I still haven’t listened to the two sermons we missed while on vacation, but yesterday’s sermon was an introduction to chapter 6 of Romans, so I wasn’t lost in the middle of a chapter. 🙂 Our pastor started out by talking about unpacking which was relevant to me this week, since I’m still working on unloading those suitcases. He said it is a labor-intensive process to unpack Romans, so it’ll take time to understand with our minds the doctrine that is in this chapter. “Success and failure are in the details.”
Paul has just spent all of chapter 5 discussing justification which is our legal declaration of righteousness before God in a “courtroom” scene. I wrote more about this here: Positional Peace // in B+W. We were declared righteous in the past– before God, in Christ, we are currently blameless.
Sanctification goes hand in hand with justification. They are distinct, but never separate from each other. It is God working in me what was declared in me in Jesus. Many wish to have their “fire insurance” without taking Christ as Lord of their lives. But Paul is bringing sanctification right on the coattails of justification. Sanctification is the work of God- particularly the Holy Spirit- in taking a justified sinner and making him more righteous and changing him into the image of His Son. There is never one without the other.
Paul answers two questions in Chapter 6– logical possible conclusions after the doctrine of chapter 5. Verse 1: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” Here the premise is from chapter 5: grace abounds. But, the conclusion (shall we continue in sin?) is wrong. We may face this more than we realize. We try to justify the more enjoyable- but sinful- path by thinking, “Yes, but God will forgive me.” That is the way that leads to death, y’all. Our fallen minds make bad conclusions on sound doctrine very easily. Paul wants us to understand this– verse 2- “God forbid!…” He uses this phrase 10 times in the New Testament, when he wants us to straighten out the facts. 🙂
Every major doctrine of scripture (God’s abounding grace, etc), even properly taught, leads to false conclusions in our fallen minds. It’s hard stuff. For those of us who drive, think of when we were learning. Big, straight highway. It’s harder than you’d think to keep the car going straight, isn’t it? We over-correct, swerve all over the road. Riding the knife edge of understanding is hard, but we need to try because it sets the whole trajectory of how we live our lives. Success is in the details. Christ died for us- we now live in Him.
Paul’s gonna show us a 3 fold pattern for spiritual growth in verses 3-14 of Chapter 6. This is a great way to look at how to actively pursue sanctification and reach the right conclusions for our premises.
1) To know the facts. Verses 3-10, he appeals to what we understand, know, what is in our minds as fact. He just spent several chapters telling us that we are dead. We should know that now and have it internalized. When it’s in our minds, we know it in our hearts.
2) To reckon. We need to put faith in these facts we know. Paul has gone 5.5 chapters without giving us a command. Now he’s commanding us in verse 11, “Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin.” This is an accounting term. It means to credit, to calculate. It has to do with our thinking.
3) To present, to show yourself. To demonstrate and cause it to be. Col. 1- “Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”
We know. We put faith in that. We change.
In Romans, Paul spends seven chapters on knowledge, two on God’s calling the sinner, and three on application. In our culture, we often want to just get to the application. Don’t tell me why it works, just tell me what to do. But we need to really know this stuff. We need to know that we are dead to sin. There are actually at least five different interpretations of this idea- the difference is slight but it makes a huge difference in the right conclusion on the doctrine of dead-to-sin.
1) Renunciation view. A time where you renounced your sin. | this makes salvation something you did.
2) Your obligation- as if the apostle is commanding us that we ought to die to sin. | but those who are justified are also glorified.
3) Your progression in life- that you are more and more dying to sin. | Um, how do you be more and more dead?
4) Your perfection as a believer. | No one is more dead than another.
5) You are a corpse– true, you are dead. But we are not corpses in the sense that we are safely immune to sin or insensitive to it.
This passage is talking about our position in Christ as we ourselves are identified with his own death and descent. It’s about us being in Christ.
We continued to look at Romans 6:2-10 looking at all the ways that we died with Christ in sin. As we look at our sanctification, we need to know that our old man has died and therefore cannot multiply sin anymore. I got to thinking out loud at potluck lunch time– this is a huge shift in focus. When we know that we are dead, but think we need to die more to be more sanctified, we spend our time “killing” the old man when we should be focusing our energy on living righteously in the new one! Super freeing, to me anyway. In Christ, all things are possible.
Paul dedicates three chapters to this doctrine. It’s meaty stuff. But I want to work to unpack the beauty of how to live victoriously. I’m so excited to hear more from Chapter 6. Because it is not I who lives, but Christ who lives in me. Everything goes back to the cross. The Gospel is not just for the unbeliever- the power of God is shown in the gospel at work in the life of the believer. We were dead, but now we are alive!
This outfit is the result of a “dress-up” session I had in my closet Saturday night. When I’m getting bored of outfit combinations or I have a challenging piece I need to figure out how to use, I take a few minutes when I’m not rushed to try clothes on until I like the look. This time, it was this peplum shirt. I love it and bought it after I loved my dark rose one so much. I’ve worn that one twice: Dark Rose + Brown and Peplum. However, this one is kind of too tight and I left it in a bag to return for moooonths. Now it’s too late to take it back, so I wanted to make it work. Enter: the scarf. It draws attention to my face and hides the problem area. I wouldn’t do this with most shirts, but it worked for this one.
Things can get silly during a dress-up session. Our usual slimming black maxi skirts were dirty from the funerals last week (yep, I’m struggling with the laundry), so I flipped my favorite printed skirt inside out and heh, no one noticed. 😀 Just had to make sure the tags didn’t hang out. 😛
I wish y’all a fabulous day! What was your sermon on?