Romans 6:3-11
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Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? - Romans 6:3


"Or do you not know..." The entire premise behind Paul's conclusions thus far is with the assumption that the cross of Christ and what that means for us has been established. That is, the reality that Jesus Christ the Son of God has come in the flesh (John 1:14), assumed our sin entirely (2 Cor. 5:21), and condemned sin in the flesh (Rom. 8:3) and the promise to the seed of Abraham (Jesus Christ) extends to all those whom receive Him and are therefore in Him and He in they. But since such objections are arising (see study on Romans 6:1-2) to the idea that where sin increases grace abounds, Paul is pointing out that if such questions are arising then you are missing the simplicity of the gospel and therefore he continues reiterating and elaborating on what happens when we receive Christ.


"... that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?" Baptism in the early church followed so closely to conversion that the two were often linked (Acts 2:38). While baptism is symbolic and not required to enter into union with Christ (Remember the thief on the cross, Luke 23:42-43) it wonderfully depicts what happens when we are joined to Jesus Christ and He to us (Rev. 3:20), of the relationship and oneness with Jesus Christ that we enter into (John 17:21). Notice it says we were "baptized into Christ Jesus". When a person is baptized into Christ Jesus they are baptized into all that is derived from that union. What's derived is what we could call "the unfathomable riches of Christ" (Eph. 3:8). The only condition for receiving "every spiritual blessing in the heavenly place in Christ" (Eph. 1:3) is that we are in fact "in Christ". That we've received Him (John 1:12). Once that is established, the flood waters of God's grace which He so desires to give (Isa. 30:18) are unrestrained and flow over us! There are not various degrees of His grace that flow over us as if somehow His grace was contingent on us and our performance, as if we were somehow only partly covered by the blood of Jesus, but they are contingent on His only begotten Son who was the perfect sacrifice and therefore fully satisfied the wrath of God. It's impossible to only be covered by part of the blood of Jesus. You either are entirely, or you're not at all (1 John 5:12). For those that receive Him they are entirely atoned for which means they are full beneficiaries of His accomplishments (Matt. 5:17, 2 Cor. 5:21).


32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? - Romans 8:32


When Paul speaks of being baptized into His death he is qualifying his statement from 6:2 that we who are in Christ, to the degree that we are in Christ is the same degree we are dead to sin. Since you cannot be partially in Christ, or partially atoned for, you also cannot be partially dead to sin. In Christ you are entirely dead to sin. So what does it mean to be dead to sin? It means we are dead to the sinful nature we inherited from Adam (see study on Romans 5:12-21). This is what scripture refers to as the "old self", "natural man", or "life of the flesh", a life that's dominated by our fleshly desires. When we are submerged in the water of baptism we are testifying a dying to the old self. When I was younger and would get in a tiff with one of my siblings, in a fit of anger I might shout "you're dead to me!". Essentially what I was saying is, even though they were close to me, so close that the same blood ran through our veins; I was now declaring they no longer held such a position but have been moved from a position of kin to a position to that of someone in the grave. (Man I said some harsh things as a kid... to be fair, both my siblings were 6 years older than me). I was letting them know we were no longer joined to me and that I had moved on and they were as separate to me as one who is dead.


Well, with my siblings this was harsh, with my sinful flesh this is a point to rejoice over! When we are joined with Christ we are dead to sin. In other words, while our flesh, and sin in our flesh still exists (for now), we are separated from it. We have moved and sin is dead to us and we to it.


11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; - Colossians 2:11


As Paul will get into more starting in Romans 7 (and therefore us too) there is very real separation of us from our body of flesh (which is the residency of sin, Rom. 7:17) that happens when we are joined to Christ. Being lowered and submerged into water when we are baptized is symbolizing this separation from the flesh that transpired when we joined ourselves to Christ, the water represents the grave and it's symbolizing a passing away of the old self. Being raised out of the water symbolizes being raised in the new self, up from the grave into the new creation we are in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17). These are things that transpire when we receive Christ whether or not we are baptized in water. Being baptized however is our declaration to everyone that we have, by Christ's doing, undergone such an inward transformation; that we have received Jesus Christ.


Question: Have you been baptized?


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. - Romans 6:4


"newness of life" Something only available to those who are in Christ (Rom. 8:7), those that have been "born again" (John 3:5). When we are born again we are made dead to sin but alive to God (Rom. 6:11). When we are baptized we are buried with Him into death, and with Him raised from the dead "through the glory of the Father." In other words, by the same marvelous, wonderful, Character of the Father that raised Christ from the dead will also raise us from the dead!


