Summary: This passage addresses Christians who have been born again and describes what has happened to us. This is not about things that ought to happen to you nor are they things you ought to try to do. These are true realities in your life if you are born again.
I’m sure you have all heard lawyer jokes. There are plenty of them, but it is said when the American humorist, Will Rogers, was walking through a cemetery one day, he saw a tombstone that said, “Here lies a lawyer, and an honest man.” Will said, “What do you know? There must be two men buried in that grave.” Well, there are a lot of people buried in the grave of baptism we are going to be talking about today among other things.
Look in Romans chapter 6 and let’s read the first seven verses. Paul has just been talking about sin and grace. “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” In verse 2 he uses one of the strongest negative interjections in the Greek language. He says, “No way! Absolutely not! By no means!” he writes. “We died to sin: how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self,” the King James Version says “the old man,” not talking about your husband or your father, “your old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless that we should no longer be slaves to sin — because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.”
This text addresses Christians who have been born again and it describes what has happened to us. I’ll remind you this is not about things that ought to happen to you. These are not things you ought to try to do. These are things that are true realities in your life if you are born again. There are three things Paul talks about. He talks about our death to sin. Look again at verse 2. It says very plainly, “We died to sin.” Now I hope some of you right now are thinking about that, and you are saying, “WOW! Does that mean that once I become a Christian I never sin again? I never think a sinful thought or I never commit a sinful deed? If that’s the case, I’m in a heap of trouble!” Well, that’s not what it means. But it means sin that once was your master, and you were in bondage to sin, that master has died and you are no longer under the grip of sin. What happens to a Christian as relates to sin? Let’s notice two things.
I. WHEN WE ARE BORN AGAIN:
1. Our awareness of sin is awakened
First of all, when we are born again, our awareness of sin is awakened. In other words, maybe some of you can remember before you became a Christian. You could commit sinful acts, and you didn’t really know or didn’t really care whether it was sin or not. Once you are born into the family of God and you pass from death unto life, suddenly, you are aware of what sin is and what sin is not. A person who is not a believer can sin and just about all they will experience is perhaps a dull ache of their conscience. When you become a Christian, instead of some dull ache in your conscience, it is a sharp pang of the conviction of the holy spirit. That’s what King David experienced in Psalm 51. “For I know that my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” Do you know what David was saying? Because he was a redeemed person, a man after God’s own heart when he had committed this sin of adultery, and murder, and lying, he said, “When I go to bed at night, that sin is ever before me. When I wake in the middle of the night, I see that sin in front of me, and when I get up the next morning, that sin is there in front of me.” A person who is not a Christian does not really struggle with any awareness of sin. They are just having a great time. They can sin and enjoy it, but a Christian can never, NEVER sin and really enjoy it.
Of course, a lot of people have already asked me this week. “Well now, Brother David, what do you think about our President and all of his acknowledgments? I think it has to do with sin, don’t you agree?” It doesn’t matter what I think about it. It doesn’t really matter what you think about it. What really matters is what God thinks about it. I don’t even want to address what he has done or what he has said. Let’s set it aside. I do want to address something that is much more disturbing to me. Have you been listening to the Time-Warner Poll and USA Today polls? What disturbs me is that you and I today live in a culture where a majority of Americans seem to say, “Well, it’s okay. Its sin, but it’s okay. Everybody is doing it. It is accepted today.” Ladies and gentlemen when we start letting public opinion polls determine right and wrong, morality, good and bad, that’s just a sign of the moral decay and decline to which our nation has sunk. You see, it doesn’t matter what the popular opinion polls say, and it doesn’t matter what I think or what you think. What does matter is what God says about sin and what Bible says, “For a Christian, we have died to sin, and suddenly we are aware of sin when it’s in our life.”