Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome. More specifically today’s passage is found in the sixth chapter of this New Testament book. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 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. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.l Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: knowing that Christ being raised the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members 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. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:1-14).
“What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether or sin unto death, or ob obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye because the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infinity of yours flesh: for as ye have h yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your member servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things id death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:15-23).
“Know ye not brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter” (Romans 7:1-6).
When you come to the sixth chapter of this New Testament epistle you will find the apostle Paul beginning with a question. It’s a question which warrants strong consideration and one which we would do well to answer within our hearts and spirits upon reading it. At the very beginning of the sixth chapter of this epistle the apostle Paul asks if we should continue in sin that grace may abound. Pause for a moment and consider that question and how absolutely incredible it truly is. This question strikes at the very heart of hypocrisy within the life of one who professes to walk with and follow Jesus and yet continues in sin. What’s more is this question strikes at the very heart of a judgmental, accusatory and condemnatory heart that might very well be present who professes the word and name of the Lord Jesus. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this question for the apostle Paul asks very plainly and very seriously if we should and if we ought to continue in sin that grace may abound. This question is indeed based on the words which we read in the previous chapter as the apostle Paul sought to present his readers and audience with the great grace the living and eternal God displayed toward us by and through the person of the eternal and only begotten Son. Thus far the apostle Paul has sought to present unto the reader that they are and they have been justified by faith through the free gift of God which is found in the person of Jesus the Christ. The apostle Paul declared that we have been justified by faith apart from the Law and without works according to the free gift of God lest any man should boast or think they have any reason to boast in the sight and presence of the living God.
As you read the words which are found in the sixth chapter of this New Testament book you can and will encounter the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding the apostle Paul and the question he was asking his readers and audience. The apostle Paul was indeed asking his readers and audience if they should continue sinning because and if grace abounds. What makes this question all the more intriguing is when you break it apart and only ask the first question. Consider if you will that when you break apart this question you will find the first half of the question simply and yet profoundly asking if we should continue in sin. This is something we must needs ask ourselves for there are countless Christians who think and believe they can continue to sin—even after they have believed and even after they have received the free gift of God and the free gift of grace. In all reality this is something which both the apostle John in his first epistle as well as the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews acknowledges within their epistles. Both the apostle John as well as the author of the epistle unto the Hebrews confronted this question of whether or not we should continue in sin—even after we have believed and even after we have tasted the free gift of the grace of the living God. This is—in all reality—a very serious question we must needs ask ourselves for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding whether or not we are indeed willing to continue in sin because grace abounds toward and unto us according to the abundant mercies bestowed upon us by the living God.
Having said all of this thus far I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the following words which are found in the first epistle written by the apostle John unto the Ephesian saints as well as the words which are found in the epistle written unto the Hebrews. Both of these epistles bring us face to face with the question of whether or not we can indeed and should indeed sin against the word and the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. What’s more is that if you read the sixth chapters of both the first and second epistles written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints you will find similar language concerning whether or not we do indeed and do in fact have license to continue sinning after we have tasted of the free gift of grace and have experience the mercy of the living God within our hearts and lives. I am absolutely convinced there is a great need for us to recognize and consider the words presented within these passages of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth that surrounds our own lives. We as the disciples of Jesus Christ who is the Lord must needs answer the question whether or not we are indeed willing to continue in sin before and in the sight of the living God because grace does indeed and does in fact abound. With this in mind I Invite you to turn and direct your attention to the following words which are found in each of these passages of Scripture beginning to read with and from the epistle written unto the Hebrews:
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: but that which beareth Thor’s a dnd briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned” (Hebrews 6:1-8).
“having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: nor forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:19-25).
“For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remainest no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witness; of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance be longeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; partly whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye become companions of them that were so used. For ye had compassion of them that were so used. For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a batter and an enduring substance. Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live y faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:26-39).
“If we say that we fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we says that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:6-10).
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous ;and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him out himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (1 John 2:1-6).
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifiers himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginners. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed reamaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another” (1 John 3:1-11).
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth. Us; and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is in: and there is a sin not unto death. We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen” (1 John 5:13-21).
