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FROM THE PASTOR'S STUDY

Topic: Message Outlines: Chapter 6

Romans 6:1-7 (6)

by Darrel Cline
(darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)

Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 1 Study # 6
August 22, 2006
Lincolnton, N.C.

(244)

Thesis:The quality of my life is directly tied to my resurrection with Christ.

Introduction:We have been wrestling with Paul's argument in Romans 6:1-14. In this text he claims that we are so united with Christ that we cannot sin. His thesis is established by his question: How can one who has died to Sin live any longer in it? Our "wrestling" occurs because it is an indisputable fact of our current experience that we not only can sin, we do -- more or less regularly. So, in our studies thus far we have attempted to clarify some of the issues that are involved. The first of those issues is the nature of the "mechanism" that so unites us with Christ that we are rendered incapable of sinning. Paul calls it "baptism", but he does not mean "water" baptism, nor does he mean the "baptism of Christ" which He promised in Acts 1 -- the gift of the Holy Spirit. Instead, he means that "baptism" which is effected by the Holy Spirit Who, by it, places us into Christ so that we become a part of His body so that we are now so united to Him that He is the Head and we are the members of One Body that is completely involved in the accomplishment of the will of the Father. This issue does not answer all of the questions, but it does, at least, begin to give us a basis for understanding his argument. Obviously, if you and I are real members in a real Body that has Christ as its "Head", we cannot be involved in activities in which that Body would not engage.

The next issue that we tackled was the question: Just how "real" is both the "Body" and our "membership" in it? We saw that at least part of the answer to that question is that the "reality" exists in the "reckoning of God". And, since the God of Abraham is One Whose "reckoning" is "big picture" and not "present details", it is His characteristic to address the big picture to the present historical setting so that He often declares what "is not" as though it "is" because He declares the final reality while the current developing issues are dominant in the minds of those who are "in process". Thus, for those "in process" it often looks like God is lying -- declaring something to "be" when, in the present historical setting, it "is not." The net result of this is this: those who reject His declarations of what "is" when their experience says it "is not" get all balled up in "doing sins" (because "faith" drives behavior) while those who accept His declarations as the "real" truth find themselves operating in godly and righteous ways (because "faith" drives behavior).

This raises this question:Is it all just a "mind game" wherein the "power of positive thinking" is at the root of a kind of "mind over matter" reality? And the answer is a qualified "No". To understand this we turn again to Paul's argument as it unfolds in Romans 6:4. There he claims that our "life" contains the potential of "newness" in direct relation to our participation in the resurrection of Christ. Formerly, he argued that we "cannot sin" because we are "dead" in Christ to Sin. Now, he argues that we are capable of "new life" (i.e., life out from under the bondage to Sin) because we are "raised in Christ". How so?


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