We have been studying the security of salvation for the past three weeks. I hope you are grasping the reality of just how secure your salvation is.
We saw in Romans 5:12-21 that Paul introduces the theme of our union with Christ. We were joined to Adam, he was our federal head, and his sin was imputed to us. Now by faith we are joined to Jesus Christ, he has become our federal head, and his righteousness has been imputed to us. Because we are in Christ, all that belongs to Jesus Christ becomes ours.
Your salvation and mine depends only, entirely, and exclusively upon the obedience of Jesus Christ.
Romans 4:5 (NKJV) But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,
There are no works involved in salvation, it is a free gift of God's grace to all who believe.
Romans 6:1 (NKJV) What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
Now the question that naturally arises is: "If everything depends on what God has done, then what does it matter how we live?" Or, "Isn't this teaching antinomianism? Antinomianism simply means: "against the law, or lawlessness."
You can hear the legalist arguing with Paul: "Once saved, always saved leads to lawlessness. You preachers of salvation by grace through faith alone weaken our sense of moral responsibility. You only encourage sinful behavior with that kind of teaching."
I know that there is a question that is on some of your minds. The question is: "Is God's free forgiveness an excuse to SIN?" Does the fact Jesus died for me mean I can cheat on my tax return, that I can cheat on my wife, that I can cheat in my business? Does the fact that Jesus died for me mean I can lie a little bit when it suits me, that I can excuse my selfishness, that I can excuse my materialism, that I can excuse my lust, that I can excuse my jealousy, that I can say, "IT DOESN'T MATTER - I CAN DO WHAT I LIKE - because God's going to forgive it anyway?" Notice Paul's answer:
Romans 6:2 (NKJV) Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
He shouts out, "May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?" The New International Version reads: "By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?"
He says that we "died" (aorist tense) to sin. He is describing something that happened to us as a fact. We died to sin. In what sense have believers died to sin? The answer is found in:
Romans 5:21 (NKJV) so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We have died to the rule and reign of sin. Sin's reign came in Adam and was broken by the last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ.
How can Paul say we are dead to sin? We still sin, we still feel the power of temptation. How can Paul say this? We must differentiate between what is true of our position as a fact and our experience. Paul is talking here about our position before God. Positionally, we have died to the reign of sin under Adam.
We died to sin's reign, and we no longer have to live in sin. We have been set free. Why do we still sin then? There is a great difference between being given a position and realizing that you are in that position. For example: At the end of the Civil war, slavery was abolished in the United States. But what actually happened was that many of the slaves who had endured long years of servitude found it very difficult to understand their new status. When they saw their old master coming, they would respond as a slave. They were free, but it took them a long time to realize it.
The whole object of the Apostle Paul in the sixth chapter of Romans is to get believers to understand that we have died to sin.
How did we die to sin? Paul's answer in verses 3-11 is the doctrine of our union with Jesus Christ.
Romans 6:3 (NKJV) Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
The best way to understand the doctrine of our union with Jesus Christ is to be clear as to the meaning of the phrase, "baptized into Jesus Christ." To understand this phrase, we need to understand the word, "baptized." A principle of hermeneutics is; to determine carefully the meaning of words. The Greek word translated here as "baptized" is baptizo. Its primary meaning is: "to plunge, to dip, to immerse." The word is used in the classics of a smith who dips a piece of hot iron in water, tempering it. It is also used of Greek soldiers placing the points of their swords in a bowl of blood.
There is more than one meaning for the original word "baptize." In any language, there may be literal and metaphorical meanings of a word. For example: If I told you that I saw a fox yesterday, what would I be talking about? I could be talking about an animal that is a member of the canine family. Or I could be talking about an attractive woman. Without a context, would you know how I was using the word? I could be using "fox" literally for a member of the canine family or metaphorically for an attractive woman.
In exactly the same manner, the word "baptize" has a meaning far removed from anything to do with water. Thinking of water in connection with this passage of the Bible leads to obscurity and error.
The word "baptize" used metaphorically means: "a change of identity or to identify."
1 Corinthians 10:1-2 (NKJV) Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
Baptism here means initiation into a new relationship, or identification with Moses. It does not mean immersion, the Israelites were never in the sea at all; they passed over on dry land (Ex. 14:21-22). It was Pharaoh's soldiers who got wet. They were all united and identified with Moses. Moses was God's appointed leader of Israel. The basic Christian significance for baptism is identification with Christ. We are united to Christ, the Son of God, our leader.
Mark 10:38-39 (NKJV) But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" 39 They said to Him, "We are able." So Jesus said to them, "You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized;
What is Jesus talking abut here? He is talking about his death. How is death a baptism? In his death, he identified with sinful man and bore his punishment. Verse 39 tells us that they will be identified in His death.
The literal use of the word baptize; to dip or immerse, makes utter nonsense of these passages. Only the metaphorical use; to identify with, can give us any meaning at all.
