Freed from sin, alive to Christ
. UNION WITH CHRIST
Last week we looked saw HOW MUCH MORE Jesus grace act OVERCOMES Adam’s sin act.
Even the WORST that sin can try and do CAN’T OUTDO God’s grace.
Where sin increased, grace OVERFLOWED all the more.
Jesus THOROUGHLY UNDOES all that Adam did.
He brings eternal life for all those who were once dead in Adam and in sin.
But I’m sure you’ve heard this response before.
“If you’re saying we’re saved by grace, not by a good life, that Jesus has done it all, doesn’t that mean I can just live however I want, cause I’ll be forgiven anyway?”
“Doesn’t this message give people a licence to go and sin?”
Maybe you’ve heard this being whispered into your own ear when temptation’s come your way.
Hey, you don’t need to resist this sin.
Go ahead and do it, then just ask for forgiveness.
Remember, the more you sin, the more his grace and forgiveness abounds.
It’s actually a good think that you do this because it will show up God’s incredible grace.
Paul shows us this issue was present right from the start of the gospel message going out.
6 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?
So then, DOES the gospel message lead you to change sinful patterns in your life?
Or does it lead you to APATHY towards sin?
At the heart of this thinking is a misunderstanding of who Jesus is and what he’s all about.
That’s why Paul’s answer is initially very simple
but EXTREMELY EMOTIONAL!
During our time working at the drug rehab in Coffs, we met many old seekers would come back for visits and reunions.
And they’d share their story about how they came to know Christ while at Sherwood.
And that coming to know the gift of grace was far more than they ever imagined they’d get by going to a drug rehab.
And then they’d go on to say, and drugs has never had the place it had in my life before coming to Sherwood.
If I was to say to them, “But since you understood grace, didn’t that motivate you to go out and just keep doing drugs?”
They’d be like, are you kidding.
What did you just say?
Living under the rule of that sin that ruined my life.
How could you ever suggest that I’d go back to that?”
I’m not that person anymore.
That was the old me.
And this is Paul’s point.
V2: 2 BY NO MEANS! Are you kidding!
Have you experienced life under the reign and rule of sin?
The guilt, the shame, the condemnation that it brought?
Have you experienced life under the reign and rule of Christ?
The forgiveness, the acceptance, the freedom and assurance that his grace brings?
It’s extremely unsettling to even be asking the question of whether we should go back to living in that place!
Christ didn’t just come to give us forgiveness, he came to free is from sin’s clutches.
V2: 2 BY NO MEANS! May this never happen!
It’s the pull your hair out groaning kind of response.
Don’t even go there.
I can’t think of anything more opposed to God’s glory and your good!
He’s saying that if you come to this conclusion, it shows that you haven’t understood who Christ is and what’s he’s about in the first place.
So he goes back to Christ, and our identity in union with Him.
WE ARE those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
Do you remember who you are?
Remember Christ. You know how he died. And that was because of sin. Remember that sin’s the problem yeah. We live in a this broken world full of death and brokenness because of sin yeah.
But Jesus came to fix that. He defeated it by dying to it.
And we are those who in union with Christ have died to sin too!
So how can we live in that any longer!
How can we live as if nothing’s changed? As if nothing’s happened? As if Christ’s death and resurrection means nothing!
3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
Now why does Paul bring baptism into his explanation at this point?
Remember he’s just been talking about Adam and Christ as the two representative heads for humanity, and what is our baptism?
It’s a naming ceremony isn’t it?
What were Jesus last words recorded for us in Scripture?
“Go out into all nations, and baptise them in the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit.”
He gives us the clearest explanation of the name of God, that all believers are baptised into and have fellowship with.
When you and I were baptised, we were given a new name.
We were given God’s name.
Signifying us becoming a new person
no longer in Adam
but in Christ.
Meaning that everything that was once true of us in Adam became undone.
Replaced with everything that is true of Christ.
What happened when you were named at birth?
You took on an identity that has shaped your life ever since. Every time your name is called, instinctively you respond, because you recognise, that’s me.
When Christ is named, do you respond in the same way?
That’s who I am.
So everything that’s true of Jesus is true of me.
So Paul says, DON’T YOU KNOW.
Have you forgotten who you are?
You are one with the one who died to solve the problem of sin. This is now your history. You were baptised into all of Christ, his death, burial, resurrection.
When Christ first began his public ministry, he came to John and asked to be baptised.
John tried to stop him.
Because he knew that this baptism was not for sinners, not for Jesus.
The Jordan river was polluted with all the sins of the 1000’s John had baptised.
And he’s saying, I don’t want to dip your pure head in one drop of this water.
But Jesus says to him.
For it is necessary to fulfil all righteousness.
