by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 1 Study # 10 September 19, 2006 Lincolnton, N.C.
(252)Thesis:Justification begins to set us free.
Introduction:In our studies thus far we have been working out the details of Paul's argument that there is something radically wrong with the notion that the grace of God sets us free to sin with impunity, or worse -- to sin and to think that we are making more of that grace by our sin.
In our studies we have looked intensively at Paul's concept of "compelling unity". However we are united with Adam, we both sin and die. And, by the same token, however we are united with Christ, we produce righteousness and live. This "compelling unity" is the heart of Romans 5:12 - 6:14.
Now, this evening we are going to look into Romans 6:7. This verse adds one more "brick" to the "wall of our understanding" so that we may actually find the freedom of which he wrote.
I. Paul's Claim.
A. Paul began his response to the flawed reasoning of those who would distort the Gospel in 6:2 by making the claim that there is an inherent flaw in thinking that one can sin who has died to sin.
B. Paul's argument in 6:6-7 is that our "death to sin" has broken our bondage to sin.
1. This, in one sense, is not a "progression of thought" in that it is a repetition of his initial thesis.
2. But, 6:7 is the first "return" to a potent, former, thesis since 5:9.
a. Paul used the word translated "freed" eleven times in Romans 1-5.
1) The translation is suspect: out of 40 uses in the New Testament, 38 use the word "justify" in one form or another and 1 uses the words "be righteous". This is the only time it is translated "freed".
2) The question is whether Paul intended the concept of "freed", or whether he wished to address "freedom" from a "mechanism" point of view.
b. Being "justified from sin", though resulting in a certain type of "freedom from sin", is not the same thing as being "freed from sin".
1) "Justification from sin" has a specific set of meanings.
a) First, it means that the Judge of Heaven has rendered a judgment regarding the applicability of "Law" to an individual's particular case.
i. That judgment is that the issues with which "Law" is concerned were sufficiently and effectively addressed by Jesus the Christ as He lived under its domain and died under its decrees.
ii. That judgment is that the "Law" has no jurisdiction over the individual in question because he has been removed from the domain of Law by being placed into Christ Who, having lived under the Law and having died to the Law, was removed by resurrection from that domain.
iii. This means that a child of God can "sin with impunity" in the narrow sense of being able to sin without the specter of Hell hanging over his head.
b) Second, it means that the Judge of Heaven has established the "justified" in a domain wherein "sin" is addressed by means other than "Law" -- i.e., legal means.
i. In this new domain, the Father flatly refuses to nullify the actions of Jesus simply because the fruit of those actions have not yet come to fulness of maturity in Time (Romans 4:8). [To "impute sin" means to put a person under the dominion of the Law.]
ii. In this new domain, the Father deals with the children's sins in terms of child-training discipline (Hebrews 12:5-11).
iii. This means that a child of God cannot really "sin with impunity" because "legal" consequences are not the only kind there are.
2) Therefore "justification from sin" means that Paul is pulling upon the contribution that "justification" makes to the issue of whether we continue in sin or not.
3. This means, then, that Paul is dealing with a mechanism by which we discover the freedom we have to not sin.
a. In this "mechanism", Paul is blending the objective and the subjective.
1) The objective reality is that the one who has died has been removed from the domain of possible action (one cannot "sin" if he cannot "act").
2) The subjective reality is that the death one dies "in Christ" is entirely affected by the degree to which he relies upon it.
a) There is an "in Adam" realm that consists of a material universe and a physical life.
b) There is an "in Christ" realm that consists of a non-material universe and a spiritual life.
c) There is an overlapping of the realms wherein the "life" is directly affected by what is "believed".
b. In this "mechanism", Paul is establishing Truth that is to be "believed" because of the impact "believing" has.
1) Without a doubt, the most potent issue in "sinning" is the attitude of the mind.
a) There is the potency of the attitude of the mind toward what actually leads to life.
b) There is the potency of the attitude of the mind toward God as either the Giver of Life or the Opponent to Life.
2) In these potent issues, the most important of all is that attitude that is taken toward God.
a) It is precisely here that "justification" comes into play because it "colors" the perception of God with the overtones of "love", not opposition [see Romans 5:8-10].
b) And it is precisely here that the potency of dominion by sin is broken: no one seeks to hurt one who is beloved.
C. Paul's argument in summary.
1. The death we died with Jesus absolutely removed us from the domain of Law.
2. The removal of us from the domain of Law was a removal from any and every reaction to sin by God in terms of Adversarial Justice.
3. The elimination of adversarial justice only leaves "friendly mercy" as the outworking of genuine love.
4. Thus, as we grasp the reality of love's friendly mercy, the power sin holds over us dissipates because it rests upon the attitude of adversarial justice.