Our Union With Christ.

In the first lesson in this series I looked at Romans 7 and labored to prove, in that chapter, is Paul writing about his experience as a Christian in respect to the Law and the flesh. When he is speaking of the Law he has in view the 10 commandments, and his inability to keep them perfectly. He taught us its role is to show us our sins and a need for Jesus Christ to redeem us from the curse of the law. 

We learned that Christians still do have sin dwelling in them, there is a warfare going between our minds, that are delighting in the spiritual law; and our flesh that is “sold under sin”.  We want to do good, but sin in our flesh prevents us from doing the good we want to do.  

I showed from Galatians 5 that Christians have the Holy Spirit in them working against the flesh, and the flesh working against the Spirit.   

Galatians 5:16–17

[16] But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. [17] For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (ESV)

I sited those verses to prove that Christians, who have the Spirit, are still harassed by the sinful flesh. 

    In this lesson we will take a look at Romans 6: 1-11. Paul here lays out the foundation and power of our living holy lives. Namely, Our union with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection objectively.

    Misunderstanding here can and will hinder our proper thinking and mortification of sin. Here is shown to us that we have all things that pertain to life and godliness, and having all these things we can truly put to death the deeds of the body. There is victory in Christ.  

     Paul is answering an objection to his teaching of grace and the free gift of salvation in Christ Jesus. By God’s grace sinners are justified by faith alone and not by works of the law.  He states the question “Are we to continue in sin that grace my abound?” His answer is “By no means!” He goes on to explain that we are dead to sin by our union with Jesus Christ and since we are united with Christ in his death and resurrection, how can we live still in sin? Since we dead to sin, in Christ, and was raised to life with Christ, how can we still live in it? You are either in sin or in Christ; the former leads to death, the latter leads to eternal life.  In other words if you say you are Christ’s then prove it by living a holy life, not to gain eternal life, but rather to prove you have eternal life in Christ Jesus. 

So let’s look a little deeper into this passage. 

Two themes that stand out in the passage about our union with Jesus Christ are our being “dead to sin” and “alive to God”. Both of these are ours, or true of us, because of our union with Christ Jesus. 

First, what does it mean to be “dead to sin”? This is the main statement made by the apostle in Romans 6 from this statement “dead to sin” Paul launches into an explanation of how you, the believer, came to be “dead to sin”. 

Paul beginnings to explain his statement “We who died to sin”. This is something that has all ready happened, you believer, in Christ, have already died to sin. Or as Paul writes at the end of his argument “so you also must consider yourselves dead to sin”. Why and how?

Why?

 “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” (Ver. 3) 

Here is how we came to be in Christ, that is, how we are united with Christ, and in being united with Christ we are participates with him in his crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection. We are united with Christ by the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. 

Mark 1:8

[8] I (John the Baptist) have baptized you with water, but he (Jesus Christ) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (ESV)

1 Corinthians 12:12–13

[12] For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. [13] For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. (ESV)

We see from these verses that the Spirit baptizes us into the body of Christ, creating a union with Christ. (Verse 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.) This is the meaning of our text “baptized into Christ”. Now this union with Christ make us participates in Christ death and resurrection and all that that means. Baptized into Christ means you were baptized into his death. As Christ dead to sin, you too dead to sin. As Christ was raise to life, you too are raised to newness of life. 

Paul is speaking of our being baptized with the Spirit and into Christ’s body.  Paul is not speaking of water baptism at all, this is something that God does and not us. 

As a side note: I am not minimizing the command to be water baptized, but only arguing that Romans 6:3-4 is in reference to baptism by the Spirit and not merely water baptism. Water baptism certainly does symbolize this work of the Spirit, but water baptism does not unite us to Christ or make us alive in Christ, unless we are will to accept baptismal regeneration, which I do not.

So it is by the baptism of the Spirit we are united with Christ, in fact, in 

Romans 8:9–11

[9] You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. [10] But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. [11] If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. (ESV)

Here, Paul makes in plain that having the Spirit in us is the same thing as having Christ in us, “the Spirit of Christ” in us. This baptism is a uniting us in Christ by the Spirit, taking many sinners and uniting us into one body in Christ, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.Ephesians 5:27

 (ESV) Galatians 3:27

[27] For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (ESV)

And being united with Christ by the Spirit we are what he is. 

