B.C.P. Trinity 6 : Rom.6:3-11
Earlier in Romans Paul has established that we all sin and fall short of the glory of God and we are put right with God through faith in Jesus and his death for us. Not by our own actions but God's undeserved favour.
At the end of Chapter 5 he wrote that the O.T. law was given to expose sin. But that this showed the wonderful grace of God.
At the start of Chapter 6 he answers the unasked question. If sin shows God's grace, should we not sin all the more to show God's grace even more ?'
Rom.6:1f 'What shall we say then, shall we continue to sin in order that grace may abound. My no means, for how can we who died to sin continue to live therein ?'
A dead person cannot sin because he has nothing in him to respond to temptation. So if Jeffrey Archer were to die today he couldn't lie or commit adultery any more could he ? He has no way of responding to temptation and the evil nature that causes people to sin.
Paul is saying that Christians cannot continue to sin because it is a denial of their very nature.
He is not saying that a Christian will never sin once they have come to trust Jesus. He is saying that becoming a Christian involves turning away from what is wrong, and turning to what is right. Something that the parents and Godparents declare in the Baptism Service.
Paul uses Baptism to illustrate faith in Jesus. The going under the waters represents the dying to the old way of life. Dying to ourselves being the centre of our lives.
The rising out of the waters represents the rising to the new life that Jesus gives. Loving God first, others second, and ourselves last.
It says , verse 3, that we were baptized into Jesus death. What does this mean? Jesus died and with him took the punishment for sin. We died to our old life and our sins were placed upon Jesus. He died, and we have died to the power of sin.
A little boy visiting his grandparents was given his first slingshot. He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit his target. As he came back to Grandma's backyard, he spied her pet duck. On impulse he took aim and let fly. The stone hit and the duck fell dead. The boy panicked. Desperately he hid the dead duck in the woodpile, only to look up and see his sister Sally watching. Sally had seen it all, but said nothing. After lunch that day, Grandma said, "Sally, let's wash the dishes." But Sally said, "Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen today. Didn't you, Johnny?" She quickly whispered, "Remember the duck!" So Johnny did the dishes. Later Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing. Grandma said, "I'm sorry, but I need Sally to help make supper." Sally smiled and said, "That's all taken care of. Johnny wants to do it." And again the whisper, "Remember the duck!" Johnny stayed while Sally went fishing. After several days of doing both his chores and Sally's, he couldn't stand it. He confessed to Grandma that he killed the duck. "I know, Johnny," she said, giving him a hug. "I saw the whole thing. I was angry, but because I love you, I forgave you. I was just wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you."
Johnny, by way of his Grandmother, learned something of God's grace that day. God's grace is not earned, but it is given: freely, simply and abundantly. It frees us from the slavery of sin.
Jesus rose through the glory of God the Father. He was helped by divine power. That same divine power enables us to live for God. To continue living lives that are free from the rule or slavery of sin.
So next time we are tempted let us say. 'Get away, I have died to you!'
The Reformer Martin Luther woke up one night to see the devil at the foot of his bed. 'Oh, its you,' he said, and went back to sleep.
And let us live our lives in the power that God gives. Relying upon his Holy Spirit who lives inside all Christians. So that we may bring glory to God, and live lives free from sin to live for him