The early writers distinguished between "real" baptism and "ritual" baptism. Ritual baptism is immersing someone in water. Real baptism is the act of the Holy Spirit placing the believer in the body of Christ, this is identification. The very moment we believed on Christ as our Savior we were baptized by the Holy Spirit, placed into the Body of Christ. By being members of the Body of Christ, everything that is true of the Head is true of each member of His Body.
1 Corinthians 12:13 (NKJV) 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.
The theme of this chapter is the church as the body of Christ. Christ is the head, and we are the body. We are all joined to Him and we are all joined to one another. This joining takes place when the Holy Spirit identifies (baptizes) us in the body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 6:17 (NKJV) But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
This is the work of the Holy Spirit when we believe.
Galatians 3:27 (NKJV) For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Baptism is the same as putting on Christ.
Colossians 2:10-12 (NKJV) and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. 11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
We have been united to Christ, and what ever he does, we do; whatever he has, we have.
1 Peter 3:21 (NKJV) There is also an antitype which now saves us; baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
Baptism (identification or union) is an antitype or fulfillment of the picture that Noah's ark played. Those in the ark were saved from judgment, those in Christ are saved from judgment.
When we believed the gospel, the Holy Spirit put us into the body of Christ - union. This is not physical but a spiritual identification.
Our salvation is guaranteed because everything that happened to Christ happened to us. As we were united to Adam, so we are now united to Christ, and it is the Spirit who unites us to Christ. I am in Christ and Christ is in me - union.
What water baptism is a physical symbol of a spiritual reality. It accomplishes nothing but to picture the reality of our union with Christ.
Romans 6:3 (NKJV) Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
We were baptized (identified) into Christ's death. When Jesus Christ died, we died with Him. We are one with him, and his death is ours.
The late L.E. Maxwell from Three Hills, Alberta, Canada told this story. I think it will help us in seeing our identification with Christ:
During the Civil War, George Wyatt was drafted into a unit, soon to be called into battle. This was an unfortunate day for Wyatt. For he had a lovely young bride and an infant that he might never see again if he went to war.
It also would be impossible for her to care for the crops and farm. This was a great problem for Wyatt. He could not find an easy answer. He would have to go to war or face prison. For him, there seemed to be no other rational choice.
Not long after the draft notice, an old friend of Wyatt's, by the name of Richard Pratt, dropped by. Pratt was a hunter and had been an outdoors man all of his life. He had cut out a small piece of land in Montana and returned home to find a bride, get married, and raise his family in that beautiful wilderness.
When Pratt arrived at the Wyatt's home, he found a family broken in spirit. After hours of talking, shouting, pacing, crying, there was a deep silence. Pratt broke the utter stillness and said, 'I'll take your place! I'll go and you can stay.' Wyatt said, 'That's impossible! My name is on the draft notice, I have to go. There is no way to get off that list.' Wyatt thanked Pratt for the suggestion and asked him to forget it and spend the night in their home and use the daylight hours to do his business.
They finally went to bed. However, sleep failed them all. The night was short. In a few hours, Wyatt got up without a word and went out into the morning moonlight to cut stove wood for cooking and warming the cold morning hours. His young bride began tending to their restless infant while their friend, Pratt, was alone in the living room, immersed in thought.
Suddenly, a knock came at the door. Startled, Pratt said, 'I'll get it!' When he opened the door, the men asked, 'George Wyatt?' Pratt pretended to be Wyatt, for he knew who they were and answered, 'Yes! What can I do for you?' They explained their mission of taking every man on the list to the court house to sign in and get suited up for the Confederacy. With his hand on the door, blocking their entrance to the home, Pratt looked back and said, 'Bye, honey!' He closed the door before she could answer, and Pratt left the farm house, with the men thinking he was Wyatt.
At the court house, Pratt signed the usual papers under the name of George Wyatt and took Wyatt's gun, clothes, and horse. After a briefing and bit of training, he went into battle and was killed at the siege of Vicksburg. He was buried on the battlefield. After the battles of Shiloh and Gettysburg, the conflict had grown more hopeless. The frantic draftsmen were going to every house and demanding that every man prepare to go to war. For it looked like Richmond might fall soon. They came to the farm house of George Wyatt. Wyatt met them at the door and asked,'What do you want?' They said they were drafting every man that was alive. Wyatt smiled and told them, 'I have died.' They asked what he meant. Wyatt paused for a moment and told them the story of what happened on the day of his draft. He told them that his friend, Pratt, had gone to the Court House and signed in as George Wyatt.
Wyatt told them to go to the courthouse and check out their own records. He said, 'You'll find that the Judge recorded my death and added to the record that I was buried on the field of battle, near Vicksburg.' Wyatt took a big breath and said in a strong voice, 'You can not draft me because your judicial records say that I am dead.' George Wyatt was never drafted and could not be sent to war.
Wyatt was dead to the Confederacy just as you are dead to sin. The Confederacy had no authority over a dead man. Likewise, Christ went to the cross in your place, signed your name and died as your substitute. It is written in the document of the Heavenly Court that you died on a cross in the service of God to satisfy the unalterable draft of the law of sin and death.
