CMF eZine

The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship.

Romans 6:05 - Death to Death - Life to Life

Rom 6:5
For if we have been planted together - Συμφυτοι γεγοναμεν.  Dr. Taylor observes, that our translation does not completely express the apostle’s meaning.  Τα συμφυτα are such plants as grow, the one upon and in the other, deriving sap and nourishment from it, as the mistletoe upon the oak, or the scion upon the stock in which it is grafted.  He would therefore translate the words:  For if we have been growers together with Christ in the likeness of his death, (or in that which is like his death), we shall be also growers together with him in the likeness of his resurrection; or in that which is like his resurrection. He reckons it a beautiful metaphor, taken from grafting, or making the scion grow together with a new stock. (Dr. Adam Clarke)
Rom 6:5 (4) For if we have been planted together in the (f) likeness of his death, we shall (g) be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection:

(4) The death of sin and the life of righteousness, or our ingrafting into Christ, and growing up into one with him, cannot be separated by any means, neither in death nor life: by which it follows that no man is sanctified who lives still to sin, and therefore is no man made partaker of Christ by faith, who does not repent and turn from his wickedness: for as he said before, the law is not overturned but established by faith.

(f) And by means of the strength which comes from him to us, so we die to sin, as he is dead.

(g) For every day we become more perfect: for we will never be perfectly sanctified, as long as we live here. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)
For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, (NASB)
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: (KJV)
Since we have been united with Him in His death, we will also be raised to life as He was. (NLT)
For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be united in the likeness of his resurrection. (NET)
For since we have become one with him in dying as he did, in the same way we shall be one with him by being raised to life as he was. (GNB)

We are inexplicably joined with Christ Jesus wherein we receive the fullness of all that is His, including His death for us that frees us from sin AND His resurrection that raised Him from the dead.  This empowerment from Him who hung the stars provides greater still more than we could hope or dream in changing us in to a likeness or reflection of His very person.  There is no greater joy!

Eph 2:5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God's grace that you have been saved!) (NLT)
Thus the name (συ?μφυτος sumphutos) would be given to a field of grain that was sown at the same time, and where the grain sprung up and grew simultaneously.  Hence, it means intimately connected, or joined together.  And here it denotes that Christians and the Savior have been united intimately in regard to death; as he died and was laid in the grave, so have they by profession died to sin.  And it is therefore natural to expect, that, like grain sown at the same time, they should grow up in a similar manner, and resemble each other. (Dr. Albert Barnes)

Romans 6:04 - The Gift of a New Life

Rom 6:4 We are buried with him - Alluding to the ancient manner of baptizing by immersion.  That as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory - Glorious power.  Of the Father, so we also, by the same power, should rise again; and as he lives a new life in heaven, so we should walk in newness of life.  This, says the apostle, our very baptism represents to us. (John Wesley)
Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. (NASB)
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. (KJV)
For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. (NLT)
Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life. (NET)
Speaking of the story of the fall from Genesis 3:
Yet the story also points out that there is no escaping divine accountability.  Those who try to be as God finally stand before God like children who have been found out and are full of evasions.  The author thus brings out the full absurdity of the Prometheus motif.  But he does so with insight into the tragic human situation in which it seems that there is immanent justification—in the desire for culture, the work of thought, and sensual longing—for human hostility to God and the attempt to break free from the divine prohibition.  The true reality of sin can be grasped only when one perceives that the divine likeness itself opens up the possibilities of deviation and the unfathomable distress which every act of deviation causes when it comes under the pitiless divine glance.  (Theological dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans.)

I suspect that we only begin to see the immense work of God in our redemption when we begin to see that from which we were liberated—the "pitiless divine glance!"  Here we begin to see that we were "buried together with" (Greek - sunthapto?) the Savior Himself so that we would be declared dead unto sin and its power.  If there could have been another way wouldn't the Father have chosen it rather than sacrifice His only begotten Son?  Our sin has far reaching and unknown (to us) consequences that can only be solved by the death of the sinner in order to quench the divine justice.  Therefore, our fellowship with Christ in His death becomes the gateway to a new life by being also included in His resurrection.  We are not left low in the grave but empowered by this fellowship to live lives for which heretofore we could only dream.  To walk (not only walk, but to walk at large - Greek: peripateo?) in a new life created especially for us and entered into by faith in Christ Jesus alone.

