry out unto God and I say, “Lord, I reckon that to be dead a part of the old life, thank God I don’t have to live under its rule any longer. Help me, Lord.” So reckon ye also yourselves to be dead. Now reckoning is a word of faith. You see, if my own flesh were dead I wouldn’t have to reckon it to be dead. If it were actually dead. One day it will be. I am not going to have to reckon it any more after that. But my old flesh is still very much alive, too much alive. I am painfully, keenly aware of that, and so I have to take the position of faith, the position of reckoning, I reckon that to be dead.
Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord (6:11).
Again, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts [or the desires] thereof (6:12).
Don’t let sin…don’t let the flesh reign.
Neither yield your members [that is, the members of your body] as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God (6:13).
My hands can be tools for God or they can be tools for my flesh. I love that song, “Take my life and let it be, consecrate it, Lord, to thee. Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of thy love. Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for thee.” My feet have carried me into a lot of mischief. They have carried me away from a lot of mischief, faster than they carried me into it. But, God, take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for thee.
I can yield my body as an instrument in God’s hands for God to use for His glory, or I can yield my body to fulfill the desires of my own flesh and body, and be ruled by the desires of my body. I am not to yield the instruments of my body as instruments of unrighteousness. But I am to surrender them to God that He might take and use my body for His glory. “Take my lips and let them sing always only of my King, always only of my King.” Your mouth, your words, they can speak the power and the blessing of God. People’s lives can be blessed and transformed by your words, and lives can be cut down and destroyed by your words.
Satan can use my body as his instrument of destruction, or God can use my body as His instrument of glory. Satan can use my life and fill it with hatred and cut people down, or God can use my life and fill it with His love and build people up. We are exhorted here that we should yield our bodies as instruments of righteousness unto God. “For sin,” and I love this. This is one of my favorite promises in the whole Bible.
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace (6:14).
God told me sin is not going to have dominion over me. Thank God for that. Doesn’t mean that I don’t sin. The word sin means to miss the mark, and it doesn’t mean that I hit the mark every time. I am not perfect, far from it.
Paul the apostle, after walking with the Lord for thirty years, said, “I have not yet apprehended that for which I was apprehended by Jesus Christ, neither do I count myself perfect” (Philippians 3:12). Oh, move over, Paul. I will join you. God has not yet fulfilled His complete purposes in my life. I’ve not yet apprehended that for which I would be apprehended. God had a plan and a purpose for my life when God apprehended me and called me to serve Him in His service. I haven’t yet completed that call of God, and neither do I count myself complete or perfect. I don’t hit the mark every time.
But thank God sin doesn’t have dominion over my life anymore. I’m not ruled by sin. I don’t have to be ruled by sin. I have freedom, glorious freedom from the tyranny of the flesh, the power of sin, and it shall not have dominion over me. For I am a child of God, born again by the Spirit, living that new life, that resurrected life in Christ.
What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid (6:15).
They are willing to jump on anything, aren’t they?
Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants, they are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (6:16)
Every man is ruled. No man is supreme; no man is master of his fate or captain of his soul. We are all governed by an outside power. We are governed either by the power of God or by the power of Satan, and it is your choice. You can choose to be governed by God, or you can choose to live after Satan’s authority. You can choose to live like the devil, or you can choose to live like God. But whoever you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you become. This is the tragedy of the Garden of Eden. God said, “Thou shall not eat of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, and in the day you do, you are going to die.” Satan came along and said, “You ought to try the tree in the midst of the garden, it is good. It is delicious, and you won’t die. God is just trying to protect himself. He knows that that tree holds the key of the knowledge of good and evil and if you know knowledge of good and evil, you will be just like God, and He is just trying to protect Himself.”
“You ought to really try it. How can you put it down if you haven’t tried it? You know, just one bite. You don’t like it, you don’t have to finish it.” Now the action of Eve was a double action. It was, first of all, an action of disobedience to God, but in the same token it was an action of obedience to Satan. And she yielded herself in obedience to Satan, and thus, became a servant. Now you know that whoever you yield yourself servants to obey, his servants you become. And so man, through the disobedience, became a servant of Satan, that was the tragic consequence of disobedience to God, and the same is true of our lives. If I choose to yield myself to God and to His word and to His will, then I become a servant of God. But if I choose to yield myself as a servant of disobedience, and I become a servant of the disobedient one.