Just as George Wyatt was freed from the Confederacy draft, the cross of Christ has freed us from the law of sin and death.
Romans 6:4 (NKJV) 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.
The astounding statement that Paul makes is that "as" that is true of Christ, "even so" it is true of us. "Even so we also should walk in newness of life" -Christ walks in newness of life as the result of the resurrection and so do we. The "newness of life"here does not refer to a new quality of experience or conduct but to a new quality of life imparted to the individual. Verses 1-11 of Romans 6 do not deal with the Christian's experience or behavior but with his position before God. "Newness of life" is the newness which consists of life. The literal Greek here reads: "So also we in newness of life might walk."
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
This is not dealing with my walk, but with my position before God.
We died with Christ and were buried with him but it doesn't stop there.
Romans 6:5 (NKJV) For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
What has happened to Christ literally and physically has happened to us spiritually. Physically we didn't die when Christ died but judicially in the reckoning of God we did. This is identification.
Verse 5 is the key verse in this section, teaching our union with Christ. Verses 6 &7 are an exposition of the first half of verse 5, "For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death"...
Romans 6:6-7 (NKJV) 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.
"Knowing this" - how do we know this? We only know it because the Scripture teaches it. The "old man" is the man that I used to be in Adam. The word "crucified" is a compound verb meaning: "was crucified with" - Christ. That man that was joined to Adam was crucified together with Christ.
Because of our union with Christ in his crucifiction, we are dead to sin, we have been set free from its power. We are no longer slaves of sin.
Verses 8-10 explain the last half of verse 5, "certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection."
Romans 6:8-10 (NKJV) Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
Christ temporally came under the power of sin and it killed him. By rising from the dead, he broke its power, and when he came out of the grave we came out with him. Remember, what is true of Christ is true of us.
All that Jesus Christ is and has, we are and have; we are one with him - union. Let me give you an example: I take this bulletin. It has an identity of its own, quite separate from this book. Let's say I put it in the book. Now I do something with the book, say I mail it to Pennsylvania. I do not mail the bulletin, but the bulletin is "in" the book so where is the bulletin? It is in Pennsylvania! Why? Because it is in the book. Where the book goes, the bulletin goes. If I drop the book in the water, the bulletin gets wet also. If I recover the book, I recover the bulletin also. Whatever experience the book goes through, the bulletin goes through also because it is "in" the book. Where this illustration breaks down is that I can take the bulletin out of the book, but we can never be taken out of Christ. Our union with Christ is everlasting.
The Lord God has put believers "in" Christ. Our destiny is bound up with his. What he has gone through, we have gone through. Where he is, we are.
Now, notice carefully what we are to do with this knowledge:
Romans 6:11 (NKJV) Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Now, what are we to do with these great truths we have just learned? The believer is to look upon himself in the light of this truth. He is to remind himself that he is freed from the penalty and dominion of sin. He is also to count upon the fact that he receives his spiritual life from Christ daily.
The word logizomai is translated "reckon" (KJV) "count on" (NIV) "consider" (NASB). Paul says, "reckon" on your position in Christ (6:11). "Even so consider (reckon, count on) yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus." The present imperative could mean "do this continually," or "continue doing this." It is imperative that we have this new mind set.
The word "reckon" means: "to calculate, to take into account, to figure, to count on, consider the fact." Let your mind focus on these truths. Meditate upon them, keep saying them to yourselves, remind yourself of who you are in Christ. Be constantly counting upon the fact that you are dead to sin, and alive to God in Christ Jesus. The secret to holy living is in a mind centered on our position in Christ.
I can hear someone saying: "Yeah but I don't feel dead to sin!" Feelings don't have anything to do with it. It is a judicial fact. You need to count it so because it is so. It is a faith fact.
Last week when my alarm clock went off at 5:00 A.M., I woke up to a cold, dark dreary morning and I didn't feel like it was 5 A.M. I can argue all I want to, but it was still 5 A.M. The fact won't change. The fact isn't affected by my feelings! I might not feel dead to sin but I am to count it so because it is so.
Believer, we do not have to sin. If we do, it is because we allow it to happen. We are no longer slaves to sin, we are no longer in Adam. We are in Christ, we share God's very nature. Once we understand who we are, we will live like we should.
When Jesus died, we died together with Him. When Christ rose from the dead, we rose with Him. When Christ ascended to heaven, we ascended with Him and are now seated with Him in the heavenlies. Our identification with Christ includes the crucifixion with Him, burial with Him, and our resurrection, ascension and glorification with Christ. Our identification with Christ is so complete that God reckons us as having experienced co-crucifixion, co-burial, co-resurrection, co-ascension, and co-glorification. This is the way God sees us. Shouldn't we see ourselves in the same manner?
The principle of identification with Christ is the foundation of the Christian life. In Romans 6:1-11, Paul is saying, "You are as righteous as Christ." Then in verses 12 &13 he says, "Be what you are!" You are righteous, live like it!
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