“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats; but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God Brigid. What? Know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? For two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:12-20).
“O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. Ye are not straitened in us, bye are are straitened in your own bowels. Now for a recompense in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged. Be ye not unequally yoke together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:11-18).
I am absolutely convinced there is a great need to recognize the words which are found within these passages of Scripture for at the very heart and center of them is a current which strikes at the concept and understanding of whether or not we should continue sinning after receiving the free gift of salvation given unto us by the living and eternal God. You will recall that when speaking unto Nicodemus by night Jesus declared unto him that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believed in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. You will also recall that Jesus would go on to declare that God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for in the first chapter of the same New Testament gospel the apostle John also speaks of those who believed on the name and in the person of Jesus who is both Christ and Lord were given power to become the sons of God—something the apostle Paul also spoke of in this epistle written unto the saints which were written unto the saints which were at Rome. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular reality for the apostle Paul asks very plainly and clearly of the saints which were at Rome whether or not we could and whether or not we should continue in sin. Pause for a moment and ask yourselves that question. Make it person of you and for you and do not think about it in terms of your brother or your sister. Do not think about this question as it pertains to anyone else but you and you alone.
If you continue reading the words which are found in the sixth chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome you will find the apostle Paul asking his audience if they should continue in sin that grace might abound. This is a question which we must needs answer within our own hearts for there were those who during these days who taught and even believed that one could continue sinning because grace abounded toward and unto them. In fact it is when you read the words found in the tenth chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews the author emphatically declares that if we continue to sin after we have received the knowledge of the truth there remains no more sacrifice for sins but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. The author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews goes on to declare that he who despised Moses’. Law died without mercy under two or three witnesses and then asked of how much sorer punishment shall those be thought worthy who have trodden under foot the Son of God and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith they were sanctified an unholy thing and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding whether or not we are indeed wiling to sin after we have received the free gift of salvation from the eternal and living God. The author of this epistle calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the truth of whether or not we as the saints of God feel that we can indeed continue in sin—and not only continue in sin but also continue sinning—even after we have tasted of and received the free gift of salvation bestowed upon us by the eternal and living God.
I sit here today thinking about the words found in the tenth chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews and I am reminded of the words which Jonathan Edwards declared in New England when he preached his famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” It was and has been said of the preaching of this message that mean and women—those who heard the words of this message—were completely and utterly gripped and seized with fear. So powerful was the preaching of this word and message by Jonathan Edwards that the people who heard and listened to it felt as though they were sitting in pews and chairs directly over the bowels and mouth of hell itself. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for when reading the words presented in this passage of Scripture you will find the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews declare that if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth there remains no more sacrifice for sins. Oh pause right there and not only consider the tremendous truth surrounding the possibility of one sinning willfully but also consider the fact that when we read the words here in this passage the author of this epistle declares that there remains no more sacrifice for sins. This is not something we must needs recognize and understand within our hearts and lives for if one thing remains and abides in this passage of Scripture it is that when it comes to sinning against and in the sight of the presence of the living God there is absolutely no time to play games. There are those who are and have been playing games before and in the sight of the presence of the living God thinking they can continue sinning willfully and deliberately without any type of fear, terror or dread within their hearts and spirits.
The more I consider the words which are found within these verses the more I am brought face to face that we are living during times of tremendous wickedness, lawlessness, iniquity and the like. In fact if you read the words which are found in the twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will read of the truth that iniquity can and will abound in the last days. The New Testament authors—both those of the gospels and those of the epistles—believed that in the last days lawlessness can and will be so pervasive within culture and society as men will go from bad to worse. This is not something we must ignore or despise within our hearts and lives for if the love of many will grow cold and if men will go from bad to worse then we must guard ourselves from any and all manner of sin and iniquity. There is a great need within our hearts and lives to be those who guard ourselves—guard our hearts, guard our minds, guard our souls—from sinning against and in the presence of the living God. There is a great need to understand that we dare not and ought not play games with the grace of God nor play games with the mercy and faithfulness of the sight of the living God. The author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews spoke of those who thought and even believed they could play games in the presence of the living God by continuing to sin—and not only continuing to sin but sinning willfully—after receiving the knowledge of the truth. Please note that it wasn’t merely their sinning that was at the very heart of the words this author presented but it was sinning willfully. What’s more is that it wasn’t merely sinning willfully but it was sinning willfully after having received the knowledge of truth. The author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews would go on to declare that for those who continued sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth there remained no more sacrifice for sins. The only thing that remained for such an individual was a certain fearful looking for old judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries.
