A. PEACE AND JOY (5:1-11)
Since there now is peace between God and us we are enjoying all His goodness and are also looking forward to the more distant future when we will receive some of His kingly glory.
But we do not rejoice in the pleasant things only, but also in the trouble and suffering that come our way because these teach us endurance and endurance builds our character which, in turn, when we perceive our spiritual growth, brings hope for the future. This hope will never disappoint us because the Holy Spirit has come to dwell within our hearts and brings with Him a glow of love.
Taking into account all the circumstances that prevailed at a time of Christ’s crucifixion, one has to agree that He came for the salvation of mankind at exactly the right time in history. But for every one of us He is also available at the right time, that is at the time when we sense our deep need for a saviour to cover our sins and to come and dwell within us in order to give us victory over the weakness of our flesh.
Christ’s suffering and death for sinners, demonstrates His love which goes beyond our human understanding. We might still be willing to risk our lives and die in order to save an upright person from death, but amongst men it is unheard of for someone to lay down his life for a worthless outcast that has squandered his life in the pursuit of sin.
The fact that Christ saved us while we were powerless, our lives steeped in sin, proves and gives us hope and assurance that He will now that we have entered into a new lifestyle and live in a way that is more pleasing to God than what it was before, see us through right to the end.
B. DEATH THROUGH ADAM; LIFE THROUGH CHRIST (5:12-21)
Adam’s one sin caused many people to be sinners and be judged; Christ’s one sacrifice for sin resulted in many people being made righteous and escaping judgement. So the principle is: one for all.
Adam’s one deed of sin caused all people to be born as sinners and to bear the punishment for sin which is death. Since man has been dying through all the ages, even before God gave his laws to the nation of Israel, it shows that he was held accountable for his sin. People were guilty because, as seen before, in nature they could clearly see that there was a God who created everything and was to be served, but they failed to do so. Secondly God’s laws had, since the beginning of time, been written in their consciences, so they had no excuse for their sin and were judged and died though they had not committed an explicit act of disobedience to a command of God, as did Adam. It can therefore be said that because of one sin by one man, multitudes of people were judged and died.
There are similarities between what Adam did and what Christ did but there are also striking differences. Both Adam and Christ were responsible for certain things that happened to mankind, but grace that came through Christ was greater than the judgement that came through Adam. Because of Adam’s one deed of disobedience, all people had to pay the price but because of Christ’s one deed of obedience all people are placed in a position by which they may receive perfect righteousness without paying the price for it. Adam brought death; Christ brought life. Man was compelled to pay for Adam’s deed but Christ paid for man’s deeds.
The laws of God were later on given to the Israelites so that they could more clearly see how sinful they were, yet no matter how great a man’s sin, the goodness of God is so much greater. Whereas previously sin reigned and had the power to pull mankind down into death, the loving-kindness of God now reigns and has the power to uplift a person into right standing with God and impart to him eternal life.
C. DEAD TO SIN, ALIVE IN CHRIST (6:1-14)
To what conclusion should we then come? If man’s sin resulted in God pouring out His grace, should we not sin more so that His grace may become more abundant? No, not at all. To receive God’s grace we had to agree to die to sin, so how can we now go on sinning?
The water baptism of believers, which symbolises our baptism into Christ, confirms that sin must be put to death for we are totally immersed into the water and then lifted up out of it which is a picture of our spiritually dying in respect of sin and then being resurrected into new godly life. We are legally seen by God as having been in Christ when He died, went down into the grave and was resurrected again. This means that our old sinful nature was legally put to death to destroy its power so that we may no longer be slaves to sin for a dead body is absolutely powerless and incapable of any action.
Likewise our new self arose with Christ from the grave. Just as Christ is now alive and will never die again, our new man is forever alive to live for God. Just as death has no further mastery over Christ, sin and death have no mastery over us at all.
So we must now get our practical experience in line with our legal position. By faith we must firmly believe that we are dead to sin and alive for Christ. We must therefore reckon each part of our physical bodies as well as our minds and emotions dead as a doornail towards sin and not obey its evil desires thereby becoming instruments of wickedness, but offer every part of ourselves to God as instruments through which He can live out His life of righteousness. Sin will no longer be your master whom you shall obey because you are no longer trying to keep God’s laws in your own power in order to win His acceptance; no, by His grace you have already been accepted by Him and are now flowing in the new life which He imparts to you by His Spirit.
D. SLAVES TO RIGHTEOUSNESS (6:15-23)
The fact that you are legally dead to sin and alive for Christ, will not work out automatically in your daily life. You will have to exercise your will to be dead to sin and alive towards Christ. You will have to make choices to either surrender yourself to sin or to God.
If you choose to surrender yourself to sin, you will become a slave of sin and if you decide to surrender yourself to God you will become a slave of righteousness which means you will continually serve the right kind of living, the God kind of living, just as a slave serves his master. As a slave continues serving his master year by year, he later on becomes so used to it, that he no longer questions his Master’s rules and directions, he just automatically does what he is told. Likewise if you continue accepting that you are dead to sin and alive towards Christ, His life will be in control.
Should you offer a part of yourself to impurity, you will become increasingly more impure, but if you offer yourself to that which is pure and right in the eyes of God you will become increasingly more holy. Consider soberly: what fruits did you reap of your previous life; how did you benefit by the things of which you are now ashamed, the things that lead to eternal death? Therefore now fully avail yourself of the privilege of having been set free from the rule of sin and death and live the new life of holiness that will last for all eternity.
This pericope in a nutshell: 6:23: For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord
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