Faithlife Sermons

Dead to Sin, Alive to God

Live the Word  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  30:29
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Life that accords with the person you are in Christ.

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Introduction to the Text

If you have a Bible, I invite you to open to Romans 6. We’re wading into deep water here—more than we can cover this morning. I will share a few thoughts from it, but let me encourage you to spend time this week reading and praying and re-reading this text. If it raises some questions for you, I would love to visit with you.
These Spirit-inspired words help us to change. No doubt all of us have something that we seem to be perpetually hung up on, a battle with sin that we seem always to lose, an aspect of our character that we feel will never change. Maybe you’ve just accepted that you’re never going to change. Maybe you’ve quit trying. You need the message of Romans 6.
In the chapters leading up to this one, Paul has shown how Christ’s death on our behalf frees us from the penalty of our sin—how sin is pardoned (justification). Now he turns to how sin is subdued (sanctification): the process of being changed by the grace and power of God.

How can a person change?

In showing how God pardons sin in chap 5, Paul emphasized grace greater than our sin. Now, in chapter 6, he anticipates the question: If there is grace for sin, then why stop sinning? That kind of thinking is to miss the point of gospel of grace: God not only forgives your sin through Jesus, he delivers you from it.
You might imagine Romans 6 as an intricate tapestry… I’m going to simply trace a few threads in the chapter that give us a helpful and encouraging approach to change.

United With Christ

Romans 6:3–5 ESV
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
Are you familiar with what is called the DTR talk? (Abbreviation for “Define the relationship”). Are we just friends, boyfriend/girlfriend, moving toward marriage, etc.? What’s our status? Once married, the marriage vows define the relationship. Sometimes we have to look back and have a DTR talk with ourselves, remembering the vows and realigning with them.
You need something like the DTR talk in your spiritual life because:
You will not change apart from unity with Christ. Some of you need to need to be baptized (united with him).
Some of you were baptized long ago, but maybe you need to recall it and ponder again what it means.
You are united to Christ (his past/his future). We died in him. You are raised in him. “The determining factor in your relationship with God is not your past but Christ’s past.” And the power of his resurrection is the determining factor of your future.
You didn’t just get a pardon; you are united with Christ in the whole scope of God’s cosmic plan.
You have all you need for change.

Recognize Spiritual Slavery

One thread is unity, another is slavery.
Romans 6:6–7 ESV
We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.
Paul helps us to see that sin is not an exercise of our freedom and independence; it is a destructive slavery. Now, tracing the thread further down the chapter, look at verse 16.
Romans 6:16 ESV
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
Notice that Paul is not simply setting slavery side-by-side with freedom; he is sets two masters side by side. Being your own master is not an option. If you think you are your own master, you are being duped.
we grasp for money, sex, and power only to find ourselves in their grip
recognize it for what it is, destructive slavery
Romans 6:21–22 ESV
But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
“How’s that working for you?” When anything but obedience to God defines your life, it is destructive.
relationships, substance, momentary sexual experience, status and wealth
Paul wants us to see that in Christ we are free from destructive slavery. We now belong to God. And living in obedience to him leads to a thoroughly changed and good life—abundant and eternal.

Obedient From the Heart

Which brings us to this third thread: to choose to live your daily life in obedience to God.
Romans 6:11–14 ESV
So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Romans 6:17–18 ESV
But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
I heard it said recently that you will not change until you change something that you do every day.
mind and heart, mouths, eyes, ears, hands and feet
When a person is united with Christ and strives to live daily in obedience to God, change is inevitable, it is as sure and certain as Jesus crucified, buried, resurrected, and exalted in heaven.
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