We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth for the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews spoke of those who deliberately and intentionally sinned—and did so willfully—after having received the knowledge of truth and then spoke of such individuals as those who had trodden under foot the Son of God and had counted the blood of the covenant wherewith they were sanctified an unholy thing and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace. Not only this but the author of the epistle epistle would go on to speak of that One who declared, saying, “Vengeance belongs to me, I will repay, says the Lord.” And again the author goes on to declare that the LORD shall judge His people and that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. The author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews made it quite clear that those who sinned deliberately, intentionally and willfully after they had received the knowledge of truth were such who played a dangerous game in the presence and sight of the living and eternal God. Those who sinned willfully and deliberately after having tasted of the knowledge of the living God are such who played a dangerous game in the sight and presence of the living God and were those who were asking for a fiery indignation which would devour the enemies. The Scripture clearly and plainly declares that our God is a consuming fire and also goes on to declare that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful and powerful truth surrounding whether or not we think and feel as though we can indeed continue sinning willfully and deliberately after we have tasted of the knowledge of the living and eternal God without their being consequence and without their being repercussions which can and will be experienced.
If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the third chapter of the first epistle written by the apostle John unto the saints which were at Ephesus you will find that he writes how every man who has the hope of being like Jesus when He appears purifies themselves. The apostle John begins this epistle with the declaration of what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us that we should be called the Son of God. The apostle John goes on to write and declare that the world knows us not because it knew him not. Furthermore the apostle John goes on to write that we are the sons of God and it does not yet appear what we shall be. One thing we do know is that when He [Christ] shall appear, we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is. Every man that has this hope of being like him purifies himself even as he is pure. Moreover the apostle John goes on to declare that whosoever commits sin transgresses the law for sin is the transgression of the law. The apostle John goes on to write and declare that he [Christ] was manifested to take away our sins and in him was no sin. Whosoever therefore abides in Him sins not and whosoever sins has not seen him, neither has known him. Those who do righteousness are righteous even as he is righteous while those who commit sin are of the devil for the devil sinned from the beginning. The Son of God was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil for whosoever is born of God does not commit sin for his seed remains in him and he cannot sin because he is born of God. It is in this the children of God are manifest and the children of the devil for whosoever does not righteousness is not of God neither he that loves not his brother.
This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding our thinking and believing we can indeed continue sinning in the sight and presence of the living God after professing to be the sons of the living God. The apostle John declares that whosoever sins transgresses against the law for sin is indeed the transgression of the law. The apostle John goes on to further declare that whosoever abides in Jesus does not sin and whosoever sins has not seen him neither has. Known him and are of the devil for the devil sinned from the beginning. The apostle John believed, declared and wrote that whosoever is born of God does not commit sin for his seed remains in him and he cannot sin because he is born of God. We must needs recognize and pay close attention to the words presented in this passage of Scripture for it brings us face to face with the wonderful truth surrounding whether or not we think and feel as though we can continue to sin after we have tasted the free gift of the salvation of the living God. There is something within us that must needs understand and recognize that we dare not, we cannot, we must not continue sinning in the sight and presence of the living God after we have received the free gift of salvation that comes and is found in the person of Jesus the Christ. Those who are indeed born of God cannot sin for sin is the violation and transgression of the Law. Those who are born of God do not believe they can indeed continue sinning in the sight and presence of the living God for they know that those who sin in the presence of God are those who play a dangerous game in His presence and in His sight.