In newness of life - This is a Hebraism to denote new life. We should rise with Christ to a new life; and having been made dead to sin, as he was dead in the grave, so should we rise to a holy life, as he rose from the grave.  The argument in this verse is, therefore, drawn from the nature of the Christian profession.  By our very baptism, by our very profession, we have become dead to sin, as Christ became dead; and being devoted to him by that baptism, we are bound to rise, as he did, to a new life. (Dr. Albert Barnes)

Romans 6:03 - In Union With His Death

Rom 6:3 (3) Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into (c) Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

(3) There are three parts of this sanctification: that is, the death of the old man or sin, his burial, and the resurrection of the new man, descending into us from the virtue of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, of which benefit our baptism is a sign and pledge.

(c) To the end that growing up as one with him, we should receive his strength to extinguish sin in us, and to make us new men. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)
Thayer's Greek Definitions
Thayer Definition:
1) to be ignorant, not to know
2) not to understand, unknown
3) to err or sin through mistake, to be wrong


Thayer Definition:
1) to perceive with the mind, to understand, to have understanding
2) to think upon, heed, ponder, consider

Thayer Definition:
1) to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel
1a) to become known
2) to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of
2a) to understand
2b) to know
3) Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman
4) to become acquainted with, to know

Thayer Definition:
1) to see
1a) to perceive with the eyes
1b) to perceive by any of the senses
1c) to perceive, notice, discern, discover
1d) to see
1d1) i.e. to turn the eyes, the mind, the attention to anything
1d2) to pay attention, observe
1d3) to see about something
1d3a) i.e. to ascertain what must be done about it
1d4) to inspect, examine
1d5) to look at, behold
1e) to experience any state or condition
1f) to see, i.e. have an interview with, to visit
2) to know
2a) to know of anything
2b) to know, i.e. get knowledge of, understand, perceive
2b1) of any fact
2b2) the force and meaning of something which has definite meaning
2b3) to know how, to be skilled in
2c) to have regard for one, cherish, pay attention to (1Th 5:12)
Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? (NASB)
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? (KJV)
Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined Him in His death? (NLT)
Or do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (NET)
For surely you know that when we were baptized into union with Christ Jesus, we were baptized into union with his death. (GNB)

In this amazing chapter there is three kinds of "knowing," a "reckoning," and a "presenting."  Their importance to the success of our Christian lives cannot be overstated. If the lesson here is NOT learned (as taught by the Holy Spirit Himself upon our hearts) then chapter 7, 9 and 12 become a bridge too far, or worse, pie in the sky in the sweet bye and bye.  Or to paraphrase Watchmen Nee, you can reckon yourself dead unto sin until hell freezes over without success until you understand the knowing.  The first in verse 3 is the "not knowing" or ignorance. The second is to know with certainty through intimacy (vs 6). The third is to know experientially through the senses (vs 9).

Yesterday I mentioned that sanctification consisted of two things:  Mortification (dying to sin) and Vivification (living to righteousness).  As we look at today's verse that in relationship to Christ's work there are three parts: death, burial, and resurrection.  Our baptism (the outward sign of what has already happened within) is a work of the Holy Spirit that creates a union with the work of Christ in dying for our sins.

