Last time, we covered the first four verses of this section (6:1-4) where the idea of being dead to the old way of living was introduced; now in the rest of the passage Paul develops this idea further beginning with verse 5:
Paul continues with the idea of having died with Christ as he moves from the picture of baptism to that of having been crucified with Christ. In this imagery, he reasons that since our old selves were crucified with Christ, our old selves died, and thus we are set free from the sin that ruled over us, so that now, united with Christ in His resurrection, we are free to live for God.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
These verses reflect the key point that Paul is making here: just as Christ died when His mortal human body was put to death, so also was our old self put to death when we decided to believe Him. Just as Christ rose from the grave, so also we rose again from baptism to be born again with an entirely new kind of life within us in the Person of the Holy Spirit. He continues…
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
Let’s consider the following phrases from 11-14:
… count yourselves dead to sin … do not let sin reign… Do not offer any part of yourself to sin … offer yourselves to God… offer every part of yourself to him…
Does anyone see a pattern here?
These little bits of text have something in common: They are commands that leave us with a choice to make. The choice is whether or not we will follow the command.
Jesus has entirely set us free from the oppression of sin; let it go so you can live a new life: This is Paul’s teaching on the subject of sin.
Before you say I’m crazy, consider one other point: Did you notice the way Paul is referring to “sin”? He isn’t speaking of it in the sense of rules and violations here; no, he is almost personifying it as a person or force of some kind. In that sense, it has no power over you any more, unless you allow it. (“Do not offer any part of yourself to sin”…”offer yourself to God”)
How can this be? How can I just be done with sin?
(Hint: you have a whole new life within you)
You see dear reader, in Christ, you are not under law, but under grace; offer yourself to God He’s waiting for you.
Paul will explain more about that in the next section and we will discuss it next time.