Let us now return unto the sixth chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul which was written unto the saints which were at Rome. In the sixth chapter the apostle Paul asks the question whether or not we should continue in sin that grace might abound. The apostle Paul then goes on to write and ask how we who were dead to sin live any longer therein. Pause and consider that and how absolutely incredible that thought truly is for the apostle Paul wrote unto these dear saints and asked them clearly and point blank how we which were dead to sin live any longe therein. For the apostle Paul he could not understand how we as the saints of God who were once dead in sin could indeed live any longer therein without delivering ourselves from it through the sacrifice of the eternal and living God. In order to illustrate this all the more I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the fifth chapter of this epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome as well as the words which were found in the second chapter of the epistle written by the apostle unto the saints which were at Ephesus. Consider if you will the following words which are found in each of these passages of Scripture beginning with the fifth chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome:
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience: and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth 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. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:1-11).
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by. Sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them t hat had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if though 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 bounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to 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 rein in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 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. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:12-21).
“And you hath ye quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace are ye saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:1-10).
“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are not more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are buried together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:11-22).
Consider also the words which are found in the fourth chapter of this same epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Ephesus beginning with the seventeenth verse:
“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darknened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; if so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus; that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old men, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:17-24).
“Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needed. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearts. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s are hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:25-32).
Consider the following words which are found in the fifth chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the churches which were in Galatia as well as the words which are found in the fifth chapter of the second epistle written unto the Corinthian saints:
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherwith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtors to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we throughly the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be. And I, breethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution?: Then is the offense of the cross ceased. I would they were even cut off which trouble you” (Galatians 5:1-12).
“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled din one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, revel kings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts, If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:13-26).
“For the love of Christ constrained us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth. Know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath. Made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:14-21).
Turning our attention to the words which are found in the sixth chapter of the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome we can clearly see how all of this is interconnected. It is absolutely undeniable and unmistakeable when reading the words which are found in these passages of Scripture that we have indeed been called to an entirely new life that is not only found but also hidden in Christ. We who have believed upon Him and we who have confessed with our mouth the Lord Jesus and have believed with our heart that God had raised Him from the dead are those who must need separate ourselves and distance ourselves from sin—and not only from sin but also from our past. The apostle Paul would write unto the Corinthian saints that those who are in Christ are new creatures—and not only are they new creatures but old things have passed away and all things have become new. In the sixth chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome he would declare that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death. The apostle Paul presented this as a question for and unto these dear saints and inquire of them whether or not they were aware of the fact that if we have been baptized into Jesus Christ we have also been baptized into his death that as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father so also we should walk in newness of life. The sole purpose of baptism is that we might needs experience the death and the destruction of the old man beneath the waters that when we emerge from those waters we might emerge in and unto newness of life. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how relevant and important it us for us for we have indeed been called to be baptized into Jesus Christ that we are and might be baptized into his death.
As you read the words presented in this particular epistle you will find the apostle Paul declaring that we are buried with Christ i 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. What’s more is the apostle Paul doesn’t merely speak of being baptized into Jesus Christ and being buried with Him by baptism into death but he would also write of our being planted together in the likeness of his death that we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. What’s more is the apostle Paul would also declare that our old man is crucified with him that the body of sin might be destroyed that henceforth we should not serve sin. The sole and underlying truth that is found within this passage of Scripture is that we have indeed been baptized with Christ unto death that we might experience newness of life—and not only newness of life but also resurrection from the dead. When we think about baptism we must needs recognize and acknowledge that it is an outward manifestation and demonstration of an inward work that is taking and has taken place—namely old things passing away and being destroyed and all things becoming new. We dare not undermine and lose sight of this and how absolutely vital it is for us who would profess that we are indeed Christ’s and that we belong to Him. Those who are in Christ are indeed new creations and old things not only have passed away, not only are passing but away but also must needs pass away. Those who are in Christ are new creations as all things are becoming new and all things have become new. It is this concept of newness of life which we must needs understand within our hearts and minds when seeking to walk with the person of Jesus the Christ for we have indeed been called to abandon and forsake all traces of our old life prior to our receiving and having tasted of the free gift of salvation and eternal life that is found in the person of Jesus Christ.
