by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 2 Study # 1 September 26, 2006 Lincolnton, N.C.
8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
1901 ASV Translation:
8 But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him;
9 knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death no more hath dominion over him.
10 For the death that he died, he died unto sin once: but the life that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
I. Paul's "Death With Christ" Thesis.
A. Is addressed with six uses of the verb "to die" in Romans 6:2, 7, 9, 10 (twice).
B. Is supposed to be a real foundation for ceasing to sin: 6:2.
C. Is rooted in a real, but non-physical, realm wherein the Holy Spirit has baptized us into the Body of Christ (i.e., "into Christ") and has given us "abilities" (charismata) that are also real, but, for the greater part, function in the non-material realms (i.e., apostles, prophets, evangelists, and teaching pastors -- these all deal with people's "minds", not their bodies).
D. Is fundamentally associated with the "Spirit's" dominion over the flesh [Note Romans 8:13].
E. Is lockedinto Paul's doctrine of justification (6:7) in which the primary issue has to do with attitudes of the heart and mind. "Sin" is not about genes and hormones; it is about the dominion of the body over the whole person so that genes and hormones and headaches and PMS and lack of sleep, etc., etc. are "excuses" to permit evil treatment of others. But, though it is about the dominion of the body over the whole person, there is no child of Adam who can escape that dominion. It is only by "justification" that a person can be transferred from his "in Adam" state to an "in Christ" state wherein the Spirit of Christ pervasively indwells the physical body to give release from the tyranny of the body. So, it is only by the Spirit that we live. Justification is the doctrine by which we understand the love of God and receive the Spirit of God so that we may love Him in return.
II. Paul's "Life With Christ" Thesis.
A. Is addressed with four uses of the verb "to live" and one use of the verb "to live together with" in Romans 6:2, 8, 10, 11, and 13.
B. Is the heart of the antithesis of the death that sin produces.
C. Is absolutely tied to the issue of "we believe".
1. Paul's only reference to the verb he uses to identify "living" before we get to chapter six is 1:17 where the quote from Habakkuk 2:4 is given: "The just by faith shall live."
2. The promise has always been "eternal life" ("This is the promise that He promised us: eternal life" -- 1 John 2:25) and, as a promise, it is not fully experienced until the day it is ultimately fulfilled (Hebrews 11:13 -- "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them and embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.") We, Paul claims, live in hope, but hope that is seen is not hope: Romans 8:24.
3. The "believing", however, has a significant impact upon our experience that leads us into the experience of "Life" inasmuch as "Life" is the experience of "peace", "rest", "contentment", "joy", etc., for all of these things hang upon what is "believed". So, though there are many aspects of "Life" that are yet future and dependent upon certain future contingencies (the elimination of the "world", the "flesh", and the "devil", there is "Life" to be had in this present time. All of "sin" is the eruption of aggression out of the absence of peace, and "faith" can address that problem significantly.
4. The "bottom line" is, however, the issue of just what does "believe" actually mean and what actually happens when a person "believes".
a. In the overlap of realms, it is not difficult to "see" what happens. If a person has the "faith" to have a lame limb made whole, the lame limb is made whole. If a person has the "faith" to move a mountain, the mountain moves.
b. But in the exclusivity of the unseen realm, it is difficult to "see" if one has "believed" unto the promised result. This is the reason that many are the people who wonder if they are "saved" because the dominion of sin is not broken in their lives to the degree that they "expect" it to be.
1) One of the "expectation" issues is tied to the degree of sensitivity (that a person possesses) to the ability to identify sin. If a person is significantly insensitive, he will seldom see his own behavior as "not measuring up" (though this is often accompanied by the clear-eyed ability to see how others do not "measure up"). But, on the other hand, if a person is significantly sensitive, he will seldom see his own behavior as "measuring up" because he will simply assume that there was something corrupt in it. Thus, the insensitive think they are saved, but what they really are is "self-righteous" and the sensitive think they are lost, but what they really are is "despairing".
2) Another of the "expectation" issues is tied to the religious and cultural setting by which people determine what "ought" to be. If what "ought to be" (Christians "ought" not to read fiction because it is inherently "untruthful"), folks tend to glide along unperturbed; but if there are a lot of "fiction readers" out there, there is a lot of perturbation involved.
c. There are some characteristics to "faith" that cannot be relegated to the unseen.
1) When God promises that the "peace of God shall keep your hearts and minds", is this not a discernible issue? Does anyone not know when they are "at peace" or "not at peace"?
2) When God promises that His Spirit will bear witness with our spirit that we are His children, is this not a discernible issue? If a person does not have any confidence that he is a child of God, does that not havetomean that God's Spirit is either not "bearing witness", or that the issue is a bit more complicated than the "appearance" of the meaning of the promise?
3) At stake here is this reality: God promised that Hewouldproduce the expected result when genuine faith is involved (Luke 17:6; Matthew 17:20). The only "conclusion" that we can draw from that is that if the expected result does not come, the "faith" was not "faith". This, at least, gives us something upon which to develop a concept of legitimate faith. But, this is not sufficient in itself. Those on the road to Emmaus said "...we hoped it had been He Who should have redeemed Israel...", but their present experience of sadness and defeat seemed to argue that their expectation had been denied...thus indicating a lack of "real" faith. Jesus, however, on that occasion answered our dilemma with His words, "O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken." In other words, "faith" needs to have a comprehensive foundation in order to operate properly. The "problem" grows when the "expected result" is one that continues over time rather than being a one-time event. When a person needs to stop being a glutton, the Spirit has to provide continuous input; when a person needs a broken bone "healed", the Spirit simply has to do one thing.