Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 1 Study # 7
Thesis: The union of the believer to Christ is absolutely crucial.
Introduction: If we take a look at the overall paragraph of Romans 6:1-14, we will notice that the issue is the question of how we are to live in freedom from the bondage to sin. This is the opening question and the final conclusion. Now, in light of that issue, it is interesting to note that the primary thesis of the paragraph is that we have died to sin. There are 19 references in these 14 verses to death. The verb "to be dead" is used five times. The word "death" is used seven times. The word "crucified" is used once. The word "the dead" is used four times. The word "mortal" is used once, and the word "buried" is used once. However, being dead isn't the most significant truth; it is simply the most important beginning place. The most significant truth is that we have been resurrected to "newness of life". But, since one cannot get to resurrection without death, we have to start at the starting point.
As we continue to look at the overall paragraph, we notice that the primary thesis is followed by a question about what the readers might not know and two statements about what they are supposed to know. Also, it is interesting to note that Paul's actual application of the knowledge is found in verses 11-13, where he calls upon his readers to begin to reckon as God does.
This evening we are going to plow over some old ground as we look into verse five. As you can see by looking at the overall picture, verse five comes at the end of the "ignorance" section. And, as you can further see, it is mostly a repetition of verses 3-4.
August 29, 2006
- I. The Issue.
- A. Paul is fundamentally concerned with one issue: how we are to live.
- 1. This is the heart of his opening statement in 6:1 and the real force of his conclusion statement in 6:14.
- 2. It is at the end of 6:4 that he actually identifies the life we are to live.
- B. What is "newness of life"?
- 1. Fundamentally it is a "life" that is free from bondage to Sin (6:1 and 14).
- 2. Then it is a "life" that is rooted in a different source of the power to function (resurrection power as the outworking of the "glory of the Father").
- 3. Then, it is a "life" that is characterized by a different "quality" of experience in the midst of the same old experiences (the external issues may or may not change at all, but the internal issues are radically altered).
- a. There is no point to talking about a "new" life if there is nothing new about it.
- b. There is no point to talking about a "new" life if the newness is dependent upon the external circumstances because the incipient progress of the mystery of iniquity pretty much guarantees that the external circumstances are going to deteriorate.
- c. There is no point to talking about a "new" life if there is not a rather radical change at the core of the life.
- 1) Paul wrote in 2:29 about the circumcision of the heart by which there is made a radical change in respect to the issue of "whence my praise?".
- 2) Paul also wrote in 8:1 about "walking after the Spirit", but there is a very notable absence, up to this text, of references to the ministry of the Spirit.
- 4. This means that the "newness" arises from new attitudes, not new experiences.
- II. The Foundations.
- A. The first aspect of the foundation is our "union" together with Christ.
- 1. The translators of the Authorized Version translated (I believe, mistakenly) the word as "planted".
- 2. The word, though it assumes planting, actually refers to "growing up out of the seed-bed." [Note Luke 8:6 and 8 and Hebrews 12:15.]
- 3. The translation "planted" actually misleads in that it suggests two seeds in the same location in the seed-bed while Paul's point is that we are one seed with Christ.
- a. There is a parallelism here with the Trinity: multiple persons in indissoluble union.
- b. It is our "individuality" that kills us -- the inability to see ourselves as "one" with another to the point that the "other" is more important than the "one".
- B. The second aspect of the foundation is the "foci" of the union.
- 1. Our "union" with the death of Christ is absolutely fundamental and necessary.
- 2. Our "union" with the resurrection of Christ is also absolutely fundamental and necessary.
- C. The third aspect of the foundation is the proper understanding of how the union actually affects our living.
- 1. At this point in Romans 6, Paul has not addressed that issue with as much clarity as he has the issues of our "union with Christ".
- 2. So far, he has simply hammered on the fact of our real union.
- 3. If we look down to the end of 6:8 we run into the first real reference to method: we believe; and from there we have to go to the beginning of 6:11 to actually get into a workable process of faith.