Gal 3:27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. (NLT)
Gal 6:14 As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world's interest in me has also died. (NLT)
Col 3:3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. (NLT)
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die. (Galatians 2:20-21 NLT)
Rom 6:3-10
Baptism teaches the necessity of dying to sin, and being as it were buried from all ungodly and unholy pursuits, and of rising to walk with God in newness of life.  Unholy professors may have had the outward sign of a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness, but they never passed from the family of Satan to that of God.  The corrupt nature, called the old man, because derived from our first father Adam, is crucified with Christ, in every true believer, by the grace derived from the cross.  It is weakened and in a dying state, though it yet struggles for life, and even for victory. But the whole body of sin, whatever is not according to the holy law of God, must be done away, so that the believer may no more be the slave of sin, but live to God, and find happiness in his service. (Matthew Henry)
Were baptized unto his death - We were baptized with special reference to his death.  Our baptism had a strong resemblance to his death.  By that he became insensible to the things of the world; by baptism we in like manner become dead to sin.  Further, we are baptized with particular reference to the design of his death, the great leading feature and purpose of his work.  That was, to expiate sin; to free people from its power; to make them pure.  We have professed our devotion to the same cause; and have solemnly consecrated ourselves to the same design - to put a period to the dominion of iniquity. (Dr. Albert Barnes)
Baptized into his death? - That, as Jesus Christ in his crucifixion died completely, so that no spark of the natural or animal life remained in his body, so those who profess his religion should be so completely separated and saved from sin, that they have no more connection with it, nor any more influence from it, than a dead man has with or from his departed spirit. (Dr. Adam Clarke)
Baptized into his death? - That, as Jesus Christ in his crucifixion died completely, so that no spark of the natural or animal life remained in his body, so those who profess his religion should be so completely separated and saved from sin, that they have no more connection with it, nor any more influence from it, than a dead man has with or from his departed spirit. (Dr. John Gill)

Sharing Jesus Part 2

This is the second of several short articles about sharing Jesus in a normal and natural manner that is not dependent on a specific ‘method’.  In Part 1 of this short series of posts, we talked about starting a conversation that can lead to sharing Jesus and the message of salvation with a family member, friend, co-worker, or anyone for that matter.  The goal of the conversation was to arrive at the conclusion that the reason people do bad things is because they have an inner problem that the Bible calls ‘sin’.

The Sin Problem

Before we start talking about ‘sin’ let’s give our conversation partner a name.  We’ll call him/her ‘Pat’ (a good gender neutral name). The next step in the conversation we are having with ‘Pat’  is to define the extent of this ‘sin’ problem.  And just like we asked a lot of questions when we started the conversation (the Colombo technique), we’ll continue our discussion with another question:

“So ‘Pat’, what do you think sin is?”

The first answer you will get will most likely have to do with bad things we do and/or mistakes we make, which is the most immediate and natural response.  You might get the same answer from the vast majority of believers, but that’s for another article.

You might also hear that sin means NOT doing things we ought to do.  We do have a natural sense of what the ‘right’ thing to do would be at certain times, but we fail to do it.

And since we left off the first part of our conversation agreeing that we all have an ‘inner problem’, you might even hear an answer that talks about our natural selfishness and/or inner tendencies.  And that, my friends, is where we want to go now – the sinful human nature, or tendency to sin.  Once you’re there, you can ask the big WHY question:

“So Pat, since you have rightly recognized that we have an inner problem, a natural tendency to do bad stuff, and sometimes to NOT do what we know would be right, WHY do you think we have a natural tendency to sin?”

It’s the natural and logical next question.  Regardless of the response, this is the opportunity to discuss what the Bible has to say about the WHY. We did the same thing earlier in the conversation when we said that the Bible calls man’s inner problem ‘sin’.  And remember that you are sharing the ‘Christian worldview’ and not trying to convince Pat of your personal opinion. Just share what the Bible has to say and let God do the convincing.  It would be good if you have a Bible handy to share straight from scripture.

In sharing what the Bible says about our sin problem, you can take it all the way back to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the story of creation and the fall of man.  After all, that’s where our sin problem started – when the first couple disobeyed God.  The point is that God created everything good, and it went sour because of man’s disobedience.  Adam’s sin impacted the ‘nature’ of every human being born since then.

Regardless of what we think about the fairness of Adam’s sin affecting the rest of the human race, it did.  We are told several things about the ‘natural’ man that describe him in rather ‘dark’ terms.

