Calvary Road Baptist Church

“HE THAT IS DEAD”

Romans 6.6-7 

Here at Calvary Road Baptist Church, we put into practice the commandment of our Lord Jesus Christ to preach the Gospel to every creature, to tell a lost and dying world about the salvation which is only in Jesus Christ. We understand as we tell folks about the love of God in Christ Jesus, that this life which God offers through faith in Christ is a life of deliverance. When a person admits his sinfulness before God and his inability to save himself and commits to Jesus Christ, the safekeeping of his soul, God delivers that person from the penalty of sin (he won’t go to Hell when he dies), God delivers him from the power of sin (he lives a life of increasing victory over sin), and He promises to someday deliver him from the presence of sin (by taking him to heaven when he dies or in the Rapture, whichever occurs first). We take God’s Word for it that the past is settled and we won’t go to Hell when we die. And we take God’s Word for it that the future will be taken care of and we will go to heaven. But the present, the now time for the believer, is often quite difficult and challenging for us. You see, in the now time we read in the Bible that God has given us deliverance from the power of sin in our lives, but it sure doesn’t feel that way sometimes.

In Romans chapter 6 we are being told by the Apostle Paul that believers, people who have received Christ as their Savior the Bible way, already have victory over sin. Here’s how Paul puts it: We know that the believer is dead to sin and can no longer live after Christ as he did before Christ came into his life because of the remarkably effective picture of salvation that baptism presents to us. Baptism, immersion in water for a person who has placed his faith in Christ, is God’s way of showing how the old life has ended and the new life has begun. The believer is submerged into water, showing his identification with Christ’s burial, raised up out of the water to show that he identifies with Christ’s resurrection to walk in newness of life. That’s what we learned last week in Romans 6.1-5.

But there is another reason why we know that we who have trusted Christ must live changed lives, must live lives that show that we are dead unto sin. That second reason is our belief. In Romans 6.6-7 we are told something that is totally beyond verification without the help of God’s Word. From our text for today we understand that it is impossible for the truly justified person to continue in sin because of what we believe.

Please turn to those two verses and stand when you get there, won’t you please, for the reading of that portion of God’s Word? 

6  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

7  For he that is dead is freed from sin. 

This is what we are to believe about the believer’s relationship to sin: 

First, THIS IS WHAT WE ARE TO BELIEVE ABOUT THE PAST 

“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him.” 

There are two concepts that we are to believe, as Christians:

First, there is the concept of “our old man.” What is “our old man”? If you pick up older Bible commentaries, you will see tremendously complicated discussions about the meaning of this phrase. But the Bible student simply cannot go wrong with the attitude about the Bible that “whatever is the simplest interpretation that satisfactorily explains all the facts is probably the correct interpretation.” I would suggest that you chuck all of the complicated nonsense about the two natures struggling for dominance in the fight to determine whether to do right or to commit sin. Just keep in mind two things: First, this word for “old” does not refer to that which is chronologically old. It refers to something that is considered “old” not because it’s been around for a long time, but because it has been so completely used up that it is no longer useful. Second, keep in mind that Paul has, for more than a chapter, been writing about two coexisting realms, one having Adam as its head and dominated by sin, and the other having Christ as its head and dominated by grace. With that in mind “our old man” can only be a description of the believer before he became a believer, the believer when he was a Hell-bound member of Adam’s race, the believer before he found that sweet salvation and comfort and joy that is found only as a new man in Jesus Christ.

Then, there is the concept of our co-crucifixion. Do you see the phrase, in verse 6, “is crucified with”? That phrase translates a single Greek word, which appears only one other place in the Bible. By using this important word, Paul is reminding us of a vital truth. We know that Jesus Christ was our perfect sin sacrifice, dying on Calvary’s cruel cross, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God. But we must also keep in mind that, so far as God is concerned, Christ so completely identified Himself with us when He took upon Himself our sins and carried them to the cross when the Lord Jesus Christ died we died with Him. So far as God’s reckoning and God’s accounting is concerned, you and I who are trusting Jesus Christ died with Jesus Christ on the cross. How do we know that? We were crucified with Him. And when people are crucified they die. That is what Paul meant in Galatians 2.20, where he wrote 

“I am crucified with Christ.” 