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, - Romans 6:5


Inasmuch as we are buried with Him we shall also be raised from the dead with Him. If you are in Christ the riches of Christ are yours in full. There will be nobody in Christ who only undergoes a partial transformation. There will be nobody in Christ who comes up short (Col. 2:10).


knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; - Romans 6:6


As Jesus died, so my old self died. "Self" means it was who you were, but now that old self was crucified with Christ, notice the past tense. Why did this happen? Paul answers; " order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;" the phrase "done away with" could also be translated "be put out of business". My body of sin has been put out of business, in other words, I'm no longer a customer there! Does this mean I won't struggle with sin any more? Yes and no. Yes the me that is me (new self) no longer sins, having been separated from the me that was me (old self) where sin still resides. Consider these two verses from the same book of the New Testament.


If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. - 1 John 1:8


No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. - 1 John 3:9


Question: How can we both be true? One born of God cannot sin, yet if we say that we have no sin we are lying? Paul will elaborate on this in Romans 7 but it's because one born of God is a new creation in Christ Jesus (new self) and has been separated from the body of death (old self) where sin, no longer us, resides. Our new self is Spirit-dominated and without blemish and yet at the same time, our old self, which is never regenerated is flesh-dominated, and for now (until death or Christ's return) tags along like gum on a shoe. What was once seemingly full of flavor, now is gross, disgusting, and we just want it to go away.


Look at how Paul describes these two at work:


25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. - Romans 7:25


This literally has us feeling beside ourselves at times. Paul felt this way too so know you're not alone.


for he who has died is freed from sin. - Romans 6:7


"freed" Notice the past tense. This is something that has already happened in the life of those made alive in Christ. It's not something we're working toward, it's not something we're working on, it's something Christ has accomplished (Col. 2:11) and was established the moment you received Him. Freed also denotes that we were previously enslaved, imprisoned, bound to something that had us in bondage.


When God created man He created him a threefold being made up of the spirit, soul (or mind & heart, Heb. 10:16, Eze. 11:19, Jer. 17:9), and body. When Adam sinned, that day his spirit died (Gen. 2:17) and ushered in the reign of death (Rom. 5:12) and every one of his descendants thereafter were spiritually stillborn (see study on Romans 5:12-21). This left man to be soul and body only, dead in spirit and therefore dead to God. When Adam was alive before the fall he was alive spiritually, his spirit was the dominating influence in his life, so much so that he wasn't even aware he was naked, (Gen. 2:25) he had not even noticed his flesh. When he ate of the tree, his spirit died, and instantly he was aware he was naked (Gen. 3:7) because the body of his flesh, being no longer trumped by his spirit, became the dominating influence in his life. In that moment he went from being a free man as is the reality of one who is spiritually alive to being an enslaved man because his mind and heart was no longer able to focus on the spirit but was only occupied by the needs of his body since his flesh was the only influence on him that remained. Now God has made our bodies, we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psa. 139:14), but our bodies weren't intended to operate apart from the spirit. With the spirit M.I.A. and the flesh only concerning itself with it's needs and wants, Adam was then occupied with only fleshly demands. The body cannot even consider Godly desires (Rom. 8:7, Gal. 5:17). This is what is known as being a slave to sin. Being spiritually dead we're slaves to the flesh and what the flesh wants does not line up with what the spirit wanted (Rom. 8:5-6, Gal. 5:17) therefore being a slave to the flesh and a slave to sin are synonymous. When we were first born we are born of the flesh (John 3:6) and therefore born into captivity because we are born disconnected from God and therefore spiritually dead. Because the flesh is our master we are subject to obey it's rule over us. Now let me say again, the flesh is made wonderfully in it's various systems created by God, it has a need for air so it's driven to breath, it has a need for water so it's driven to consume water, it has a need for food so it eats. Beyond our individual needs God designed a corporate system that required a need to procreate so we have a sex drive. God intended all these things to be enjoyable but He didn't intend for us to be enslaved by these bodily needs. They all have their place but they were not intended to rule over man. Man was not created to be consumed by the needs of his body (Ecc. 7:29) yet with the spirit dead that's exactly what happens.


14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. - 1 Corinthians 2:14


In other words, it's impossible for a man ruled by his body to operate as if he understood or accepted the things of the Spirit of God. It's not in the make up of the natural man, it's impossible.


For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, - Romans 8:5-7


Spiritual things can only be spiritually appraised and discerned and therefore require one to be spiritually alive. This is precisely what Jesus did when He made us alive together with Him (Eph. 2:5, Col. 2:13), He conquered the works of Adam and set us free from this body of death. But more than just set us free from this body and therefore dead to sin, He took us who were dead to God and made us alive to God!


For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. - Romans 8:2


If a person only ever concerns themselves with pleasure (Gen. 6:5) in their hearts and in their minds (Heb. 8:10, 10:16, Jer. 31:33, Eze. 11:19, 36:26) and therefore are showing they are ruled by their body then it's unlikely they are spiritually alive. If a person doesn't bear fruit of the Spirit to some degree and at some time (there are seasons) then they are likely not spiritually alive (Gal. 5:22-23). Paul shows the evidence of the two different natures here.