The entrance of sin into the world rendered the human heart deceitful beyond all things i and desperately sick, the human mind blind to spiritual things, ii hostile to God, iii and unable to please God. iv

It’s really important for us who share Jesus with others and for those listening to our message to grasp just how bad the sin issue is.  It’s in knowing just HOW bad the bad news is that we can most fully understand and appreciate the good news of what God has done in sending his Son to die for OUR sins.  The main point about sin is that it’s more than what we do or don’t do, it’s part of our very nature as sons of Adam.

Sadly, much of today’s ‘evangelism’, both in churches and person to person, minimizes the real issue of our sin problem and in some cases, omits it entirely.  We would rather attract sinners to Jesus with our ‘changed lives’ rather than speak the truth about our bondage to sin, while trusting God to open stone cold hearts and effectually draw men to the cross.  Are our lives irreversibly changed when we have trusted in Christ for forgiveness of our sins and in his death on our behalf?  Of course they are, but as a result of the cross, not as the reason for believing in Jesus.

And once the reality of sin has, with the help of the Holy Spirit, sunk into Pat’s heart, the conversation can move on to the consequences of, and a solution to the problem.  Stay tuned for Part 3.

i. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “Jer 17:9

ii. “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Cor 4:4

iii. “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot.” Rom 8:7

iv. “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Rom 8:8


Romans 6:02 - Dead to Sin

How shall we, that are dead to sin - The phraseology of this verse is common among Hebrews, Greeks, and Latins.  To Die to a thing or person, is to have nothing to do with it or him; to be totally separated from them: and to live to a thing or person is to be wholly given up to them; to have the most intimate connection with them. (Dr. Adam Clarke)
When it is said, therefore, that a Christian is dead to sin, the sense is, that it has lost its influence ever him; he is not subject to it; he is in regard to that, as the man in the grave is to the busy scenes and cares of this life. (Dr. Albert Barnes)
May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? (NASB)
God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (KJV)
Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? (NLT)
Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? (NET)

If we take a step back and look at the whole of chapter 6, we will discover the illustration here used is that of slavery.  We are the slave and Sin is the master.  If it had been left up to me to create a solution to the sin problem, then I would have done away with sin (the master).  However, here we see that Christ's plan was to do away with the sinner!  As the Apostle later elaborates, we are dead.  The problem ensues when I take my pulse and discover that my body is still very much alive.  It is in Christ that we are dead to sin and its power.  The fact that we have been brought to the foot of the Cross should remind us that we have had enough of this slavery to sin and all of its consequences.  But now we must enter into the experiential realm of putting off the old man and putting on the new man (in Christ).  Or put in theological terms: Sanctification (being made holy) consists of: Mortification (dying to sin) and Vivification (living to righteousness).

You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols. (1 Peter 4:3 NLT)
The apostle is very full in pressing the necessity of holiness. He does not explain away the free grace of the gospel, but he shows that connection between justification and holiness are inseparable. Let the thought be abhorred, of continuing in sin that grace may abound. True believers are dead to sin, therefore they ought not to follow it. No man can at the same time be both dead and alive. He is a fool who, desiring to be dead unto sin, thinks he may live in it. (Matthew Henry)
Rom 6:2 God forbid. (2) How shall we, that are (b) dead to sin, live any longer therein?

(2) The benefits of justification and sanctification are always inseparable joined together, and both of them proceed from Christ by the grace of God: now sanctification is the abolishing of sin, that is, of our natural corruption, whose place is taken by the cleanness and pureness of a reformed nature.

(b) They are said by Paul to be dead to sin, who are made partakers of the power of Christ, so that the natural corruption is dead in them, that is, the power of it is removed, and it does not bring forth its bitter fruits: and on the other hand, they are said to live to sin, who are in the flesh, that is, whom the Spirit of God has not delivered from the slavery of the corruption of nature. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)



Sharing Jesus Part 1

This is the first of several short articles about sharing Jesus in a normal and natural manner that is not dependent on a specific ‘method’. As believers, many of us want to share Jesus with others, but hesitate out of nervousness and even fear. On the other hand, some of us aren’t nervous or fearful, so we charge right in using a particular method we found somewhere or were taught by someone. My friends, it doesn’t have to be so hard. How hard is it for us to talk about other exciting things in our lives? Sharing Jesus can and should be as natural as talking about a new house, car, smartphone, or even having just been married to the man/woman of your dreams. Having said all that, let’s begin.

