Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 1 Study # 3
May 15, 2016
2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection:
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
1901 ASV Translation:
2 God forbid. We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein?
3 Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
4 We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have become united with [him] in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of his resurrection;
6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin;
7 for he that hath died is justified from sin.
8 But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him;
9 knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death no more hath dominion over him.
10 For the death that he died, he died unto sin once: but the life that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
11 Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus.
- I. In What Sense Did We "Die"?, Part Two.
- A. The following verse immediately explains our "death" as a "baptism association with" the death of Jesus Christ.
- B. This, however, does not explain whether there was, in fact, any actual "death" on our part at the body level of our existence so that who and what we are was actually and physically subjected to death, nor does it explain what "death" is.
- 1. The actual nature of the death of Jesus Christ.
- a. The question is of the nature of "death" itself.
- 1) The most obvious sense of "death" is the departure of the spirit of man from the body of man (James 2:6), but this is "death" only of the body at the physical level.
- a) This, however, does insert into our understanding of "death" the very fundamental issue of "separation".
- b) But the idea of "separation" brings its own questions of meaning: what constitutes a "separation"? At the physical level it has to at least include the notion of spatial distance, a measurable distance between two entities.
- 2) A less obvious (because it is beyond the five senses) sense of "death" is this separation when the "entities" are man in his conscious existence and God as the Ultimate Spirit of Life as a quality of existence.
- a) Expressions of this separation...
- i. Jesus' "...why have You forsaken Me?" is a revelation of the distance that has come to pass between the Father and the Son.
- (a) This "distance" is expressed as "...I cry in the daytime but Thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent" (Psalm 22:2).
- (b) At the root is the reality that real interaction is the essence of "Life" in the soul ("Be not Thou far ("distance" of some kind) from me, O Lord...deliver my soul... 22:19-20).
- (c) And, in keeping with physical reality being a basis for "metaphor" (as meaning is moved out of physical reality into a different kind of reality) at issue in this "distance" is not "space" as physical distance, but "space" as a breakdown in "relational interaction between persons".
- ii. Jesus' "I thirst" may well be John's chief metaphor of the result of this distance.
- (a) Just as dehydration affects the physical body, a lack of personal interaction affects the soul; the essence of which is the disintegration of the ability of the elements to interact with each other.
- (b) The promise of Jesus "...you shall never thirst..." (John 4:14) is a commitment by God to those who believe Him: they will never suffer His departure from being their "Helper".
- iii. This concerns the "death" of the "person" as a participant in the "active interaction" between Spirit and "person". As long as there exists an active interaction between spirit and body, physical life exists, but there is also such a thing a "life" in the "essential person" and that requires this interactive union between Spirit and spirit and/or soul.
- (a) By "essential person" I mean the most stripped down version of personhood.
- (b) Since the "body" is relegated to the reality of being a "dwelling place" for the person, it seems that "personhood" does not essentially require a "body".
- b) Omnipresence is seriously and qualitatively different than "relational union".
- c) This signals a sense of "death" that is fundamentally "distance" between two critical elements in "life" so that "distance" makes "living" difficult to impossible. Thus, "death" is "distance" when "distance" means the breakdown of "union" and "effective interaction". This is the "death" that Adam and Eve suffered "in the day" that they ate of the forbidden fruit (they immediately fled from the localized presence of God in the Garden); physical death followed over a period of 900+ years of gradual deterioration of the union between body and spirit.
- i. At this point, we have the issue of what, specifically, about man "suffers death" when he can not meaningfully interact with God.
- (a) This is where "soul" comes into play: man is "a living soul" according to the creation record of Genesis 2:7.
- (b) Being a "body formed from the dust of the ground" is, according to this text, specifically distinct from, and different from, being "a living soul".
- (c) It was the union of a "spirit" (breath) with the "body of dust" that produced this distinct and new reality.
- (d) And, from the record of Genesis, it was only as "a living soul" that God had meaningful interaction with man.
