Pastor’s Class Notes
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Romans 6:5 For if we have been planted together in
the likeness of His death, we shall be
also in the likeness of His resurrection:”
The death to sin which believers experience at conversion will prove its occurrence by producing a resurrected life, one characterized by newness. Men who are set free from the dominion of sin will demonstrate it day by day in their lives.
The resurrection of Jesus was an obvious and visible event. Everyone could see that it had obviously happened. Even so the world should be able to look at us and see that without question we have been made new.
If there is no visible difference between you and the world, depend upon it there is no invisible difference. I have generally found that a man is not much better than he looks and if a man’s outward life is not right, I shall not feel bound to believe that his inward life is acceptable to God. (Spurgeon)
Remember, people always put the best apples on top of the basket for all to see. The deeper you pray into people’s hearts, the worse they usually become. Let all men know by your outward conduct that you truly are dead to sin.
Romans 6:6a “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified
“Old man” refers to what we were before conversion. It is our Adamic nature, the essential us before we died to sin. To be saved, a man must fasten that old nature to the cross of Jesus, for only by its power can the old man be defeated.
It is essential to remember that crucifixion was a means of execution where by death was slow in coming. Crucifixion brings a sure death in time, but through a lingering process.
A man crucified could live for hours, days, and some for even a week. Even so it is with our old man. His crucifixion began at our conversion, but he will not die until we pass into glory.
Our old nature lingers on its cross. Its agonizing process of dying causes it to seek ways to gratify itself through our flesh. Our lusts are crucified, but alive. Pray for nails of grace to hold them tightly to their cross. Our inner demons are crucified, but alive. Pray for Heaven to keep them nailed hard and fast to their tree of doom.
Our full and complete release will not come in this life. Only at physical death will our old man die, never to rise again. But praise God! At that same moment our new nature will live on, and be our guide into glory.
Romans 6:6b “. . .that the body of sin might be destroyed,”
“Body of sin” is a pictorial way of expressing the way tahe old man forces himself upon the individual. He is pictured as having a body through which he bullies us around. Once he is crucified, however, his body loses its ability to dominate and enslave us. It is destroyed, deprived of its strength, force, and power.
Certain principles have been made known to us, and power is now available to us, whereby evil can be gloriously overcome. Our old nature exists and is active, but ways and means of overcoming it have been placed at our disposal.
Before conversion, we stood unarmed before well-armed Sin. But now Sin has been disarmed, and adequate stores of artillery are now available to us.
Sin can only taunt us, and try to talk us out of using our power. The Devil will tell us our rifle is not loaded and our bayonet is made only of cardboard. He is constantly taunting us to do battle with less than is available to us, but God’s intention through it all is. . . .
Romans 6:6c “. . .that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
Sin is no longer a tyrant over us. It can only taunt us and tempt us. However, God does not take away our free will and treat us as machines. The old and new natures reside in us, and man is forced to choose right or wrong moment by moment of every day. The result of all this is never-ending Civil War.
The brain of a believer can become a battlefield for such intense warfare that one might fear his head will explode. New believers are often appalled at the inner turmoil they discover within themselves. They are surprised to learn they still must face temptations and experience occasional setbacks. However, this inner struggle will last through all of life.
The two natures within the believer cannot make peace with one another. The enmity between them is irreconcilable and life-long. The warfare ranges relentlessly.
The old nature, from Adam, always pulls us down toward sin. It struggles awfully, even in the best of men. Even after outward iniquities have been overcome, the old man will continue to plague us with inward ones. And in the final analysis, these are the ones that plague us the longest. Pride, covetousness, murmuring, envy, bitterness–these and others are the ultimate temptations.
The new nature, from God, aspires always after the holy God that bestowed it. Its longings and tendencies are ever upward. The new man seeks to control the heart because it has been purchased by the blood of Christ.
The old man, however, views the new man as an intruder, a trespasser. Hence, sin never yields voluntarily. It always dies hard. After each battle between the two natures, the believer experiences pain.
If the old man wins, there is pleasure for a season in sin, but then comes the pain of punishment, and the sorrow of remorse. If the new nature wins, there will eventually come peace and satisfaction, but at first there is the pain of self-denial. Each time we say “No” to self and the old man, we can almost feel the nails tearing our flesh.
However, regardless of the pain, ever squelch your new nature, which causes you to press on toward perfection. The new nature will cause you always to feel uncomfortable in sin. You are not perfect, but you should want to be. You should want to hunt down sins in your body, and put them to death.
Pain notwithstanding, fight your sins to the death. They caused our Lord’s humiliation and shame. Your sins crucified Him. Revenge the death of Jesus by hacking mercilessly against your sins.
Always remember to stay close to the blood of Jesus. Only Christ has the power to defeat evil. If we ever forget this, we will be undone.
With the help of Jesus, we need to be ever seeking the immediate and complete removal of our sin. Nothing less should satisfy us.
We need to be at war with our sins as a whole, and not compromise with any given sin under any circumstance. There might be a given sin which requires our special attention at times, but we should continue to be at war with all other sins simultaneously.
To be pleasing to God should be the all-consuming passion of our lives. It should not be a sidelight, or a hobby, but rather the main thing. My mom and dad have a concrete pool in their back yard. The water is usually cold. I make my way into the pool one step at a time. It takes me a full five to ten minutes to get my whole body in the pool. My children, however, just take a flying leap into the pool. After a second of shock, they feel great. Hence, while they are playing and frolicking with all their might, I am still shivering my way into the pool one step at a time.
My fear is that most Christians approach godly living in the same way I approach the pool. They want to dabble in it and approach it slowly. When it comes to dealing with our sins, we are too often like the boy who thought it would be too cruel to cut his dog’s tail off all at once, so he cut it off one inch at a time!
Christians often do not want to go overboard and be whole-hearted about godly living. But we need to quit dabbling at it. We must make it the all-consuming passion of our lives. We should act as though we truly are dead to ourselves and sin, and alive solely to God.