Throne of Grace
Romans 6:3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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. 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. 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.
In the life of every believer there are some gospel truths that are often overlooked. Some of the aspects of Christ's redemptive work on our behalf just don't come to the front of our mind often enough. True in my own life and perhaps in yours as well is that this applies quite often to our union with Christ. Perhaps this is the cause of so much of the grief in the life of a disciple of Jesus. Because we don't realize the extent of who we are and Whose we are, because we forget that we do identify more with Him than we can with our old selves. So, we fall back into old patterns and habits of sin. This leads to regret and discouragement and probably some half-hearted feeble attempt to confess and repent and fight the sin but seemingly inevitable is another failure.
One of those rich truths that we can draw our strength from is in Romans 6:1-14. Paul makes a compelling case that our union with Christ, he uses the words “baptism into his death” has the ultimate purpose of creating the reality where we can “walk in newness of life”. This is of course brought to you not only by Jesus’ death but also by his resurrection which is promised for us ultimately and completely at His return. Like an afternoon nap in a hammock on a beautiful summer day we ought to be fully resting in this reality. The truth of being united to Christ in his death and in his resurrection ought to be something that is wrapped around us every moment of every day.
Paul's exhortation in verse twelve to stop showing up for royal duty for sin is followed by an equally powerful exhortation in verse thirteen to make sure that we do show up for Royal Court duty for the King of Righteousness, Jesus himself. From these two perspectives we see both sides of the put off and put on work of being conformed to His image. Interestingly, it is as if Paul realizes that his instructions must flow out of a right understanding of the gospel. He is telling us that any right gospel action must first be formed in the foundation of right gospel doctrine. May the Lord grant we remember that as we navigate the temptations and trials of life.
And yet, there's even more wonderful and amazing news. Paul says in verse 14 “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”
As anyone who's ever tried to keep the law will confess, if they are honest, is that they stand condemned by that law. Every single attempt to fulfill God's law apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ and union with him will end in failure. Without oneness with Jesus it is genuinely impossible. Under law is the realm where sin has dominion, the place where a person has not been united to Christ in his death and in his resurrection.
But the realm, or the Kingdom of grace has an entirely different outlook. Grace is the ruling and prevailing reality that replaces the condemnation that comes from failure. Grace is the power to succeed, not because of one's own efforts, but entirely owing to the success of Christ. He lived his human life completely fulfilling every minute detail of the law of God. Because of his redemptive work we get to live in the realm where grace has become the law of the land. We get grace benefits. No longer stuck in our sin and even when we do revert to our old habits, the grace of Christ is there to save the day. Our standing with Him and in Him alerts us when we have gone astray but also gives us the ability, the power to get back on the right path. And of course that right path is resting entirely in the person and work of Jesus Christ for salvation from sin. That salvation, so much more than a one-time event, is the ongoing reality based on who we are which has more to do with Who we belong to than anything about us as individuals. Resting fully in Christ and His good news is the key to being present for duty at the court of the King of Righteousness. My prayer for you today is that you are truly resting in Christ alone.
Grace & Rest,