Pastor’s Class Notes
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Introduction: Paul has been emphasizing the believer’s death to sin. At conversion, one dies to sin. That means its power, tyranny, and rule over us is broken. Henceforth, it can only taunt us, and tempt us. The verses of our text continue this significant theme.
Romans 6:7 “For he that is dead is freed from sin.”
“Freed from sin” here refers to being released from the jurisdiction of sin. The believer is dead to sin and therefore owes it no more debts. The debt of sin has been paid by our substitute.
Sin can no more condemn us. It can lay no legal claim against us. In Christ, we have died to sin, and it is impossible to collect anything from a dead man.
Once a man dies, he is beyond the jurisdiction of a court. No indictment can be brought against him. You cannot bring a charge against a dead man.
In my old man, I was lost, unregenerate, in rebellion, condemned, enslaved. But now all of that is gone, crucified, and can never be brought aback against me forever. The everlasting consequences of sin can never be brought against us again.
There should be no doubt whatsoever in your mind regarding your eternal security. You are hidden in Christ. Hell can never find you. Alaric, king of the Visigoths, invaded the declining Roman empire and rampaged through Italy. He was invincible, and sacked the city of Rome in 410 A.D. He continued his conquests southward, but at Cosenza, which is now a provincial capital in the region of Calabria, he became ill and died. This presented his followers with a dilemma. What would they do with the body of their great leader? It would be impossible to carry it over the Italian plain and across the snowy Alps to their homeland. But neither could they leave it to the mockery and desecration of the peoples he had conquered. Hence, they decided to bury him in the bed of the river Busento. Slaves diverted the stream from its channel, and there in its dry bed they dug the grave of Alaric. The Goths were determined to give their king a grave which no hands could reach. The body was placed in a deep rocky tomb; the waters were returned to their normal channel; and to hide forever the secret of this strange sepulchre., the slaves were put to death. Even so, we are buried with Christ. Sin cannot tyrannize us. Hell cannot find us.
Romans 6:8 “Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe
that we shall also live with Him.”
Since we share in Christ’s death, we also share in His life–a life that is eternal and spiritual. Salvation allows intimate communion with Jesus. We live with Him and know that all will be well. But remember, death to sin must precede life with God.
You must either die to sin or die for sin. One’s only hope for salvation is to rivet self to the death of Jesus. You must look at your sin and flee from it to the Savior at Calvary.
There is not a single grain of comfort in God’s universe for those who obstinately cling to their sins. j; “God is angry with the wicked every day” (PS 7:11). Bunyan said a voice seemed to speak in his heart, “Wilt thou leave thy sins, and go to Heaven, or wilt thou have thy sins, and go to Hell?” People want their sins, and Heaven, too. But that is an impossibility. You must forsake sin to share life with God, and it is a life well worth sharing, as the next two verses indicate.
Romans 6:9a “Knowing that Christ being raised from
the dead dieth no more;”
The life of Jesus is perpetual, everlasting. He will never die again. It is glorious to share in a life that will never pass away.
Romans 6:9b-10a “Death hath no more dominion over Him.
For in that He died, He died unto sin once:”
He died unto sin once. It cannot come back to haunt Him again. Christ had to deal with sin only once. His victory over it was overwhelmingly complete. How glorious it is to share in a life that has defeated the power of sin.
Romans; 6:10b “But in that He liveth, He liveth unto God.”
At Calvary there was agony and the cry of separation, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken Me?” j On the cross Jesus bore our debt alone. But now and forever He delights Himself in the Father. How glorious it is to share in a life that is characterized by unbroken communion with God.
In the next verses Paul tells us how we should respond in light of our death to sin:
Romans 6:11a “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to
be dead indeed unto sin,”
It is imperative that we accept what God’s word says about us. We must consider ourselves to be what we really are. The believer must understand what he actually is internally.
Consistent victory over sin can be ours only when we accept the truth that the power of sin is broken in our lives. Without this sense of victory, our Christian living will be, at best, mediocre.
I realize that evil constantly assaults you. All of us constantly face temptation. To say that sin is a defeated foe almost appears foolish. Nevertheless, in believers it is true.
You must accept what God’s word says. It may sound impossible, illogical, and contrary to your experience, but it must be accepted by faith. Though it seems contrary to what we feel, we have to believe it solely because the Bible teaches it.
This should not surprise us. All the essentials of our life before God are accepted by faith: we believe the Bible is true by faith; we believe Christ bore our sins by faith; we are saved by grace through faith; we reckon ourselves dead to sin by faith.
I fear that many of you will respond to all of this by saying, “So what? What difference does this make? Why make such a big deal of this?”
It makes all the difference in the world.
When we reckon ourselves as dead unto sin, there will always be hope within us regarding the ability to overcome any evil. When we by faith acknowledge that sin’s power is broken, it takes away the nagging sense of hopelessness that Satan loves to taunt us with.
We have all experienced times when we felt helpless before a particular sin. There have been evils which we surrendered to because they were perceived as too strong a temptation for us to overcome. Because of a defeatist attitude, we often lose battles through fear before they are even fought.
The only way to overcome that pitfall is through the lesson taught in this chapter. Do not yield to the accuser; deny his taunts of control over you. Realize your position. He cannot tyrannize you; he can only harass you. His power is broken. Lloyd-Jones said, “This sixth chapter [of Romans] has been to me, since I came to understand it, the most liberating chapter in my whole Christian experience.” I have also found greater confidence in my conflict against evil through the study of this chapter. There is power available to me to overcome any sin whatsoever.
Believe it, brothers and sisters! It’s true! No sin has the right to control you. Reckon yourself as dead to sin.
When you realize your actual condition in Christ, you will fall prey to sin’s advances less and less. To know your true standing before God should flood your soul with holy joy, and remember what Nehemiah 8:10 told the people of God: “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Romans 6:11b “But alive unto God through Jesus Christ
This is the positive result of our death to sin. Its result is life unto God. He becomes the acknowledged source and direction of our lives.
When we reckon ourselves dead unto sin, there is no boasting on our part. It is rather a way of saying that we are totally dependent upon God’s strength. We live unto Him, and draw strength for victory from Him.
We are alive unto God, abiding by His plans, and dwelling in the center of His purpose for our lives. Before the world was even created, God had already determined what He desired from His people: “He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (EP 1:4).
It has always been God’s intention to have a people stand holy and without blame before Him in love. To live habitually in sin is a total contradiction of God’s plan and purpose for us.
Let us be clean that we mighty enjoy, to the fullest extent possible, communion with the father.