“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
The apostle Paul uses the word “death,” “died” or “dead” twelve times in the first eleven verses of Romans Chapter Six. Many of these verses also refer to our spiritual death in Christ. For Christ not only died to sin once and for all eternity; He also died for our sins once and for all eternity. “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit (1 Peter 3:18)”. When Christ died to sin, God included us in Christ’s death. Therefore, our sinful nature died with Christ once and for all. The New Testament Greek word for “died”, which Paul used in a number of these verses, is apothnesko, which means expired or died and conveys a sense of finality – of being very dead. It is important to understand that this word “died” is expressed in the Greek aorist tense, which refers to a single action that occurred in the past. In this context, “died” does not mean that we aredying to sin (present tense) nor does it mean that we will die to sin (future tense). “Died” here means a decisive, past action – a death that has already occurred. We have died (past tense)! For example, in Romans 6:7-8, Paul wrote, “Anyone who has died has been freed from sin… we have died with Christ.” We have been freed once and for all time from both the penalty of sin and the power of sin and we now have newness of life in Christ. The Bible says, “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).”
Paul declared that he preached the gospel of “Christ crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23). Paul’s instruction on the spiritual meaning of our crucifixion with Christ is the foundation of his apostolic teaching to the church. “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2).” Paul told the churches in Galatia that he had clearly explained the purpose of Christ’s crucifixion to them (Galatians 3:1). He taught the believers in Rome that they had been crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6). He told the church in Colossae that they had died with Christ (Colossians 3:3).
How often do we hear a sermon that we have died with Christ? How often do we hear teaching on what this profound and powerful truth of Christ’s death on the cross means to us and so that we can practically apply it in our lives and bear our own cross? This is the gospel of the cross of Christ, which was Paul’s divine commission. Today, many Christians only want to hear that they have an abundant life in Christ. However, the divine order is that death must always come before life. You cannot experience Christ’s abundant life unless you first learn to abide (stay united by faith) in Christ’s death and bear your own cross. If you never believe and act on the Biblical truth that you have died in Christ and apply this truth in your life, you will never experience the power of Christ’s resurrection life. This is why many Christians are still spiritually weak and worldly even after they have been saved for many years. This is the reason why so many Christians have fallen away from the faith and succumbed to the deceitful power of sin. Let us now look at this verse:
- “For the death that he died, He died to sin once for all.” Since God has included us in Christ’s death, our sinful nature does not secretly inhabit our physical body just waiting to be “resurrected” and overpower us. Our sinful nature does not reside within us like a dormant volcano, which can spontaneously erupt into life and cause destruction and havoc at any time. Absolutely not! Our sinful nature was crucified and buried with Christ. It has been destroyed – it is dead and gone! “For the death that he died, He died to (put away) sin once for all.” Since we have died with Christ, we have also died to sin once and for all! “For he who has died has been freed from sin (Romans 6:7).”
- “But the life that He lives, He lives to God.” Since Christ was made alive in the Spirit, we too have been made alive in the Spirit and raised with Him (Ephesians 2:4-6). “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you (Romans 8:11).” Since God included us in Christ’s resurrection, we now can also live to God. The Bible says, “We are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).”
Because we are united with Christ in His death and resurrection, we too have the ability to fulfill God’s will. As the apostle Peter instructed, “so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God (1 Peter 4:2).” The Bible says we will reign as overcomers in life through Christ. “For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17).” This is our glorious destiny and present day reality made possible by faith in Christ’s death and resurrection!
Tomorrow: Romans 6:11