"...our old self was crucified..." Romans 6:6
Understanding this precept of the Christian faith to some (like myself) can take a lifetime. In his letter to the Romans, Paul reveals the issue of all humanity: sin (read Romans 1). The apostle then discloses sin's origin, its destructive power, God's right to judge sinners, and the peace that comes through faith for all who would believe. He also describes the 'last nail in the coffin' of sin: when we reckon ourselves dead to its power. Just how is this done?
As Christ died on that cruel cross, He paid the ransom, the debt caused by our sin. This was necessary to absolve our rebellion against God and His way, thus fulfilling the requirement of the law concerning sin. (read Romans 3:10-26)
What is sin and why is it so significant? Sin is rebellion against God and His way. (Romans 3:23) The significance of sin is found in its temporal and eternal ramifications:
- In this life, sin separates us from God and His righteous precepts. Thus we lose the wisdom to navigate through life's snares and become entangled in sin's trap. (read Isaiah 59:2)
- In the life to come - the afterlife - we may be eternally separated from God because we refused Him in our temporal life. (read Romans 6:23; 2 Thessalonians 1:9)
Paul seeks to convey the certainty that if we die with Christ, we will be raised with Him as well. In other words, we may not necessarily go out and get crucified, but we die to our old self of selfishness that insisted on our own way instead of God's way of truth, redemption, and restoration. (read Galatians 2:20) Also, Paul asserts that when Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin, we also died with Him (v. 6). We were also buried with him when we were submerged in the baptismal waters (v. 4), and, just as Christ rose from the grave, being raised in baptism symbolizes the new life we now have in Christ.
So, then we must reckon ourselves dead to sin's influence, power, and enslavement. (read v. 11, notice the 5 words: "...count yourselves dead to sin...") We can do this as we realize we are alive to Christ and surrendered to His power. ("...alive to God in Christ...") In this way, we have been set free from sin's power ("...you have been set free..." v.22).
Is there a sin that you've struggled with all your life? Is there a pattern of sin that needs to be addressed? Let it breathe its last in your mind and heart as you die to sin and live to Christ. Can you hear it gasping yet, seeking to claw its way back into your life? Don't let it. Put the final nail in sin's coffin through the power of the One Who conquered sin with three nails.
Embrace the cross,