What I believe about the past, then, is this: Sometime between March 30th and April 1st, 1974, a sinful young man named John Waldrip was crucified with Jesus Christ. 

Next, THIS IS WHAT WE ARE TO BELIEVE ABOUT THE PURPOSE 

That is, why was it that God chose to crucify the man I used to be, the man you used to be if you are a Christian, with Christ? There was a reason. Here it is:

First, so “that the body of sin might be destroyed.” Realize that Paul says what he means and means what he says. When he uses the word “body,” he is referring to body, either literally or figuratively. In this case, he is referring to the human body of the believer and those things related directly to that body, such as personality and behavior patterns imprinted by repetition upon your nervous system. The reason he refers to it as the “body of sin” is that your body is where sin is committed. It is the vehicle in which transgressions are enacted. The purpose that lay back of our crucifixion with Christ was the destruction of the “body of sin.” Now for the tricky part. What in the world does Paul mean when he uses the word “destroyed”? I ask because the range of meanings for this particular word in the New Testament runs all the way from complete annihilation of a thing to simply neutralizing something’s effect without actually eliminating it.

Were we crucified with Christ so that the “body of sin” might be annihilated, wiped out? Or, were we crucified with Christ so that the “body of sin” might have no more effect on our lives? Or is the meaning something in between those two extremes? The Bible teaches that when a sinner commits his life to Christ, he is redeemed, but not completely. The believer, you see, is someone who is between eras. He has a redeemed soul and a redeemed spirit, but he does not yet have a redeemed body. This side of heaven, Christians are living in tension with a new nature and a new life, but with an old body that is unredeemed and an old personality that can only be gradually changed over the passing of time. I am of the opinion, therefore, that the reason we were crucified with Christ was not to annihilate “our old man” (since I still have my body), but to neutralize its effect on my new life in Christ.

But that’s not all. We were also crucified with Christ “that henceforth we should not serve sin.” Understand that this second purpose could not be fulfilled until the first purpose was fulfilled. It is not possible that we not serve sin unless first the “body of sin be destroyed.” Since it has been “destroyed,” that is, since it has been neutralized, I am no longer a slave to sin. Here is where faith is required and required in abundance. God’s Word tells you that because you were crucified with Christ, you no longer live a life which is dictated by the demands and the desires of your fleshly lusts and appetites. You are no longer a slave to sin. But your “body of sin” doesn’t buy that and it never will, being only capable of feelings to drive its impulses rather than relying on spiritual facts.

From your selfish personality wanting what it wants, no matter who is hurt in the process, all the way down to the baser desires of the physical body, you receive constant messages from your “body of sin.” “Give me what I want and give it to me now!” Before you were saved, you had no choice but to give in. Now that you are saved you do have a choice. You can either believe what God says, or you can believe what your “body of sin” screams at you and demands from you. To the believer who used to be a whore monger, the choice is this: His body and personality scream out, “I want a woman and I want one now. I don’t care who she is or what she is so long as my sexual appetite is gratified.” But the Bible teaches that your body is no longer in control. Your body no longer dictates the terms. You don’t have to do wrong. To the believer who used to be a drunk the cry of his personality and body is “Give me something, anything, to drink.” But God’s Word says that such who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. You don’t have to drink that devil’s brew. After all, no one ever died from not taking a drink of booze.

To the sluggard who used to be a complete sloth, always tired, always procrastinating, never diligent, the body only moans. Too much effort required to cry out. But the sluggard’s whole being seems to say, “Put it off till tomorrow. It can wait. Work for that amount of money? You gotta be crazy. I’ll never stoop that low.” But the Bible says that we are to redeem the time. The Bible tells us we are to be diligent. The Bible says that in all labor there is profit. The Bible says that if a man doesn’t work, he shouldn’t eat. The believer who used to be a sluggard does have a choice.

