THE MINDSET OF FAITH

“So you too, consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11).

This passage highlights well the necessity of understanding Jesus as Messiah. As such he represents his people; that what’s true of him is true of us. Just as the Messiah died to sin and lives to God (v.10), and as a result of our union with him, we are to consider ourselves in the same vein. As followers of  Christ, to consider ourselves a certain way means to have a particular mindset in pursuit of the life to which we have been called. The life of faith isn’t about closing your eyes and hoping, prayerfully, that what Paul says is true. No, it’s opening one’s eyes to the reality of who Jesus is, what he has done, and living life accordingly.

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ONCE AND FOR ALL

“For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all time; but the life He lives, He lives to God” (Romans 6:10).

Jesus knew well what it was to be tempted by the devil and the offerings of this world (Mt.4:1). In fact, the author of Hebrews noted that Jesus was “tempted in all things just as we are, yet without sin” (4:15). He didn’t live in sin as does the like of all humanity but, with his death, he bore on our behalf the full penalty of sin, and by his resurrection reigns victorious over the grave. This God did “once for all time,” delivering us from the power of sin and the sting of death (1 Cor.15:56).

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KNOWING AND LIVING

“Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him” (Romans 6:9).

For the second time in this chapter, Paul utilizes the word “knowing” to drive home those theological realities of which the people of God can be assured. Having been baptized into Christ (v.3), crucified with him (v.6), united with him the likeness of his death, and in the likeness of his resurrection (v.5), this brings forth a defining and inseparable union with very real implications for fearless living in a hostile world. Knowing whose we are determines how we live.

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BELIEVING AND BEING

“Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him” (Romans 6:8).

Emotions and feelings are subjective; linked to the circumstances of the moment. As such, they should have no bearing on what we believe. As followers of Christ, our actions are determined not by our ever-changing emotions but, rather, the conviction of our beliefs. Thus, the theological reality of having died with Christ isn’t some celebrated moment from the past, but an inviolable assurance from God impacting not only our eternal destiny but our everyday existence.

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DEATH AS LIBERATION

“Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for the one who has died is freed from sin” (Romans 6:6-7).

Paul’s audience would have understood that it was not until death that even the freed slave was truly liberated from the obligation of various services. Thus, his theological analogy; that having been crucified with Christ, united with him in the likeness of death (v.5), sin’s ownership and mastery over the life of the believer has been terminated. We are to live, accordingly, to who we are, not in accordance to that which brought about our death.

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INTENTIONAL WORSHIP

“Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker” (Psalm 95:1).

They were a people who had known invasion, war, deportation, and much more. Shared grief, brokenness, and despair has a way of drawing people together. For the people of God the common need for worship transcends the despondency of the moment. Even when your heart is emotionally distant, the intentional worship of the sovereign God of creation hastens the transformation and shaping of your perspective.

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NEARSIGHTED CRITICS

“Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger burned against David and he said, ‘Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your insolence and the wickedness of your heart; for you have come in order to see the battle'” (1 Samuel 17:28).

While critics will always seek to deflate, discourage, and impede those laboring to fulfill the forward advance of the Kingdom of God, it can be even more disheartening when they are found among those closest to us. A critic’s view of life is to limit everything and everyone to what they have always been. They are judgmental spectators of all that is wrong and never a redeeming solution to what God is seeking to make right. If God is calling you to a task that requires walking by faith, don’t let the critics trip you up.

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FUSED TOGETHER

“For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection” (Romans 6:5).

God has done something so radical through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, that our response of faith has fused, grown together, and united our lives to his. That “united” is in the perfect tense offers the necessary reminder that this bonding together, in the likeness of Christ’ death, is an unceasing, life-long process of dying to self. Thus, the question becomes, Am I more dead to self than I was 10, 5, or 2 years ago? Or have I become more self-focused, self-absorbed, demanding, angry, frustrated, all the things that are opposite of the fruit of the Spirit?

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A SPRING IN YOUR STEP

“Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the father, so we too may walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).

Paul frequently employs the term “walk” to express the ethical implications of the Christian life; how we are to live and conduct ourselves. Having been buried with Christ is a passive voiced verbal expression, emphasizing that God is the one seeing this accomplished. Strange isn’t it; that having been buried with Christ, we have never been more alive? If what God has done doesn’t put a spring in your step, I don’t know what will.

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NOW YOU KNOW 

“Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have baptized into His death” (Romans 6:3)?

Paul’s normal use of “do you not know” is in regard to those things with which his audience is already familiar. Here, however, he is educating them on something they had not yet considered. Just as he wrote of the children of Israel being baptized into Moses (1 Cor.10:2), and believers being baptized into one body (1 Cor.12:13), Paul continues the same figurative and metaphorical use of the term baptism to describe believers being immersed into Christ and his death. Thus, emphasizing that as the Messiah, the representative of the people, what is true of him is true of all who believe and trust in him.

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