Not as though we become God, but rather:

  • we are crucified with Christ (Ver. 6, Gal. 2:20)
  • we died with Christ (ver. 5)
  • we are buried with Christ (Ver. 4, Col. 2:12)
  • we are raised with Christ (Ver. 4, 5; Col. 2:12, Eph. 2:6)   

So let’s take a look at all of these from Romans 6: 1-11 and see how Paul applies each to our being dead to sin and live unto God.

First, we are crucified with Christ: 

Romans 6:6 and pair that with Gal. 2:20 for even more light. 

[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. (ESV)

Galatians 2:20

[20] I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (ESV)

Now we all know that none of us have actually been crucified, not one of us has been nailed to a tree. But God made it so that when Jesus Christ was crucified for us, we were being crucified with him, by our union with him. And it says in order that the body of sin might brought to nothing, for the purpose of freeing us from sin. And being freedom from sin we are able to do righteousness, by Christ who lives in me. 

Two, we died with Christ:  

Romans 6:5–11

[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. (ESV)

We find here that when Christ was crucified, we who were “chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4), were crucified with him. Be crucified we died with Christ. It is at this point at which we became “dead to sin”. Ver. 10 “for the death he died he died to sin”; therefore we died to sin in him. It is objective not subjective, as Paul writes “so you also must consider yourselves dead to sin”. Why? Because Christ died to sin and so we did too in Him. 

Three, we are buried with Him, 

Romans 6:4

[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. (ESV)

Colossians 2:11–12

[11] In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, [12] having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. (ESV)

Here Paul is teaching that just as Jesus Christ was buried we too were buried by the baptism and union through the Spirit. In order that we may partake in his resurrection. Also when Paul is writing about the circumcision of Christ, we find in Romans 2:29 that this is done by the Spirit, the same Sprit that unites us to Christ that results in “putting off the body of the flesh” so that we can walk in the Spirit and not according to the flesh with its evil passions and desires. 

Four, we were raised with Christ.  We seen this in the verses just quoted above. “In which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raise him from the dead” Col 2:12.  Also look at 

Ephesians 1:19–20

[19] and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might [20] that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, (ESV)

It is by the resurrection of Christ that we are made alive to faith in Jesus Christ. It is by His resurrection that life in Christ actually comes to us. 

Notice to the two-fold meaning of being united in a resurrection like his. The first is that being born of the Spirit or as it is put in 

Ephesians 2:4–5

[4] But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, [5] even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— (ESV) or 

Galatians 4:4–7

[4] But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, [5] to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. [6] And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” [7] So you are no longer a slave (that’s a slave to sin) , but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (ESV)

The second application of our been raised with Christ is, just as he was raise bodily our bodies will be raise from the grave: 

1 Corinthians 15:50–57

[50] I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. [51] Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. [53] For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. [54] When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

[55] “O death, where is your victory?

O death, where is your sting?”

[56] The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. [57] But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV)

It must be understood that if Jesus Christ was not raise from the dead none of what I am teaching today is true. And you are still in your sins. Christ’s resurrection is the key to eternal life.  

The whole plan of salvation is based upon our union in Christ. From eternity past all the way through to our actually being born of the Spirit and united with Christ in our earthly life-time, to our being resurrection from the dead, and enjoying our inheritance in the new heavens and new earth. All is based on our union with Christ. 

Our union with Christ gives us “all things that pertain to live and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).  Because Christ lives in us we are free for sins reign in our bodies and sin will not have dominion of us. 

Romans 6:12–14

[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. (ESV)

Lord willing we will continue this study of how to put to death the deeds of the body by following the apostles teaching and exhortation in Romans 6:12-23

Published by abiasaphilus

A Christian who takes faith in Jesus Christ seriously. It's a lifestyle!! I am a member of Gold Church, we are Baptist and use the Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 as our confession of faith.

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