- (e) Thus, we conclude that it is in the arena of "soul" that man has the capacity of "Life" or "Death" when each is defined in terms of "meaningful interaction".
- ii. It is the "soul" of man that "suffers death" when God withdraws from man as someone with whom He shares Himself in positive meaningful interaction.
- 3) And, then, there is the question of Spirit to spirit interaction in respect to Life. There is a reason that God's great gift to the Church was/is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as the Agent of "Life". The spirit of man can maintain "life" in the body for a while, but is wholly ineffective in obtaining or maintaining "Life" in the essential person. For "Life", the Spirit of Life is essential.
- a) There has to be a distinct "spirit" of man in order for the body of man to function.
- b) But there also has to be a significant problem with this "spirit of man" in order for the Spirit of God to be necessary to sustain man's "Life" while the spirit of man sustains his "life".
- c) At this point, Paul's declaration from Ephesians 2:2 must come into play. In that text, Paul pointedly indicated that mankind's "death" in trespasses and sins was rooted in a "walk" that was " kata...kata ". In other words, there are two "kata" (plus an accusative case noun) phrases that indicate the dominating "standard" for the description of the "walk". The first phrase indicates "the course of this world" (Authorized Version). The second indicates "the ruler of the authority of the air" who is subsequently identified as "the spirit who is now working in the sons of the disobedience". This points directly to a reality that most dismiss out of hand: there is a "spirit" that dominates the walk of "sons of the disobedience" (more accurately identified as "the sons of The Disbelief"). It seems that Paul understood that Adam's disbelief opened the door for "spiritual" dominion by the above mentioned "ruler" who is at the roots of "the course of this world". Thus, Adam's progeny was corrupted by the fruit of the Tree at the physical level, and by the spiritual forces of wickedness at the "spirit" level. So "death" was passed on to all of the sons of Adam by these two dominating realities. Thus, the gift of the Holy Spirit as an indwelling presence is the crucial, determining, difference between the "walk" of the "son of disobedience" and the "son of God".
- b. Thus, in respect to Jesus Christ, "death" first meant "distance from the Father" in terms of communicable union, and then meant "distance" between body and spirit when Jesus declared "Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit" (Luke 23:46) and then breathed His last breath.
- 2. In respect to our participation in the "death" of Jesus Christ, it is abundantly clear that there was no actual participation by our bodies with His body. Our bodies did not die when His body died, nor do our bodies die when we come to the point of justifying faith in His death for us.
- a. Romans 8:10 actually declares this reality at the present time: the body is dead in that it has not been "united" with the Spirit of Life at this point.
- b. This is not a denial of the indwelling of the Spirit so that the bodies of believers are His temple; but it is a denial that His indwelling has produced any significant "union" with these temples of His so that they are infused with His "Life". This is obvious because of the undeniable reality of pain, illness, and the on-going gradual disintegration of the body over time. Paul clearly acknowledged this also in 2 Corinthians 4:16 ("...our outward man is perishing...").
- c. Thus we have to conclude that Paul's "we died to The Sin" does not mean that our bodies are now separated from the impact of Adam's ingestion of the fruit of the forbidden tree. However, that does not mean that we are still enslaved to the most immediate impact of Adam's act: the body's absolute commitment to self-preservation. Hebrews 2:15 directly says that believers are "delivered from" the bondage that the fear of death imposes. We who believe realize that our bodies are yet subject to the inevitable disintegration of "death", but that no longer creates the typical impact of "self-preservation".
- 3. And in respect to our participation in the "death" of Jesus Christ in respect to our souls and spirits, it is Paul's contention that our "souls" have been united to Christ in fellowship and our spirits have been set free from the spirit that works in the sons of disobedience by the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ.
- 4. However, all of this depends entirely upon what Paul calls "being baptized into Christ Jesus", a concept requiring further study since it is beyond dispute that many, if not most, believers are yet in bondage to the fear of death and are yet walking according to the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience.