Monday, 13 May 2013
Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Romans 6:2
This verse is given in response to 6:1 – “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” Paul’s answer is translated variously as “God forbid!”, “By no means!”, “Of course not!”, “May it never be!”, “Absolutely not!”, “That’s unthinkable!”, “Far be the thought!”, “No indeed!”, “Let it not be!”, etc. As you can see, it is a thought which translators revel in being unique about because of its superlative nature. The Greek term is me genoito, “not (or never) may it come into being (or be).”
Paul’s answer is one which completely disregards even the possibility of the thought being entertained. And why? His answer is clear and concise, “How shall we who died to sin live in it any longer?” The soul saved by Christ has moved from the death of sin to death to sin. The Bible presents death in three specific contexts – all of which involve a separation:
The first is spiritual death. This is what Adam and Eve experienced the moment they disobeyed God. Spiritual death is separation from the life found in God. There is no longer the eternal source of life available to the person. This has been transmitted from Adam to every human since creation with the exception of Jesus who was born of God and a woman.
The second is a result of the first; it is physical death. Man is a soul/body unity. This is technically known as anthropological hylomorphism – the duality of man. Physical death is a result of spiritual death and it occurs when the soul departs (is separated from) the body. The Bible shows us that the soul without a body is naked (2 Corinthians 5:3) and therefore this is an unnatural state. The natural state of man is to be a soul/body unity. But this doesn’t necessarily mean man is complete. Because of spiritual death, a soul/body unity is in a state of fault. This fault is corrected when one comes to Christ.
The third is explained by Paul and noted in Romans 6:2; it is death to sin. This is the separation of a person who has moved to Christ from the power of sin; they are born again to new life. The fault is removed and man has been regenerated to his complete and originally intended state. He is a soul/body unity with the surety of eternal life – both spiritual and physical. This is the state which Paul argues for here.
We have “died to sin.” Because this is so, how can we continue to live in it. Sin is something which is contrary to our very nature and therefore it is something we are to live without. A good comparison to consider would be taking a dead body and putting it on a ventilator. What is the point? It would serve no purpose at all. Likewise, being dead to sin has removed from us the very sin nature we possessed. Therefore, to live in sin is contrary to the state we are now in.
Life application: Christ died for us. When we receive Him, we move from death to life. As this is spiritual renewal, then we should live out our new spiritual lives in a manner worthy of the change which has taken place. Let us move from sin to holiness.
Oh Lord, my Lord! The prospect of eternal life in Your presence apart from sin and death is so glorious. I long for that day, knowing that it has been guaranteed by the work of Christ. Because this is so, give me the resoluteness of mind to live in a manner now which is holy and acceptable to You. May You be pleased with the life I live in Your presence. Amen.