Sharing Jesus Part 1 – Starting a Conversation

Here’s the scenario.

God has placed in your heart a desire to share Jesus and the message of the gospel with a relative, friend, co-worker, or even someone you just met (it happens). You know it’s a real because 1) God has given you a burden to reach the lost around you and 2) you asked God to point you in the right direction. And although you’ve studied various ‘methods’ of personal evangelism, you don’t know which one to use, or how to start. You are afraid of using the wrong method. How do you proceed with this important task?

Well, like the title of this blog post suggests, start a conversation, after having asked God to open a heart to hear a hard message!

Now what that conversation might sound has a lot of possibilities, depending on the specific situation, your relationship with this person, and what you know about his/her level of spiritually. Never mind all that for now, just start the conversation with a few things in mind as you press toward the final goal of the discussion – the point at which it’s time for your conversation partner to consider responding to the message of the gospel you are about to share.

First of all, you need to identify and understand the root problem before you offer a solution. Jesus didn’t come to earth and die on a cross for ‘your best life now’, or any variation of that theme. He came to die for the sins of God’s people (See Matthew 1:21).  Our ultimate goal is to share the Christ who died for our sins, I don’t know anyone who wants to hear they have a sin problem.

Does that sound tough, or what? Yes it does, but remember that you have already prayed that God open a heart to hear.  The problem of sin IS the main issue the message of the gospel addresses. We have all sinned, Christ died for those sins, and that ultimately deserves a response. Never fear, you don’t have to quote Romans 3:23 at the start of the conversation, but you do need to somehow take the topic of the conversation to the main issue..  

Actually, you don’t even need to use the dreaded “S” word, not yet anyway. You can start this most important conversation just like you might start any other conversation. Just choose a hot topic from the news. If you don’t listen to, watch, or read the news it’s time to start. Think of something ‘bad’ that was reported. There’s plenty out there. It could be local crime, dirty politics, another mass shooting or terrorist attack anywhere in the world. Pick one.

You might ask, “Did you hear about what happened at/in ________________?” “Why do you think that guy did that?” Just ask about something specific everyone probably knows about and ask a “Why do you think…..” question. You’re sending the message that you are interested in a thoughtful response, the other person’s opinion.

The answer most likely will be on the lines of “He was nuts…….just plain mean……he hates, etc., a specific possible reason. Take the reason given and ask another “why do you think” question. “Why do you think he’s nuts, mean, hateful, etc. That’s a different level question that goes to the motive for the ‘act’. You might get an answer or you might not.

What you would like to hear is something like “Well, I don’t know for sure, but maybe there’s something inside that caused him to …….” If you get that response, you can take the conversation to a still deeper level by asking another question along the lines of “What do you think that ‘inner’ problem might be?” Or, if you didn’t hear something about an inherent human problem, suggest the possibility of an ‘inner’ issue. The entire goal of the conversation is to agree that there’s an ‘inner’ problem with all of us humans.

At this point it’s time to identify and name the problem. People attribute bad acts to psychological problems, growing up in a bad home, hanging out with the wrong crowd, and even genetics.  The Bible calls our problem ‘sin. This is a the moment in the conversation to bring that up. The conversation has officially begun!

The discussion might continue, or be left for thoughtful consideration. The problem has been identified; the next part of the conversation will be to understand the problem. We’ll address that in the next article.

Do you see where this is going? Some have called this the “Colombo” technique (Think Peter Falk and all his question asking). All you are doing is having a friendly conversation with the goal of taking the conversation to the main problem we all have - sin. You don’t really have to open a Bible until you get to the part where you suggest that “The Bible calls our problem sin.” That’s the time to read directly from its pages (Romans 3:23 for example). Reading text from the pages of scripture leaves little or no room for receiving a “that’s your opinion” response.

