Friday, April 17

Daily Devotions on Romans 6

Day 2: Romans 6:5-14

Today, we are on our second day of our three-day journey through Romans 6 where the Apostle Paul teaches about how we participate in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ through Baptism, and what it means for our lives. Today, our devotion will focus on verses 5-11.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

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. 10  The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11  In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12  Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13  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. 14  For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

Yesterday, we reflected on our baptismal identity in Christ, and how we receive a new life in Baptism that is dead to sin. Verse 5 continues by assuring us that since we have been united to Christ in a death like his, then we can be absolutely certain that we will also be united with him in a resurrection like his. His death was on the cross, and our death is in Baptism, where our old sinful self was crucified with Christ so that we are set free from our slavery to sin (6:6-7).

However, we still face the problem of our mortal bodies’ inclination toward sin and evil desires (6:12). Because of baptism, believers are freed from slavery to sin, but they still struggle against sin. Our old sinful self still rears its ugly head, and so we live in this tension of the now and the not yet .

In verse 12, Paul provides a summary conclusion for the chapter thus far. Read very closely here. Paul’s command is to not let sin reign in your mortal bodies. Two key words are underlined. Paul does not declare that sin will no longer reign in our mortal bodies; sin does reign in our mortal bodies, without any hope for change apart from Christ. Even though as believers in Christ we have already received God’s grace through the death and resurrection of Christ now , and even though we have already received a new identity in Christ that is set free from slavery to sin now , we must still contend with the ongoing presence of sin in our bodies now .

Paul refers to our mortal bodies because he anticipates what has not yet happened . A day when we will receive new, immortal bodies, like Jesus did. Only then will sin truly be dead. Until that day, the power of sin is still present in our flesh, and we will wrestle in the tension of the now and the not yet. The only question is how we respond to it: whether we give sin power it no longer has, or whether we allow Christ to live in us and put to death the deeds of the flesh. But the good news is that we will wrestle with this tension, not as those who are slaves to sin, but as those who have already been brought from death to new life, trusting that—in spite of our continued sinfulness—we are covered by God’s grace through Jesus Christ (6:12-14).

Prayer: Lord, Jesus Christ, I confess that I am by nature sinful and unclean. Thank you for including me in your death and resurrection so that I am no longer a slave to sin. Even though I still wrestle in the tension of the now and the not yet, I trust that I am who you say that I am. Help me not to succumb to my evil desires, but to offer every part of myself to you as an instrument of righteousness. Amen.