Summary: Here God gives us 4 keys to a victorious Christian life.
How Can I Live in Christian Victory?
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - March 22, 2009
*Don’t you like to be a winner? Of course, some corrupt athletes throw games. Sometimes parents will let their children win a game, and I imagine some women have done the same thing for their men. But most everybody plays to win. You will never hear an NFL player going to the Super Bowl say, “Man, I hope we lose tomorrow!” No -- everybody wants to be a winner.
*So let me ask you: How much victory do you have in your Christian life? How much victory do you want? -- More! I want more victory! And we can have it. Right here God gives us 4 keys to a victorious Christian life.
1. The first key is learning the truth of your new life in Christ.
*You have to thoroughly learn the truth about your new life in Christ. Paul stressed this three times in these verses. God wants us to become so fully acquainted with the truth of our new life, that twice He used the same word for “know” that He used to describe the oneness between husband and wife.
*Let’s look at the truth of our new life in Christ. In vs. 1-3, the new life starts with a death and a burial.
1. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
2. Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
3. Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
*We don’t want to make the mistake of thinking that Paul is only talking about water baptism here. We are not saved by water baptism. Being put into the water is an outward sign of an inward reality. The thing we can see with our eyes is a symbol. And the thing we can only see by faith is the spiritual reality: The reality that when you receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, He comes into your heart. And you come into Him to live as part of His Body. That’s why Paul says in vs. 3 that we believers have been baptized -- not into water, but into Jesus Christ. And that’s why in 1 Corin 12:12-13, Paul says:
12. For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.
13. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
*We are in Christ, -- and He is in us. William Barclay helped me understand it by comparing it to the air we breathe. He said, “We cannot live our physical life unless we are in the air, and the air is in us. And we cannot have spiritual life unless we are in Jesus, and He is in us. But if we have believed in Him, then He is in us, and we are in Him.” (1)
*This is extremely important, because it means that when we were baptized into Jesus, vs. 3 says that we were “baptized into His death.” So, vs. 4-7 say:
4. Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
6. 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.
7. For he who has died has been freed from sin.
*Vs. 6 clearly tells believers that our old man, our old sinful, selfish lost nature was crucified with Christ. Part of this has to do with the truth that if you execute someone for a crime you can’t put them on trial again. Jesus was executed for our sins, and we were executed with Him, so in Him, our sin debt has been paid in full.
*But there is another way we have been set free by our death in Him. First you have to know that before we came to Jesus, we were slaves to sin. Paul mentioned this in vs. 6. And sin is such a cruel slave-driver. But believers, sin can’t force us to be a slave for him anymore, because we are dead in Christ! “For he who is dead is freed from sin.”