Dead to Sin Rom. 6:1-11 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Some men are inclined to preach licentiousness because “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound,” [Rom 5:20]. In Rom 6:1-11, Paul answers the challenge, “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” No, because we are dead to sin. In this passage Paul explains how we are dead to sin and the consequence of being dead to sin.
We are dead to sin, doctrinally – Rom 6:2 – it is a fact that when you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior, God says you are dead to sin [Col 3:3; 1 Pet 2:24]. In other words, if you never understand how you are dead to sin or why you are dead to sin, the scripture says that you are dead to sin and, therefore, you are to believe it. It’s just like believing anything else God says. He wrote it and that settles it. And since we are dead to sin, we are not to “live any longer therein.”
We are dead to sin, spiritually – Rom 6:3-5 – these verses are often taught to be water baptism. However, they are about Spirit baptism rather than water baptism [1 Cor 12:12-14]. When we are saved, the Spirit of God puts us into Jesus Christ [Eph 5:30]. Therefore, we are spiritually [and yet literally] baptized into his death, burial and resurrection. When you are in Christ, you become part of his eternal life [1 Jn 5:11-12], both those things that are future and those things that are past. Hence, you are “crucified with him,” [Rom 6:6], you are “buried with him,” [Rom 6:4], you are “raised with him,” [Eph 2:6] and you “shall also live with him,” [Rom 6:8] “in the likeness of his resurrection,” [Rom 6:5].
Because we have been baptized by the Spirit into Jesus Christ, “we also should walk in newness of life,” [Rom 6:4]. This is a profound statement by Paul making us aware that we are very much like the prodigal son. Like so many lost sinners, he had wasted his substance with riotous living. He ended up destitute and feeding swine. In his sin he was perishing with hunger. When he came to himself, he decided to return to his father and repent. His father received him merrily and proclaimed, “For this my son was dead, and is alive again,” [Lk 15:24]. After beginning to enjoy his new life with his father, it is inconceivable that he would then return to his riotous living and the “fields to feed swine,” [Lk 15:15]. In like manner, Paul states that we should walk in newness of life. Walking in newness of life doesn’t direct you back to the sins of your old man. Like the prodigal son, we leave the swine and riotous living. It makes sense that since we are dead to sin we should not “live any longer therein.”
Though these verses are not doctrinally applied to water baptism, they do show us a great deal about the water baptism that follows our salvation. First, by immersion, it depicts the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of the Lord. Second, in water baptism, the child of God is renouncing his union with sin in his old life. He is publicly making his break with his old life of sin like the prodigal did when he came home to his father. He should truly put off the old man [Eph 4:22], put on the new man [Eph 4:24] and walk in newness of life. A man who isn’t ready to make a break with his old life isn’t ready for baptism.
We are dead to sin, willingly – Rom 6:6 – doctrinally and spiritually, we are “crucified with him.” But as Christ had to willingly take up his cross and die, so we must also willingly die to sin [1 Cor 15:31] that “the body of sin might be destroyed.” We are “crucified with Christ,” but we must also “live by the faith of the Son of God,” [Gal 2:20] in order that “we should not serve sin.”
I read a fictional story about an old man and his old horse that illustrates our new life in Christ. This fellow and his horse always traveled the same circuit and always stopped at the same old places. They knew the route so well that either could take the other there without prompting. One day the old man stopped at a new inn and ate food that he had never enjoyed before. The food actually changed him into a new man. When he came out to ride off, he got back on his old horse but decided to head in a different direction. Of course, the horse stubbornly resisted, trying to walk him along the old route. The new man had to rein him in to get him to change his ways. That’s what happens to us when we die to sins and begin to walk in newness of life that we should not serve sin.
Because of our death to sin we are free from sin – Rom 6:7 – see also Rom 6:18, 22. He that is dead is freed from sin. That is sin no longer has an ownership claim to us. Christ paid for that at Calvary and his payment became effectual when we were born again and our old man was crucified with him. Jesus condemned sin in the flesh [Rom 8:3]. Sin has already gotten all of what he is going to have of us [the old man] and now that old man is crucified with Christ. The old man is dead and, therefore, we are free. Eventually, the old man will be laid to his rest in our physical death.
What we have seen in the first seven verses of Rom 6 is that being dead to sin involves a transformation from death to life, from burial to resurrection, from our old life to our new life, and from bondage to freedom.
Because of our death to sin we live unto God – Rom 6:8-10 – When Christ died to sin he was no longer in its realm to be “in all points tempted like as we are,” [Heb 4:15]. He will never face sin as an opponent again. He will never face death as an opponent again, either [2 Tim 1:10]. He is freed from sin and, therefore, death has no more dominion over him. He is alive unto God.
Rom 6:11 says that we should likewise reckon ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin. This is called dead reckoning. In other words, if we yield our members to sin, we are going to sin. But if we reckon ourselves dead to sin then we can reckon ourselves “freed from sin,” [Rom 6:7]. Because of Christ’s death and life unto God we can also reckon ourselves alive unto God through Jesus Christ. And so, we can walk in newness of life.
Conclusion: Often men are incredulous of the free gift of salvation and full justification. They’ll say, “If that’s the case, then I can just go on sinning and do as I please.” I often remind them, if you really understood your sin, what Jesus did to pay for your sin and what it is to be dead to those sins so that you can walk in the newness of life, you wouldn’t even think about trying to get away with sin after you get saved. You would bury that old man and walk away never to return again.