Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
God is much wiser than man. He knows that the devil is intent in distorting the truth. Jesus called the devil a liar and the father of it. We have talked much of the New Evangelical philosophy of cheapening God’s wonderful gift of salvation. We have also warned of the philosophy of “easy believism” that many have adopted.
The Bible is clear that God’s salvation changes the heart and life of those who receive His wonderful gift. In verse 1 of our text, God directed the apostle Paul to ask the question that exposes the lie of New Evangelicalism and of “easy believism”. “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?”
Does this philosophy have any grounds in truth? Verse 2 answers that question with two very clear words: “God forbid.” God can never accept that false idea. Then we have the further question: “how shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” We must understand the fundamental change that God brings about in the heart and life of every born again Christian. The Holy Spirit indwells every true born again child of God. The true child of God is dead to sin. Sin does not have that same power over the saved person that it had when that person was lost.
Why was it that Saul (Paul) had a love for the very same people he had been given letters to arrest? We know that Ananias did not want to believe that Paul was a changed man. We know that the brethren had a hard time accepting that Paul was saved. Barnabas had to convince them that Paul was a different man. Barnabas was not made ashamed by Paul. Paul was a changed man. He no longer hated God and His people. He now hated his false religion. He did not hate people, but he hated the lie he had bought and paid for. He had sat at the feet of Gamaliel. He was the top teacher among the Pharisees. Saul was able to sit at his feet. That was a privileged place. However, after Saul was converted, he counted all that previous training but dung. He did not hang on to it and try to filter out the junk. He knew it was all junk. He chose to follow the truth. After he was gloriously converted he sat at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ and was trained by Him for the work that God had called him to. God changed his name to reflect the change of nature that had already taken place in Paul’s life.
Paul was not a little god after he was saved. God does not record all of his life. He recorded that which would be needful for future generations. Paul was a godly man who could teach other godly men to follow God. He put off the old man and put on the new man. He could no longer live as a Pharisee. He was now a born again Christian. This fact is true for all those who are truly born again. God changes us. We could never make the needed changes ourselves.
New Evangelicalism is designed to try to convince those whom God has not changed, that they are saved. Easy believism does the same. It is a humanistic effort at trying to accomplish what can only be done by God.
In verse 3 Paul challenged the hearers. “Know ye not.” There are some things that every born again Christian needs to know. There is no excuse for not knowing it. Paul used the ordinance of baptism to bring the point home.
A Biblical baptism is always in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. It is always in water and it is always by full immersion. It is not by pouring a little water or much water over the person. It is not by sprinkling some water on the person. It is by the person being fully immersed in the water. Why?
In verse 3 we see that the person that has been baptized into Jesus Christ is baptized into His death. This is why immersion is the only true baptism. When Jesus died, He was buried. He was put inside a tomb and the stone was rolled over the door of that tomb. Jesus was enclosed in that tomb. He was buried as verse 4 tells us. Those who are Biblically baptized are buried with Christ by baptism.
I Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
There are many professing Christians who fight tooth and nail against immersion baptism. This is a strange thing for someone who claims to have come under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. How can such a person fight against his Lord and Master?
Water baptism is that picture that God designed to be a clear picture of what happens when a person is saved. We need to understand this as we consider the question and answer of Romans 6:1-2. If you are saved, you died to your old self. You say you did not do that? Then you never got saved. There are thousands of professing Christians walking around crippled in their past sins. They cannot break those old sinful habits. They say they have tried, and they ask for prayer to be able to break them, but they persist. Something is wrong with that picture.
In Romans 7 Paul will address the war that is going on in the heart and life of the saved person. However, it is a war that is contained to the spirit of the saved person. It is not a war that dominates the outward appearance and actions of the saved person. The devil is always trying to get a Christian to fall. Sometimes the Christian will fall, but he cannot stay down.
He has been changed and He is a new creature in Christ.
Back in our text, we see that we were buried with Christ in baptism, but we were also raised up to newness of life. Some years back I spoke with a Mennonite preacher who thought he had covered all the bases. He would immerse those who requested immersion baptism, and he would pour some water on those who requested pouring. I showed him what Romans 6 talks of. Paul also wrote about this in Colossains 2:12. This preacher knew he was wrong in what he was doing. He could not admit it so he stated that we should keep the person under the water for three days and three nights then to fulfil Jesus’ burial. This man was caught and too proud to admit he was wrong. He is dead now and he knows the truth now. He was wrong and a hindrance to the souls of many people.
In verse 5 of our text Paul was directed to use another picture. A plant needs to be well rooted to grow and survive. A plant that is just thrown on the ground will not survive. It might to alright if there is much moisture. However, when the sun comes out and heats things up good, that plant will wither and die. It needs to be planted.
The seed must be put into the ground and the seed dies in order for the new life to come up. Jesus taught about this:
John 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
Likewise the saved person needs to be planted in Christ. He needs to die to self and be planted in Christ. He needs to be rooted in Him. Paul says we have been planted together in the likeness of his death. We do not need to be buried for three days and three nights. We just need to be planted in Christ. If we are planted in Christ we will produce fruit.
In verse 6 we are again reminded that we know something, if we are saved. We know that our old man is crucified with Him. We do not need to be literally nailed to a cross. We do not need our side literally pierced with a sword. We need to be forgiven of our sins and we need to be given a new nature. God does this for every true child of God.
The body of sin is destroyed in salvation. After salvation we should no longer serve sin. As we have noted and as God shows us often, Christians sin. However, Christians cannot be servants of sin. That is contrary to what God does when He saves a person. This is so clear in this passage and elsewhere in the Bible. I would rather follow what God says and be sure, than to follow some twisted doctrine and miss out on God’s salvation and eternal life. I do not want to hang on to the words of fallible man. I want to build my life on the truth of God.
Today is the Lord’s Day. Get ready and go to a true Bible believing church. Don’t settle for the deception of the many “feel good” social clubs. Be blessed and be a blessing to others.