16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. - Galatians 5:16-25


Now if you've found you are consistently involved in the deeds of the flesh and always lacking the fruit of the Spirit, the answer is not to try and bear fruit of yourself but rather to receive Christ, be born again and thereby spiritually alive and the fruit will occur naturally, naturally according to your new Spiritually alive nature (2 Cor. 5:17, Matt. 7:17-18).


26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. - Ezekiel 36:26


If you are a believer and feel you're lacking fruit then I would encourage you to quit trying to bear fruit but return to Christ, sit at His feet (Luke 10:39, 5:16) and abide in Him. Being connected to the vine is the only requirement needed for us the branches to bear fruit (John 15:4).


Is it possible for a Christian who's alive in the spirit to still struggle with the flesh? I'm confident Paul would say yes given what he writes in the upcoming chapter. The bible makes it very clear that those alive in Christ still have fleshly desires (Gal. 5:16, Eph. 4:22). As long as the old self is stuck to us like a stick of gum we'll be at war with it (Gal. 5:17, Rom. 8:7). Notice here in verse 25 of Galatians 5 where Paul writes "If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit". In other words, it's possible to live by the Spirit even though we may not be walking by the Spirit. Some day though, some day the flesh will no longer be stuck to our shoe, it will no longer be attached to our person. There will be no such thing as "old self" (Rom. 8:3) there will only be the new creation in Christ Jesus! (2 Cor. 5:17).


When we are baptized and we are put under the water we should have the mindset that my old self is dead, it's buried in the grave. This is why when we baptize we should not only make sure someone is fully submerged but maybe hold them under for awhile, this way they get the feeling of "dead" and "buried". (Sometimes I worry that humor in my mind doesn't translate well to paper but I was just kidding there.) Then when we come out of the water it's like resurrection. In the same way we were baptized into Christ's death we are also raised in Him too!


Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. - Romans 6:8-9


The equation is beautiful. If we have died with Christ we shall also live with Him. Christ was raised from the dead, never to die again, therefore death is no longer master over Him. In the same way, since we are in Christ we are never to die again and death shall no longer be master over us. While our flesh will die, when we are joined with Christ, the we that is the real us will not. The new self that is born again shall never suffer death even if if we die (John 11:25-26). Unlike Adam who died spiritually when he sinned, we, in Christ, share in His life and therefore we'll never die again, not even if our old self rears up. Why?


10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. - Romans 6:10


Because Christ died is why! Though He was innocent, for the sake of sinners Christ submitted to the "reign" of sin and by His death broke the judicial link between sin and death once for all! The disease of Adam stops halts at the cross and for those in Christ; we can never be reinfected because death no longer is master over Him as He allowed it to be on the cross!


11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. - Romans 6:11


The reality is that in Christ we are dead to sin but we're also called to consider or to reckon (KJV) ourselves as dead to sin, in other words to believe the reality of it. This is a position of faith. As long as were in this flesh we'll have to deal with our flesh and it's desire is to rule over us. However, in reality our old self was crucified with Christ and by faith we have to assert this position. Crucifixion is a slow and torturous death, the flesh doesn't die easily. It's important that we take two positions of faith in lieu of this reality, that is, that the old self or "natural man" is dead and that the new self is spiritually alive unto God through Christ. Since this is the reality, believe it! We will falter in our walk and we will still have fleshly desires, if it were not true we wouldn't need to take this consideration on faith. That however doesn't change the reality of this truth so don't let that faltering beat you up but by faith reckon, like Paul does in Romans 7:14-25 that it's not you! It's also important to realize that when we hate ourselves that we, by faith, aim it properly at the old self. That we no longer say "there is nothing good in me!" But rather we say, "there is nothing good in my flesh!" (Rom. 7:18). Often when we sin we take it out on our new self but it's not the new self that's to blame but the old self which is on it's way out (Rom. 6:7). Why should we cost the new self it's peace over something it hasn't done? (Rom. 7:17, 8:1). Why should we rob the new self of enjoying our victory in Jesus as if the victory never happened? Satan loves to remind us of our old self. When that happens remind him of your new self that is unshaken, seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6).


Jesus Christ is the Great Physician, He is the one who surgically removes our soul from our flesh (Col. 2:11). When the flesh rears up take it to God! So often we like to think we're empowered to handle it but we're not. Go to God and say God, I'm being tempted, or after the falter, "God I yielded to the flesh but I consider that part of me dead, here I am sitting at your feet and I give it over to you. Once you've done that, leave it there, do not pick it up again and wallow no longer. In your reckoning also rejoice in what the Great Physician has done! You are alive in Christ and your flesh will never take that away from you! (Col. 2:12-14).


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