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I recently discovered that one of my teeth was cracked. The dentist wanted me to have the tooth out as quickly as possible, so I did. Sure enough there was a huge abscess under the tooth eating away at my jaw. The oral surgeon took it out, showing great skill and said that that area of my mouth would now heal.
Well, does that mean that I should crack my remaining teeth in order to show the great skill of the oral surgeon even more and promote more healing in my mouth? I don’t think so – but that’s the exact kind of logic we sometimes apply when it comes to sin and forgiveness.
Sometimes we use what’s called “false logic” with God. “Suffering is bad, I’m suffering, so therefore I must be bad and God doesn’t love me.” Or, “When I sin, God doesn’t punish me so it must be okay to sin.” These would be known as “faulty cause & effect.” We’ll get to these later.
Paul, in Romans chapter 5 just got done declaring how the law came about to show us how much we’ve missed the mark with sin – but that even though the existence of a standard makes us realize how much we don’t measure up to it – God’s grace, His unmerited favor, was even more powerful to provide forgiveness of our errors. So Paul then asks and answers what might seem like a silly question:
6:1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
When we deal with sin sometimes we act like my silly tooth analogy. God has shown His infinite skill in identifying then removing our sin – but does that mean then that we show more of His skill by sinning more so that He can heal us more? No. We don’t need more sin, we just need more of Him in us, and we don’t need to sin in order to get that. Paul introduces us to a life principal – “you’re dead.”
3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Now this doesn’t mean that the act of baptism itself saves us – it is an outward sign of an inward reality – that is, when you accept Jesus as Lord, you go to the cross with Him and into the grave – your old self dieing – then coming back with new life in Him.
What do you mean – my body is the same, my personality is the same – I don’t feel different at all. What’s different is that the Holy Spirit has come to live inside of you – changing your heart and giving you new life. After that it becomes a process of transformation.
5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin- 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
If you execute someone for a crime you can’t put them on trial again. Jesus was executed for your sins not just so they are forgiven, but that you might escape their hold as well – and that’s what this study in this chapter is all about.
Before we come to Christ we are slaves to sin – we can’t help it, but Jesus came to set us free by death.
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