Summary of passage: Paul pauses to answer any questions and to clarify: No! We don’t go on sinning just because grace is bigger than sin! When we’re baptized, we’re baptized into Christ and his life and death.
6) Believers. We became different people when we died to sin.
7) Water baptism is us identifying with Jesus’s death and resurrection. It’s a spiritual death and a renewal, receiving the Holy Spirit. Baptism depicts graphically what happens as a result of the Christian’s union with Christ, which comes with faith–through faith we are united with Christ just as through our natural birth we are united with Adam. It gives the believer entry into the righteousness and new life in Christ through an identification with Christ himself.
8 ) Part personal Question. My answer: Once we accept God’s grace and gift of Jesus into our life we are born again with the Holy Spirit and therefore our relationship with sin is permanently changed. We have died to sin and cannot live any longer it it. For the most part, I lead a guilt-free life, knowing God has forgiven all my sins. I strive to do His will in my life. I pray and listen and obey (I’m not perfect in this mind you). I abhor sin. I strive my best not to sin. I live a life full of contentment knowing where my home is. I try to share this with others through my example.
Conclusions: This is an important concept to get: As believers all of our sin is washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ. We are given a new self (which we’ll explore in the next lesson) when we accepted Jesus and were baptized. He now lives inside all of us, setting us apart for all of eternity. It doesn’t get any better than that!
End Notes: [Same End Notes as YESTERDAY] In verses 3:21-5:21 Paul explains how God has provided for our redemption and justification. He next explains the doctrine of sanctification–the process by which believers grow to maturity in Christ and are made holy. He treats the subject in 3 parts: 1) freedom from sin’s tyranny (ch 6) 2) freedom from the law’s condemnation (ch 7) 3) life in the power of the Holy Spirit (ch 8) This will be Chapters 6:1-8:39
Throughout history, you’d be surprised who twisted these verses (and Paul’s words) to justify their wrong-doings (this is why Paul is harping on this topic). The Russian, self-proclaimed monk Rasputin for one said “I’ll sin more to earn more forgiveness.” If you don’t know much about Rasputin, he’s a fascinating character (albeit evil one) in history who led a bizarre life of immorality, but heavily influenced the last Imperial family of Russia. In essence, he was a very good con man, which was unfortunate for the Royals and some scholars even say he contributed to their downfall.
Paul often used this writing technique: He pauses in the middle of an argument to answer objections or questions that may be occurring to the reader.
Paul’s concern here is that people will misuse God’s grace and use God’s forgiveness of their sins as an excuse to continue sinning (like Rasputin did). It’s God’s job to forgive and our job to sin, right?
This explains the early church’s emphasis on an angry God, His wrath, and the law because man has no motivation to stay the straight and narrow path.
Paul points out that when we accepted Jesus our relationship to sin has changed; therefore, we have died to sin and a life of sinning is incompatible with life. Paul will explain this in detail but his point is clear: Before, we were dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1); now we are dead to sin.
In New Testament Times baptism so closely followed conversion that the two were considered part of one event. Baptism is closely associated with faith although not the means by which we enter into a faith relationship with Jesus.
The ancient Greek word for baptized means “to immerse or overwhelm something.” When a person is baptized in water, they are immersed or covered over with water. When they are baptized with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11, Acts 1:5), they are “immersed” or “covered over” with the Holy Spirit. When they are baptized with suffering (Mark 10:39), they are “immersed” or “covered over” with suffering. Here, Paul refers to being baptized – “immersed” or “covered over” – in Christ Jesus.
Being baptized with water is us identifying with Jesus’s death and resurrection. It’s not cleansing here as Paul uses the term. In essence, you can’t die and rise again without it changing you. It’s akin to almost dying. You’re changed when you have a near-death experience. We die spiritually and rise with Jesus!