If you continue reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find the apostle Paul going on to declare that our old man is crucified with him that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. The apostle Paul goes on to declare that he who I is dead is freed from sin and that if we be dead with Christ we believe that we shall also live with him knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more for death has no more dominion over him. Oh please pay attention to the words found in this passage of Scripture for the sole purpose for our being crucified with the person of Jesus Christ is that the our old man and the body of sin might indeed be destroyed that we should not serve sin. The apostle Paul emphatically declared that he who is dead is freed from sin which suggests that the only way for the old man and the body of sin to be destroyed is through death. This is directly linked and connected to the words which are found in the first epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Ephesus for he would write and declare that it was for this reason the Son of God was manifested—that He might destroy the works of the devil and might do so through His death. It was through the death of Christ He destroyed the works of the devil and yet there is a call to death that is present within our own hearts and lives which we must needs commit ourselves unto without hesitation and without reservation.
I have previously written concerning the wonderful and powerful work which takes place beneath and within the waters of baptism and have used both the account of the salvation at the Red Sea as well as the great flood during Noah’s day which covered the whole earth. It would be during the days of Noah in which wickedness and iniquity covered the face of the known world as lawlessness and transgression abounded. It would be during those days when wickedness and iniquity abounded within and upon the earth and the living God actually repented Himself of creating and forming man upon the earth. As a direct result of this the living God would send a great flood upon the face of the whole earth that would not only cover the earth but would also destroy every living thing that had breath which was not upon the ark. The only beings to survive the flood were Noah and his wife, their three sons, their wives and two of every living creature upon the earth which had the breath of life in it—both male and female. This is something which we must needs recognize and understand for there would indeed be a work that would take place beneath the waters of the great flood and that is it would cleanse the earth of the tremendous wickedness and iniquity that was so pervasive and prevalent upon it. Beneath the waters of the flood the wickedness that grieved and angered the heart of the living God would be destroyed and when the waters of the flood receded and there no longer remained any remnants of the great flood the earth would indeed emerge in newness of life. The living and eternal God would use the great waters of the flood to destroy all wickedness, all iniquity, all transgression and all sin that was present upon the earth as every living thing that moved upon the face of it would be destroyed. If you want to truly understand the great reality of the work of baptism you must needs understand the work which takes place beneath the waters as it is beneath the waters where sin, iniquity, transgression and wickedness is indeed destroyed and put to death.
If you take a look at and examine the narrative of the children of Israel at the Red Sea you will find that part of the salvation of the children of Israel was passing through the waters of the Red Sea which had become a wall to their right as well as to their left. Once the children of Israel had passed through the waters of the Red Sea on the other side Pharaoh, his horses, his chariots and his army would enter into the Red Sea thinking they would and could pursue the children of Israel. What would happen, however, is the living and eternal God would cause the wheels of the chariots to come off and would cause a great confusion to be present and manifested among Pharaoh’s horses an chariots. What’s more is the living and eternal God would cause the waters of the Red Sea to come crashing down upon Pharaoh and all his horses and chariots thus drowning them in the midst of the sea. Oh there would indeed be a work which would take place in the midst of the waters of the Red Sea—and even a work which would take place beneath the waters of the sea—as the living God would completely and utterly destroy the enemy and adversary. There was indeed a work that would take place beneath the waters of the Red Sea as the waters of the Red Sea would completely and utterly destroy Pharaoh and his army which pursued the children of Israel into the Red Sea. Pharaoh and his army thought they could pursue the children of Israel into the wilderness and somehow bring them back into bondage and slavery. Pharaoh and his army would even pursue the children of Israel into the waters of the Red Sea thinking they could somehow overtake them and yet they did not realize that in the midst of the Red Sea was a great trap which had been set for Pharaoh and his horses and chariots. There in the midst of the Red Sea Pharaoh and his horses an chariots would indeed be drowned and destroyed as the children of Israel would watch the salvation of God be completed through the destruction of their enemies.
