- Sermon Notes
Be Alive to God
October 29, 2023
In Romans 5 Paul told us how we became sinners in the first place; we were born into the sin of Adam. In other words, we’re sinners because we were born that way. A person does selfish and self-centered things because they were born selfish and self-centered in Adam. It is natural. It is inborn nature.
A sinner can be set free from the condition he was born into. You were born in the sin of Adam, but you can be born again in the life and righteousness of Jesus Christ.
The result of being born in the sin of Adam is death, but the result of being born again in the righteousness of Jesus Christ is life. Over and over Paul made the comparison between being in Adam and being in Christ.
Then in the first verses of chapter 6, Paul gave us some amazing insight into what it means to be born again in Christ. He wrote that the Spirit baptized us into Christ’s death and we were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
Because we’re born again in the life and righteousness of Christ, we have a standing before God now we could never have had before. Our sins have been removed from our account and placed into Christ’s account and His righteousness has been added to our account. This is amazing grace; this is the gospel.
Now, as we move further into this chapter, Paul wants us to understand that our standing in heaven should have a direct bearing on how we live our lives here on earth.
In other words, it’s about sin versus righteousness. The reason Christ died on the cross has everything to do with our sins. He paid for our sins so we could receive His righteousness.
The point he makes in chapter 6 is that sin has consequences; it insists on being paid its wages and ultimately produces death. Many in the world would say in response, “Let’s be more sensitive here. Let’s be a little more politically correct; it’s not nice to use the word sin and talk about it like that.”
Okay, well we could sugarcoat sin and be politically correct all day, but the fact remains that the result of sin is death and you can’t sugarcoat that; although some try.
Sugarcoating sin is like sugarcoating a habanero pepper. The sweetness lasts about two seconds and then you’re on fire!
When we take hold of the truth in this section, it will transform our lives. Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
I. Be Dead to Sin and Alive to God
- There’s a theme that runs through this chapter and many other places as well: we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. Truth sets us free from the lies and deception of the world.
- Paul begins verse 6, “Knowing this…” If you know what God has done for you; if you know who you are in Christ, you will be changed.
- So what is it we need to understand? What do we need to know that will transform us?
A. Christ died to sin so you can die to sin
- Our old self was crucified with Christ so that our body of sin might be rendered powerless; nullified.
- The old self with all its sin and unrighteousness has died in Christ. Sin is no longer master over us. Judgment is no longer hanging over our heads. We have a new standing before God; we’re now adopted.
Illus. Imagine a sheriff showing up at a funeral. They have a warrant to arrest the deceased. He is guilty of a crime. The reply would be, he is dead. But we have to take him to jail, and he is guaranteed to get a life sentence in prison. Sorry, he is dead. But he has to pay back his debt. Sorry, he is dead.
- This is what is meant by ‘we have died with Christ’. In the spiritual realm and application, we, our old sinful, guilty selves are dead. There is no judgment anymore. The enemy cannot bring charges against us. We are dead.
B. Consider yourself dead to sin
- Verse 11 is a key to this chapter. What does he mean, “Consider yourself dead.”? What does he mean?
- You have a part to play. You realize what God has done and then respond with how you live.
- When you realize what God has done you’re saying to yourself, “I need to take into account the fact that…
Galatians 2:20-21, I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
- Verse 12 – “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts.”
- “Do not let…” You have a say in the matter.
- Sin does not have to be the master (verse 14.) You do not have to obey its desires.
- You are by default a slave to the one you obey. This is what happened to Adam and Eve. In that one moment of sin, there was a dual interaction. They did not only disobey God, but they obeyed Satan and became enslaved to him.
- This resulted in all humanity, being in Adam, carrying that slavery of the initial obedience. In Chapter 5 Paul hammered in the truth. Christ has now set us free. We are alive in the second Adam, Jesus Christ.
- So with your bodies now also obey. Do not surrender it to sin. Do not become a slave to that thing that wants to control you. Offer up your members (body) as slaves to righteousness which brings sanctification.
- You do not have to obey; those desires do not have to have dominion over you. God gives you the spiritual power to be victorious.
Galatians 5:16-17, Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are in opposition to one another.
- But walking by the Spirit is a choice.
Illus – It’s like power steering, when you decide to live by the Spirit, He empowers you in that direction. Many cars now have ‘Auto steering’. It detects the lines on the road and nudges you to stay between the lines, but you can choose to override it. You can choose to drive into a tree.
C. Consider yourself alive to God
- It has everything to do with what you’re dead to and what you’re alive to. We have choices we can make. And those choices are based on what we know.
- Verse 11 – not only are you to consider yourselves to be dead to sin, ALIVE to God IN Christ Jesus. You are in Christ. You are Baptized INTO Christ. You are placed INSIDE of Him. When the Father looks at you, He sees the same righteousness and holiness that Christ has.
Galatians 3:27, For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
- You are clothed with Christ. Like a Spandex suit covering your whole body. But this is not only an outward covering, you have Christ IN you. (Col.1:24)
- In the spiritual realm, you are not seen as a separate being that is alone wafting around fending for yourself. No, you are placed in Christ, in union with Christ. We live in Him, He lives in us. Nothing can separate you from God and His love.
- When the Father looks at us, He sees Jesus, us as righteous as Jesus, having been made holy and righteous through the blood of Christ. We are IN Christ.
- Verse 13 – present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead. “Here I am, Lord, I have been raised from the dead; I’ve been born-again in Christ. My heart is yours.”
- Our union with God, our actively considering ourselves dead to sin and alive with God is very important. It is an active choice of faith, seeing myself forgiven, seeing myself set free.
- Seeing myself like God sees me. Considering myself like God considers me. In Christ, you are a son and a daughter of the Father, and joint heir with Jesus Christ. Thinking differently.
