1. Many Bible scholars consider the sixth and seventh chapters of the Epistle to the Romans to be among the most difficult to grasp in all of Scripture. What the apostle Paul teaches in these chapters is not all that hard to understand; it is simply hard to believe and accept in praxis.
2. In our study of chapter 6 last week Paul explained the believer's relationship with s __ __.
a. Unlike the unsaved world around us, believers have been set free from s __ __ __ __ __ __ to sin. This has been made possible by Christ's r __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ of all sinners who receive by faith His atoning sacrifice on Calvary's cross as their own.
b. Paul declares that this is true because all believers who have been b __ __ __ __ __ __ __ into Christ have been placed by the Holy Spirit into vital union with Him. Someone long long ago created a word picture using the term atonement to illustrate the strength of our reconciliation to God through Christ. The word "atonement" can be understood to describe the believer's "at one-ment" with Christ before the face of God. When God looks on a justified sinner, He sees only the sinless perfection of His Son, Jesus Christ. Christ, then, is much more than my "friend" or "guide" or "co-pilot."
(1) Having been baptized "into Christ," Paul writes, believers are by the same token baptized "into" His d __ __ __ __ (6:4), His r __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ (6:5), and His "new" l __ __ __ (6:11).
(2) This truth is illustrated beautifully in the sacrament of b __ __ __ __ __ __.
c. Believers are free from the power of sin because we have d __ __ __ in Christ and, like Christ, are thereby freed from sin's dominion.
For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
d. That we have, in fact, been freed from sin is illustrated in 6:13-14 and 6:17-18, where Paul states that believers have the power ("authority") to c __ __ __ __ their master. No such choice is given to a slave!
(1) Part of the burden of original sin is the loss of the ability to choose the "moral option" to obey God rather than one's own sinful nature in a given situation. To be sure, there are occasions in which even a sinner will "do the right thing," but his/her tendency will ever be skewed toward choices which satisfy the flesh. It is a universal condition, and the historical rise in lawlessness, immorality, greed and cruelty throughout the fallen world is indicative of mankind's hopeless slavery to sin. (See Romans 3:11-18 (quickview) .)
(2) Paul's understanding of the grace of God as set forth in the doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone was thought by some to grant "license" to choose sin. Paul addresses these concerns in 6:15-23, describing the new creature's fealty to his/her new lord and master, r __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __. The regenerated believer has both the freedom to choose and the Spiritual knowledge and wisdom to choose wisely. When faced with the choice between the "w __ __ __ __ of sin" and the "g __ __ __ of God," the New Creature will "obey from the h __ __ __ __" (6:17).