But God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered to you (6:17).
Once you were a servant of sin but now thank God, because we have chosen to follow after God. We have chosen to obey the voice of Jesus Christ. We who were once servants to sin are now made servants of righteousness.
Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness. Now I speak after the manner of men because of the weakness of your flesh: for as you have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness (6:18-19).
If we would live just as hard for God as we live for the devil we could turn this world upside down. If we serve the Lord with the same gusto and zest that we served our flesh, think of what we could accomplish. And this is what he is encouraging us to do. Even as we yielded our members once as servants to uncleanness and iniquity, now let’s just yield ourselves to God.
Oh, God help us that we might start living full on for Jesus Christ, just totally gung ho for Him. I like that attitude. Let’s go for it. In talking about the things of the Lord and serving the Lord, let’s go for it. Let’s go all out for it. Let’s give ourselves totally and completely to live for Jesus Christ, yielding ourselves, our lives to Him, just to see what God would do and wants to do in this area through a bunch of people that are just sold out fools for Christ.
I think of how people make fools of themselves over such silly things. Get a few drinks, what a fool they can make of themselves. And yet, we become so proper and reluctant to step out for Jesus Christ to be considered a fool for Him.
For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness. But what fruit did you have then in those things wherein you are not ashamed? (6:20-21)
When you were living in sin and you did those things for which you are so ashamed, what real fruit, what lasting fruit did you have in your life? Unfortunately, the fruit was miserable fruit, and it left misery in its wake.
for the end of those things is death (6:21).
The life after the flesh.
But now being made free from sin, and having become the servants of God, you have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life (6:22).
Glorious fruit is now coming forth from my life. Fruit of righteousness unto God, the love with its joy and peace and long-suffering and gentleness and goodness and meekness and temperance. And eternal life the glorious ultimate results.
For the wages of sin is death (6:23);
Satan pays his servants. You get your wages. Serve him well, give him your best, you will be rewarded. The wages of sin is death. You can’t escape them if you continue in sin. But in contrast to the wages,
the gift of God (6:23)
Not the wages of God, because we can’t earn eternal life. It’s by grace. the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (6:23).
So we have the extreme contrast. The wages of sin, the life after the flesh, it ends in death. The gift of God, the life after the Spirit, ends in eternal life. Every man is in one of two categories: either a servant of sin, or a servant of God. Using my body as an instrument of sin or yielding my body as an instrument for God to use for His glory.
I agree with that song “I have decided to follow Jesus.” I want my life to count for God for eternity. The glorious gift of God, eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord, in Him, through Him, by Him. Oh the blessings that God has made available to us revealed in Jesus Christ, eternal life through Jesus Christ.
Father, we thank You for Thy word, a lamp unto our feet, a light unto our path, for the balanced life through the Word. Thank You for Your grace that abounds unto us. Thank You for this glorious position of justified by faith and the results in peace and joy and rejoicing and access into this grace. Lord, may we walk now after the Spirit, a life in fellowship with You, yielding, Lord, our bodies to You that they might become your instruments to do Your work, to bring Your love and Your peace and Your beauty to this poor sin froth world. In Jesus’ name we ask it, Father. Amen.
As we move next week into chapters 7 and 8, they are chapters of extreme contrast. Chapter 7 will take you into the depths of despair as I see the ideal, as I approve the ideal and as I try in my own strength and energy to achieve it. And the struggle, and the pain, and the defeat as I in my own strength try to live by the divine ideal that I accept and approve as desirable. But then chapter 8 will take you out of the despair as we see God’s plan for victory for His believer and the provisions that God has made for me to achieve and attain the ideal. Just like us, try first yourself. If it doesn’t work, look at the instructions. And so with the things of the Spirit, it seems we have to get our two cents in. Then we have to try it first, experience that failure and that frustration. And then finding God’s way, living that glorious life of victory that He has provided for us through His Holy Spirit. May the Lord be with you and bless and keep you in His love. May you walk after the Spirit and may you indeed yield your body unto God this week that God might use your life as His instrument to do His work in this needy world. May others receive a word of encouragement, of love, of hope from you as you become God’s instrument to tell them of His goodness and of His love. In Jesus’ name.