I sit here today writing about this particular truth and I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the words the apostle Paul wrote in the sixth chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome. The apostle Paul would indeed write and speak of our being buried in baptism together with Christ in death that just as Christ was raised from death to life so also might we also be raised from death to life. What’s more is that as you read the words presented in this passage of Scripture you will find that there is only one answer for the body of sin that is present within our hearts and lives and that is death. It is only through death that we are indeed able to destroy and put to death the body of sin that is present within us. It would be in the eighth chapter of this same epistle the apostle Paul would write that there is conflict and war that wages within us—it is a war between our flesh and the Spirit. What’s more is in the seventh chapter of this epistle the apostle Paul also describes this great conflict and tension that exists within him because of the body of sin and the flesh. The apostle Paul would describe how he does not do the things he wants to do and does the things he doesn’t want to do and thus a conflict is in fact created within him. It is in the sixth chapter of this epistles the apostle Paul emphatically declares that he who is dead is free from sin and this is not only true in the spiritual sense but also in the physical and natural sense. We as the saints of God and disciples of Christ are freed from sin through the death which we associate and identity with Christ and there is also the freedom from sin if we should happen to pass from this life and enter into the next. The apostle Paul emphatically declared the only way for us to be truly free from sin is through death and the death which we are to experience is an association with Christ in and through His death which He died upon the cross. What we must recognize is that the work which Christ did on the cross through death was only part of the work which needed to be done for through His death He defeated the devil and rendered him completely and utterly powerless.
If there is one thing we must needs understand when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture it’s that although Jesus did in fact die upon the cross and defeat the devil through His death that does not exempt nor make us immune from death within our own hearts and lives. I am convinced that if we want to truly walk in a manner that pleases, honors and glorifies the living and eternal God we must die daily and we must take up our cross and walk with and follow Him. Remember the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the twelfth chapter of this epistle when he besought the saints of God to present their bodies as living sacrifices unto the living God which were holy and acceptable in His sight. The apostle Paul here in this passage urges and implores his readers and audience to reckon themselves to be dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. The apostle then goes on to instruct them to let not sin therefore reign in their mortal body that they should obey it in the lusts thereof. We must make no mistake about it when reading the words the apostle Paul wrote in this passage of Scripture for the words we find here bring us face to face with the awesome and wonderful truth surrounding the fact that the only true solution to sin is death. There would be those who would think they can somehow defeat and overcome sin within their lives through good works, or through counseling, or through some other earthly and natural means. The truth of the matter, however, is that there is only one true way to death with sin within our lives and that is through death. There is absolutely no way to destroy, defeat and overcome sin within our lives without and part from death. This is precisely why the apostle Paul would write unto the churches which were in Galatia and declare unto them that he was crucified with Christ and it is no longer he that lived but Christ who lived within him. It is for this reason the apostle Paul would write unto the saints which were at Philippi concerning himself to have completely and utterly put to death his old self and his former manner of conversation. I invite you to consider if you will the following words which are found in the second chapter of the epistle written unto the Galatian churches as well as the words which are found in the third chapter of the epistle written unto the Philippian saints. I would also like to invite you to consider the words which are found in the twelfth chapter of this same epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome:
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the ministers of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 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 y the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Galatians 2:14-21).
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God b y faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, where to owe have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing” (Philippians 3:7-16).
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to honk soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (Romans 12:1-3).
As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call your attention to the tremendous need we as those who are called according to the purpose of God to not only yield ourselves unto death through baptism but that we might be delivered from the body of sin and death. What’s more is that the only true way for us to be delivered from the body of sin and to walk in newness of life and freedom is through death—death that is accomplished through the work of the cross and of the Spirit within our lives. The apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Rome that they ought to reckon themselves to be dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. The apostle also admonished and instructed them to let not sin reign in their mortal body that they should obey it in the lusts thereof. Not only this but they were to not yield their members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin but yield themselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead and their members as instruments of righteousness unto God. Ultimately we are called to be those who death—and by death I mean death that works itself in us and has from the time of Adam until now—has no dominion. Not only ought death to have dominion over us but neither ought sin to have any dominion over us for we are not under the law but under grace. We must needs recognize that unto whomsoever we yield ourselves servants to obey we were their servants to whom we obey. There is a great need for us to recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for within it we are indeed brought face to face with the incredible need for us to be men and women who put to death the members of our flesh on a daily basis that we might not live nor be dominated and controlled by sin but might walk in newness of life and freedom in Christ. It is indeed for freedom Christ has set us free and He whom the Son sets free is free indeed.