Proverbs 23:7, As a man thinketh in his heart, so IS he.
II. You Choose what You Reap
- The key to these last verses is verse 21, “What benefit did you gain from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.”
- Considering who we are in Christ, God wants us to look forward and understand that sin has an outcome. It wants to be paid its wages, but righteousness also has an outcome. It’s the principle of sowing and reaping.
A. You choose whom you obey
- Verse 15 Paul says, “Shall we sin because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid it!”
- That’s actually quite a common thought…
Illus – When teenagers sometimes move out of their parent’s house, they might experience this new-found freedom. I can do whatever I want. They can stay out as late as they want, they can buy with their credit card what they want, and they can eat and drink at parties what they want. But they soon realize that staying out till 3 a.m. radically impacts your next day at work, which, if continued, can have disastrous “firing” potential. They find out that you can buy as much as you want on a credit card, but the debt at some stage must be paid. You can eat or drink what you want, but the result of whatever you eat or drink you will feel in your body.
- When I’m under obligation, the law, there’s something inside that doesn’t want to do it. But something changes when the desire is written on my heart.
Jeremiah 31:31-33, “I will make a new covenant,” declares the Lord, “And this is the covenant I will make with them… I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it…”
- Paul wants us to understand that we choose whom we obey. If we obey the desires of the flesh, it becomes the master.
- Before we knew Christ, we were free in regard to righteousness. This means we had no desire to conform to God’s will. This resulted in living a life of sin.
- Sin brings shame. It brings no benefit. Any sin you can think of, in the long term makes you ashamed.
Illus – I once saw the sad result of someone I knew who was quite successful, but he wanted to be in the ‘in’ crowd. He started using cocaine recreationally at parties with some work friends. After a while, this came out, and by that time he was hooked. It had a devastating effect. It cost him his marriage, messed up his relationship with his young children, and, having to go into rehab many times, it eventually cost him his career.
- It doesn’t even have to be this radical. There are many things that make cruel masters. Alcohol is a cruel master, emotions are meant to be servants to us; they make terrible masters. Food is meant to be a servant, not a master.
- God has better in store for you. That is why Paul says…
1 Corinthians 6:12-13, I will not be mastered by anything. Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food… The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.
- The Lord is for the body. Many see their body as the “sinful flesh”, so they are warring against the body. No, the body should be refocused. The Lord is FOR the body. God gave you this body. Instead of actively focusing on what NOT to do with the body, consider your body redeemed, and start to actively focus on what you SHOULD do with your body to the glory of God. It is a paradigm change.
B. Sow what you want to reap
- Paul wants us to understand the principle of sowing and reaping so we can decide what we want to sow based on what we want to reap.
Galatians 6:7-9, Whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Do not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.
Illus – How many people would say, “If I had known what it would cost me, I would not have done it”?
- What Paul wants us to understand is that we eventually become our choices, it defines our character…
Illus – Sow a thought; reap an action. Sow an action; reap a habit. Sow a habit; reap a character. Sow a character; reap a destiny.
- Again, it is easy to get trapped in not to sow to the flesh. Instead, focus on what to sow in the Spirit. How do we do this? Start thinking, proclaiming, and trusting aligned with the Spirit.
- Sowing to the spirit is not sitting and meditating with smoke and bells on vague spiritual mysteries. No, it is a practical active choice of renewing the mind which has practical consequences.
- Sow the truths of the word into your soul. As you are aligning with the promises and truths in the word, you are sowing to the spirit.
- For example, how you treat your wife or husband, how you treat your kids, and how you treat your co-workers. How you handle anxiety, lack, praise from people, fear of the future. How you handle your finances, and your relationship with money. In short, any area of your life that you are aligning with the word you are sowing to the Spirit.
- Paul then encourages us to see the result of following God.
V-22, But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.
- When people read the word ‘slave’, it has a horrible connotation. The first response is, ‘I do not want to be a slave. I am a slave to no one!’ The truth is that you are already a slave to whatever you obey. If you are not in Christ, you are a slave to sin which leads to destruction.
- The word slave means to be bonded to someone. Paul in Romans 1 says that he is a bondservant of Christ. This describes a person who WILLINGLY becomes a servant to the master.
- Why, because the benefits are overwhelming.
- The reward we have is not just getting to heaven one day. He highlights the contrast for us. Live in sin and unrighteousness, and the result is hurt and shame.
- Live in your new nature, freed from sin and choosing to follow God’s lead (enslaved), and it results in a life that is sanctified, flowing into the final outcome which is eternal life.
- The moment you died to self and surrendered to Christ, you have already stepped into eternal life, never more to die.
- But it is important to grasp that our reward is not just eternal life. Our reward is living a life that we are not ashamed of. A life we can be proud of, a life without condemnation and fear.
- A life being made beautiful by our obedience to Christ and the work He does in our lives. It affects and continues to positively affect every area of your life.
Illus- For example, where your relationships with others were broken and messed up, it is in the process of repair and growing into beauty as you obey what God says. Your work ethic changes and so does your report from your employer. Your name that might have been trashed by previous behaviors is being restored as people see you walking in integrity, leaning on God’s strength.
- So, our living in the new life of Christ has a reward here and now, and then on top of that, we get the added bonus jackpot: the free gift of eternal life.
- This world is winding down at a frightening pace. Those who have spiritual discernment can see how Bible prophecy is unfolding before our eyes. This is the time to be bonded to God, surrender to His Spirit, alive to God so that He can fulfill His perfect will in and through our lives.
- Be set free from sin and shame and have new life.
Romans 6:1-23 NASB
6 1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 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, 6 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; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin.
8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be 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 lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. 22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.