Oh, by the way. Verse 6 doesn’t just indicate that we have a choice. It also indicates what our decision will be. Not that you can’t sin as a believer. The good Lord knows we can and do commit sins. But after having been crucified with Christ, we are no longer slaves to sin. Instead of doing wrong and occasionally doing right, the believer is one who does right and occasionally does wrong. And how do we know that such is the case? That was the whole reason behind being crucified with Christ. For what purpose were we crucified with Christ, was the body of sin destroyed, so that henceforth we should not serve sin if that’s not what happened?    Christ did not fail. God did not make a mistake. We are not slaves to sin any longer who know Jesus Christ as Savior. And our behavior so testifies. 

THIS FINAL POINT EXPLAINS WHY. WHAT WE ARE TO BELIEVE ABOUT THE PRINCIPLE 

“For he that is dead is freed from sin.” 

Let me ask you a question. How many of you plan on making any car payments after you die? How many of you plan on paying your phone bill after you die? How many of you will pay the water bill after you die? And if you are dead, can they come after you to collect? No way.

When we came into this world as the descendants of Adam, we came into this world as sinners. And because we came in as sinners we sinned. And for our sin, we became obligated to God to make things right, to make restitution, to pay Him back for having willfully and wickedly lived our lives alienated from God.

Additionally, by our very nature, we were slaves to sin, and we sinned without interruption. But something happened. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He paid our sin debt to God for us. Beyond that, being dead to sin, sin no longer has a claim on us.

When my mom died, she had an outstanding balance on a credit card. Did she ever pay off that balance? No. However, the credit card collectors did badger me to pay off my mom’s credit card debt. Sorry, no way. In like manner, when you trusted Christ you died with Christ and your obligation to sin ended. However, just like collectors trying to persuade you to pay someone else’s debt, you will be put upon to commit sins you do not have to commit. Why not? You were crucified with Christ.

It is this principle, the principle that he that is dead is freed from sin, which guided God’s actions in accounting us to be on that cross with Christ. 

We human beings are composed of that which is material and immaterial. Just exactly where the dividing line between the material and the immaterial is, we do not know with anything like perfection. Some people refer to it as the physical and the spiritual. I prefer to refer to it as that which is redeemed now and that which will be redeemed later, that which is changed when you trust Christ and that which will be changed when we are prepared for heaven.

That part of us which has not yet been radically and dramatically altered by God, I believe, is “the body of sin.” That is the part of us which remains from our old life before Christ, “our old man” which was crucified with Him. That is also the part of us which causes us most of our problems. And here is why we have the problems that we do. As we were totally controlled by that part of us before we trusted Christ, we tend to still pay attention to that part of us after we’ve trusted Christ. We have been habituated in that way.

But it’s a terrible thing when, by listening to “the body of sin,” we ignore the clear declaration of God’s Word. And why do we do it? We do it because we are used to gathering reliable information through this “body of sin.” Indeed, all of our five sense are used by this “body of sin,” so we’ve come to rely on this “body of sin” to take care of us. As I said, it is a habit we have grown accustomed to.

Folks, that’s all fine and good, except in spiritual matters. When it comes to right and wrong, spiritual and carnal, God’s will and man’s will, moral and immoral, we simply must ignore the cravings of our body, of our personality, of our ego, of our self esteem, of our personal aspirations and desires, in favor of the infallible Word of God. And the only way we can live that way is to live by faith, trusting God to be telling us the truth. Trusting God so much that we are willing to accept that our five senses, our bodies, our brains, our hearts, are lying whenever they disagree with God. And this we do more and more if we’re saved.

What do you do, Christian? Do you live a life that shows you have been set free from slavery to sin? So you do right and occasionally do wrong, or do you do wrong and occasionally do right? Perhaps you need to start choosing to believe God. Or perhaps you need to be saved.

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org