Friday 16 March 2012

Bible Book:

"Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life." (v. 4)

Romans 6:1-11 Friday 16 March 2012


Paul sees the obvious conclusion that some will draw from thepoint he reached at the end of chapter 5; if sin causes grace toabound, then surely we should sin more, so that grace might aboundmore? Of course the answer is an emphatic 'no' ("By no means!" (v.2)) and to explain the reason for that, readers need to considertheir nature. To sin deliberately would be to go against the grainof the risen nature, to deny the work of the resurrection by whichbelievers "walk in newness of life". However, there is clearlystill a tension here; humans by their nature, sin; believers, bytheir new nature, do not, but believers are human! So, in whatsense is Christ's dominion a present reality?

To answer that question Paul considers what it means to die and beraised with Christ; he makes emphatic and repeated claims for thebeliever who has been "baptized into [Christ's] death" (v. 3),"buried ... by baptism into death" (v. 4), "united with [Christ] ina death like his" (v. 5), the "old self was crucified" (v. 6) andthe "body of sin ... destroyed" (v. 6). Paul again writes in thefirst person, encouraging all to share in this dying which hasimmediate effect, freeing us from slavery to sin enabling us to"walk in newness of life", although this is clearly not yet fullyrealised. Indeed, there is another tension at play here as well;between what has happened, what is happening now and what is stillto happen. In many ways, the Christian has already died and beenraised, and yet there is also a sense in which the death of our oldnature and bringing to life of the new still lies in the future.Whilst holding both of these together, there is also a matter ofpresent obligation in which believers must live out the moralimplications of justification, and must consider themselves "deadto sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus" (v. 11).

To Ponder

Being given license to sin more may soundattractive, but is it really? Consider the effects of sin in yourown life and the lives of others you know.

What does the idea of being "buried ... bybaptism into death" (v. 4) mean to you in terms of your ownlife?

What are the marks of "walking in newness oflife"? Who are the people who have demonstrated that to you in yourown faith journey?

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