So that’s how you start a conversation with an unbeliever. It might only take a single conversation to get to the main issue, or it might take longer.  You asked God to open a heart before you began the conversation and you continued to pray during the conversation. Now pray that God, through the Holy Spirit, would water the seeds you planted.

At the right time, you might hear “Remember what you were telling me about. . .” (The door has just been blown wide open.), or you can ask about the last BIG conversation. Just move at a perfectly natural pace. Remember that the goal of personal evangelism is, as Alistair Begg defines it:

“…to present Christ Jesus to sinful people in order that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, they may come to put their trust in God through Him.”

May God add his blessing to your sharing Jesus with a lost world!

P.S.  It’s quite possible that you might be sharing Jesus with one person, and someone else will stop you one day and share that he/she  overheard you talking and met the Savior because of it. It happens. I know this one. J 

Romans 6:01 - Should We Sin With Exuberance?

Rom 6:1 What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

He passes now to another benefit of Christ, which is called sanctification or regeneration.

In that corruption, for though the guiltiness of sin, is not imputed to us, yet the corruption still remains in us: and this is killed little by little by the sanctification that follows justification.  (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)
Rom 6:1  What shall we say then? - This is a mode of presenting an objection. The objection refers to what the apostle had said in Romans 5:20.  What shall we say to such a sentiment as that where sin abounded grace did much more abound?
Shall we continue in sin? ... - If sin has been the occasion of grace and favor, ought we not to continue in it, and commit as much as possible, in order that grace might abound?  This objection the apostle proceeds to answer.  He shows that the consequence does not follow; and proves that the doctrine of justification does not lead to it. (Dr. Albert Barnes)

God's law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were.  But as people sinned more and more, God's wonderful grace became more abundant.  (Romans 5:20 NLT)
What shall we say then?  Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? (NASB)
What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (KJV)
Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of His wonderful grace? (NLT)
What shall we say then?  Are we to remain in sin so that grace may increase? (NET)

This would probably be more aptly said in a post-Christian America, "Why can't I continue on sinning as before so that Grace can really abound?"  The deceiver of this world, taking advantage of the evil propensity of our own heart, has us consider ourselves as the embodiment Christian virtue while continuing in persistent habitual sin. How quickly we do forget that the reward for our sin is our abandonment in it.  If we say we have no sin, then we call Him a liar!  The result is that we come to worship soiled and bearing a foul stench while exhibiting a total lack of shame.  The daily headlines are replete with one group or another seeking public indulgence for their particular sin—no revelation here.  We are creatures of our falleness and cannot extricate ourselves from the piteous estate in which we find ourselves.  So instead we seek to find a way to make our sin acceptable to a perfect and holy God—the modern definition of religion.  Christianity in our day in many ways has become the self-justification of the lost by the lost!  This is why we need a Savior! The flesh is at enmity with the Lord and can never and will never change!  This becomes the premise for the following chapters—the complete training course in how not to be self-deceived—but instead live in Christ's righteousness.  However, to do this we must live in Christ and make no room for he flesh! Or perhaps better said, Christ must live in us!

Rom 6:1  Shall we continue in sin - It is very likely that these were the words of a believing Gentile, who - having as yet received but little instruction, for he is but just brought out of his heathen state to believe in Christ Jesus - might imagine, from the manner in which God had magnified his mercy, in blotting out his sin on his simply believing on Christ, that, supposing he even gave way to the evil propensities of his own heart, his transgressions could do him no hurt now that he was in the favor of God.  And we need not wonder that a Gentile, just emerging from the deepest darkness, might entertain such thoughts as these; when we find that eighteen centuries after this, persons have appeared in the most Christian countries of Europe, not merely asking such a question, but defending the doctrine with all their might; and asserting in the most unqualified manner, “that believers were under no obligation to keep the moral law of God; that Christ had kept it for them; that his keeping it was imputed to them; and that God, who had exacted it from Him, who was their surety and representative, would not exact it from them, forasmuch as it would be injustice to require two payments for one debt.”  These are the Antinomians who once flourished in this land, and whose race is not yet utterly extinct.  (Dr. Adam Clarke)


What is Spiritual death?

