Romans 6:1-14 ESV
Dead to Sin, Alive to God
<em>1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.</em>
<em>5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.</em>
My mother is Patricia Ann Berlin (Young). My father is William Herman Elmer Berlin. I am their child. I was born according to the flesh on June 25, 1958. They named me Mark.
But I have another family. When I was baptized in August of 1958 in the name of the Father, and the Son, and in the Holy Spirit, I was born again and given the family name of Christian.
In Baptism I am born again, by and in the Spirit. I have both the natures of the flesh and of the Spirit. These two natures render distinct birthrights. While it is wonderful that I was born to my physical parents, and while God has blessed me with innumerable blessings, there is a problem. It is a big, big, problem. I was born into a world corrupted by sin. It’s effects are all around me. In the midst of God’s beautiful creation I see that everything is broken. Everything is beyond human repair. As a result death reigns. Everything dies. I will die. While I live as a flesh and blood creature this nature grants me the right to be enslaved to God’s law that convicts me of sin. This sin that I was both born with and have actually committed, leads to spiritual darkness, and both physical and spiritual death.
But I am born into another family. This is a permanent family. It is a spiritual family with a spiritual nature. According to this nature I have a totally different existence. According to this, as a baptized Christian I live completely free, in the light of the gospel of Jesus the Christ. As a result of this spiritual birth, I am free of the birthright of slavery that my flesh subjected me to. How can this be?
I have been baptized into Christ and as a result I have been baptized into his death. Therefore I no longer exist to the flesh. Its desires and traps (temptations) have no hold on me because I am dead in the flesh.
I share in the death of Christ. In my baptism into Christ, I not only share in his death but I also share in his resurrection, and therefore share also in his victorious and eternal life. This all has been done to the glory of God the Father.
Now that my old self has died to sin, and my new self lives in Christ, what promise does this hold for me? Since it is appointed for man to die once, as a result of my baptism into Christ’s death I cannot die again. I am free from the curse of death. In Christ, the “light of the world,” I am free from spiritual darkness. Since only the flesh is subject to the slavery of the law and sin, I am free of these too.
Therefore, though my spirit, born of God, is contained in the flesh and is subject to sin, I am master over sin. In Christ, it no longer reigns in me. In Christ, I am offered up to God as an instrument of righteousness, being no longer subject to law and sin. I am now subject to Grace.
Baptism holds another promise. While I am spiritually alive in a body of death that will eventually physically die, on the day of the resurrection of all flesh, my body will rise, incorruptible and with the glory of Christ Jesus. Just as He died on the cross for sin and was raised in glory, so will I share in His resurrection. Then, I will live forever, the son of Patricia and William and especially a Son of God. May this be true for each and every one of you!
Love, Pastor Mark