Let me be baptised into them, for soon, they will be baptised into me.
I will be immersed in their sin, and die to it.
But I will be raised to life, free from sin, and they will be baptised into me.
Free, pure, to live in newness of life in me.
Our baptism, like the communion meal, isn’t simply a remembrance thing of something in the past, that doesn’t affect us now. Our baptism is something we need to be continually immersed in. The real immersion is union with Christ. We have been baptised into Christ. And this is something that has continual ongoing significance.
4 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. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.
Ok, so I’m still here. I wasn’t physically present with Christ when he died. In what way did I die with him? Remember the representative relationship we talked about last week with Adam and Christ. Just as we were all in Adam as he was sinning, our old self was in Christ as he was dying.
6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him.
What does the old self refer to here?
It refers to our old self, both body and soul dominated by, ruled by, and trapped in sin, under the control and dominion of our addiction.
...so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
Remember the question at the start? Should we continue to sin so that grace may abound?
Is the absurdity of this question becoming clearer?
BY NO MEANS!
Now we’ve been saying that our union with Christ gives us a new name, a new status, a new identity, a new nature.
In Christ, we died to sin!
This is truly Incredible!
But we still sin don’t we.
So what is he saying?
He’s saying that in this period where we await for the removal of sins presence and effects from our lives, we can live in the knowledge that sins power HAS been removed.
I’m so looking forward to that day.
Not only free from sin’s power and reign, but also it’s presence and effects.
Over the past 2 years, God’s done a work in me where this truth we’re basking in this morning, has truly gripped my heart and soul.
But I’m still groaning because of the tendencies I still have to desire sin, to run towards temptation rather than from it. I still feel the effects of past sinful choices and actions.
Do you know what I’m talking about?
You groan inwardly, longing for your full adoption.
But we must wait.
But it truly changes your life knowing that you’re in Christ and because of that you’re free from sin’s dominion.
I’m Christ’s, and I know that just as much as I know that I’m Ben Drew.
I belong to him. I know that even when I’m sinning, my status before him is unchanged.
For many years of my Christian life I viewed my relationship with God outside of my union with Christ. If I was doing right, I felt good, acceptable. If I was doing wrong, I felt ashamed, unacceptable.
Now, I’m assured even when I’ve done wrong, that I’m accepted. I’m loved. And so I run to God instead of away from God.
He’s the first person I go to after I’ve realised I’ve sinned. I agree with him that what I did was sin. I thank him for his forgiveness. I thank him for Christ and that my identity is in him. That he succeeded where I have failed. And I ask him for help to know why it happened, and how and where I can do better next time.
See the change that’s occurred. God’s my Father. Christ is my brother. I trust them. I know that we’re on the same team against sin. I know that he wants to help. I don’t have fear anymore of condemnation. I truly want to live freely. I truly want to honour the Lord.
There’s a transformation that has happened by his Spirit within me.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again;
death no longer has mastery over him.
10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all;
but the life he lives, he lives to God.
He died once, and he’s not gonna die again. But the life he’s living, he’s living forever. And he’s living it to God. He’s no longer surrounded by the presence or effects of sin. The temptations he had as a human, which he never gave in to by the way, he doesn’t have any more.
That’s why we know we’ll get there too. He’s the firstfruit. But we’re to come.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
You have to see yourselves this way. You have to internalise this. To let this thoroughly renew you in your mind, in your soul, in your heart. You are dead to sin. So don’t live as if you aren’t. Don’t say things like. I’m a hopeless case. I can’t do this. I’m never gonna change. You live in a fallen broken body. The effects of Adam’s sin. But you are dead to letting that rule you and be your identity because your in Christ. And in Christ you’re alive, your new. And you alive to God.
So get up. Fight. Be encouraged. The battles been won, now fight your defeated enemy.
You’ve been set free, so live free.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.
13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness.
How do we do this?
Well it’s not by focussing all our efforts on not sinning.
The more you focus on something, the more power you give it.
So focussing your mind or your prayers on what you shouldn’t be doing, just makes you want to do it, and makes the sin in the forefront of your mnind all the time. There’s a far more effective way to fight.
But rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life;
and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.
Focus on what God has saved you for. Thank him for bringing you from death to life. Offer yourself to him, throwing yourself on his grace and on the power he offers you through his Spirit within you.
Don’t give sin your attention. Give God your attention. Give righteousness your attention.
Why be so positive?
14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
We can’t lose!
We can go out with joy, knowing that we will still be tempted, we will still sin, but we’re free to pursue righteousness, because we’re not under the law but under grace.
We have a new master.
And this master has promised us his love.
Secured our future.
And guaranteed us his presence through every step of the way.