What is Spiritual death?

What is Spiritual Death?

SGM Dan Cartwright, USA (Ret)
Chairman, Board of Directors

Death is separation.  A physical death is the separation of the soul from the body.  Spiritual death, which is of greater significance, is the separation of the soul from God. In Genesis 2:17, God tells Adam that in the day he eats of the forbidden fruit he will “surely die.”  Adam does fall, but his physical death does not occur immediately; God must have had another type of death in mind—spiritual death.  This separation from God is exactly what we see in Genesis 3:8. When Adam and Eve heard the voice of the Lord, they hid themselves from God’s presence.  The fellowship had been broken. They were spiritually dead.

“but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:17)

“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” (Genesis 3:8)

When Jesus was hanging on the cross, He paid the price for us by dying on our behalf.  Even though He is God, He still had to suffer to agony of a temporary separation from the Father due to the sin of world He was carrying on the cross.  After three hours of supernatural darkness, He cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:34b).

“At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’—which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Mark 15:33-34 NIV)

This spiritual separation from the Father was the result of the Son’s taking our sins upon Himself.  That’s the impact of sin. Sin is the exact opposite of God and God had to turn away from His own Son at that time.

A man without Christ is spiritually dead. Paul describes it as being alienated or separated from the life of God.  (To be separated from life is the same as being dead.)

They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. (Ephesians 4:18 NIV)

The natural man, like Adam hiding in the garden, is isolated from God. When we are born again, the spiritual death is reversed.  Before salvation, we are dead (spiritually), but Jesus gives us life.

“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,” (Colossians 2:13 NIV)

To illustrate, think of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.  The physically dead Lazarus could do nothing for himself.  He was unresponsive to all stimuli, oblivious to all life around him, beyond all help or hope—except for the help of Christ who is “the Resurrection and the Life.”

“Jesus said to her (Martha), ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’” (John 11:25-26)

At Christ’s call, Lazarus was filled with life, and he responded accordingly.  In the same way, we were spiritually dead, unable to save ourselves, powerless to perceive the life of God—until Jesus called us to Himself.  He “quickened” us; “not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:5).

The book of Revelation speaks of a “second death,” which is a final (and eternal) separation from God.  Only those who have never experienced new life in Christ will partake of the second death (Revelation 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8).

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.” (Revelation 2:11)

Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection.  The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:6)

“Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.  The lake of fire is the second death.” (Revelation 20:14)

“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.  This is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)

Romans 5:21 - The Almost Doxology

Rom 5:21  That as sin had reigned - so grace also might reign - Which could not reign before the fall; before man had sinned.  Through righteousness to eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord - Here is pointed out the source of all our blessings, the rich and free grace of God.  The meritorious cause; not any works of righteousness of man, but the alone merits of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The effect or end of all; not only pardon, but life; divine life, leading to glory. (John Wesley)
Thus we find, that the salvation from sin here is as extensive and complete as the guilt and contamination of sin; death is conquered, hell disappointed, the devil confounded, and sin totally destroyed. Here is glorying:  To him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and has made us kings and priests to God and his Father, be glory and dominion, for ever and ever.  Amen.  Hallelujah!  The Lord God Omnipotent reigneth!  Amen and Amen.  (Dr. Adam Clarke)
so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (NASB)
That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. (KJV)
So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God's wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (NLT)
so that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (NET)

Since death had dominion over all the earth and its peoples and "reigned or ruled" without interruption, how much more does the Grace that is through Christ Jesus bring us eternal life, hope and joy that never ceases.  For there is no other way but through Jesus Himself even though the heresies, idolatries, and atheists rage on and ignore the only cure for our terminal disease.

Christianity proposes a remedy; and it is permitted to the Christian to rejoice that that remedy is ample to meet all the evils; that it is just suited to recover our alienated world; and that it is destined yet to raise the race up to life, and peace, and heaven. In the provisions of that scheme we may and should triumph; and on the same principle as we may rejoice in the triumph of medicine over disease, so may we triumph in the ascendancy of the Christian plan over all the evils of the fall.  And while Christians thus rejoice, the infidel, the deist, the pagan, and the scoffer shall contend with these evils which their systems cannot alleviate or remove, and sink under the chilly reign of sin and death; just as people pant, and struggle, and expire under the visitations of disease, because they will not apply the proper remedies of medicine, but choose rather to leave themselves to its unchecked ravages, or to use all the nostrums of quackery in a vain attempt to arrest evils which are coming upon them. (Dr. Albert Barnes)
From His abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses, but God's unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:16-17 NLT)
For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. (Titus 2:11 NLT)
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. (Hebrews 4:16 NLT)
In His kindness God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation. (1 Peter 5:10 NLT)
And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God's Son does not have life. I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. (1 John 5:11-13 NLT)


Romans 5:20 - Super-abounding Grace

Thayer Definition:
1) to come in secretly or by stealth, or creep or steal in
2) to enter in addition, come in besides
Rom 5:20 The law came in between - The offence and the free gift. That the offence might abound - That is, the consequence (not the design) of the law's coming in was, not the taking away of sin, but the increase of it. Yet where sin abounded, grace did much more abound - Not only in the remission of that sin which Adam brought on us, but of all our own; not only in remission of sins, but infusion of holiness; not only in deliverance from death, but admission to everlasting life, a far more noble and excellent life than that which we lost by Adam's fall. (John Wesley)
The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, (NASB)
Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: (KJV)
God's law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God's wonderful grace became more abundant. (NLT)
Now the law came in so that the transgression may increase, but where sin increased, grace multiplied all the more, (NET)
Gal 2:4  Even that question came up only because of some so-called Christians there—false ones, really—who were secretly brought in. They sneaked in to spy on us and take away the freedom we have in Christ Jesus.  They wanted to enslave us and force us to follow their Jewish regulations. New Living Translation

The law, (Mosaic Law) with all of its rites and ceremonies was considered confined to the Jewish people till the Messiah would appear.  However, it should be considered the moral law, the law of our conscience and of life that has been imprinted upon our hearts so that our true depraved nature might become apparent.  The law was not new but rather "came alongside" something that was already in existence—the law written upon our heats.  So it can be said that wherever the Gospel may go, the law goes as well that we may be led to that place where we find the disparity of our condition—the pool of blood from the fatal wound inflicted by our sinful selves from which we cannot extricate ourselves.  Then may we see the Gospel in its true light—able to super-lift us from death to live, from piteous estate to Glory.  So where the law goes there is sin and where sin is, Grace is available to all who would believe!  That is why Christ's Grace is so Amazing!

By Christ and his righteousness, we have more and greater privileges than we lost by the offence of Adam.  The moral law showed that many thoughts, tempers, words, and actions, were sinful, thus transgressions were multiplied.  Not making sin to abound the more, but discovering the sinfulness of it, even as the letting in a clearer light into a room, discovers the dust and filth which were there before, but were not seen.  The sin of Adam, and the effect of corruption in us, are the abounding of that offence which appeared on the entrance of the law.  And the terrors of the law make gospel comforts the more sweet.  Thus God the Holy Spirit has, by the blessed apostle, delivered to us a most important truth, full of consolation, suited to our need as sinners.  Whatever one may have above another, every man is a sinner against God, stands condemned by the law, and needs pardon.  A righteousness that is to justify cannot be made up of a mixture of sin and holiness.  There can be no title to an eternal reward without a pure and spotless righteousness: let us look for it, even to the righteousness of Christ.  (Matthew Henry)
Gal 3:19 Why, then, was the law given?  It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins.  But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised.  God gave His law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people.  New Living Translation
Rom 7:7 Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful?  Of course not!  In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin.  I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, "You must not covet."  New Living Translation


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