Calvary Road Baptist Church

“LIVING WITH CHRIST”

Romans 6.8-10 

In case you wandered in a bit late, welcome to the evening worship service of the Calvary Road Baptist Church. How do you like that? The name of our Church tells you something about what we believe. We are a Baptist Church. Did you know that it used to be that way with every kind of Church?

Used to be, if a person said he was a Roman Catholic you knew that he believed in Papal infallibility, the perpetual virginity of Mary, purgatory, and stood as strongly against abortion as he stood for his right to drink liquor.

Used to be, if a person said he was a Lutheran that meant he strongly identified with the beliefs and opinions that Martin Luther had regarding what the Bible taught about sin and salvation, about being born again and being baptized as an infant.

Same way with being a member of a Nazarene Church. If you were a Nazarene you believed in salvation by grace, you believed in Christian sinless perfectionism, you believed that a person could commit a sin that would result in the loss of salvation, and you believed in the second work of grace after salvation.

That’s the way things used to be. But you know the way things are now? Nowadays there are three very confusing situations: First, there are Churches that have names that give you no clue about their beliefs. What does the name “Church On The Way” mean to a non-Christian? Second, there are Churches whose names tell you what they believe, except those Churches don’t believe that anymore. And third, there are Churches who have some members whose attitude is, “I’m a so and so, but I don’t believe that way at all.” Then why be a so and so?

I happen to be a Christian who is a Baptist by conviction. Therefore, I don’t completely agree with the positions of the denominations I’ve just mentioned, but I sure do admire anyone’s willingness to say what he is and how he believes right up front.

Some would think, “Oh, pastor, we’re much too sophisticated to place much stock in different labels.” You’re more sophisticated a Christian than Martin Luther, than John Calvin than John and Charles Wesley, than George Whitefield, than Jonathan Edwards, than Charles Spurgeon. Wow. You must be sophisticated.

I’m of the opinion that this lack of willingness to be truthful in labeling issue began with the most basic of labels, that of just being a Christian. Most of you are not old enough to remember the way it used to be to say you were a Christian.

When you told folks in the old days that you were a Christian it automatically labeled you as someone who claimed Jesus Christ as your Savor, as well as being against drunkenness, against drugs, against premarital sex, against adultery, against stealing (either stealing money or stealing the boss’s time), and that you were for strong families, for law and order, for treating folks like you would want them to treat you, for going to Church on Sunday instead of going to a football game, and for children obeying their parents instead of smart-mouthing them and otherwise showing a lack of respect.

Understand folks; I’m not an old-fashioned knee-jerk reactionary who wants to take America back one hundred years into the past. There are, however, certain virtues that some who refer to themselves as Christians have abandoned over the years. And one of these is what I call truth in labeling. I notice that so many these days do not refer to themselves as Christians but as Christ followers. Okay, but did not a number of those who followed Christ for a while stop following Him, John 6.66? 

“From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” 

If the Bible is the Word of God, and it is, then something ought to be expected from a person who says he is a Christian, if he is a Christian. Truth in labeling. That is to say, if you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, you cannot live your life after committing to Christ the way you did before committing to Christ.

Throughout the sixth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans, we have seen this truth born out. First, by the baptism, a genuine believer in Jesus Christ submits to after his salvation experience. Second, by the severance of his old connection to sin at the time of his salvation experience. And today we come to the third attestation of this great truth.

Friend, Jesus Christ simply can’t mean much to you if you claim to know Him but your life remains unchanged by Him. In Romans 6.8-10 Paul shows his readers how, for the believer in Jesus Christ, things must be different, because when you are a Christian, you live His life with Him: 

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. 

Notice what Christ’s saving work of dying a substitutionary death on Calvary’s cross, being buried in a rich man’s tomb, and rising in great glory on the third day, did for those of us who have received Him as our Savior: 

First, HIS SAVING WORK OPPORTUNED OUR LIFE 

First, in verse 8, I want you to take note of our past: 

“Now if we be dead with Christ.” 

I say “take note of our past” intentionally, since Paul specifically states here something that he has mentioned again and again in Romans chapters 5 and 6. I speak, of course, of our identification with Jesus Christ in His death for us. Remember, when the Lord Jesus went to Mount Calvary, He went as our sin-bearer, just as it was pictured in the Law of Moses. The Just to die for the unjust, suffering the penalty for our sins for us. So perfect was the identification that, so far as God’s reckoning is concerned, when Jesus Christ died on Calvary’s cross, we died. As Paul wrote in Galatians 2.20, 

“I am crucified with Christ.” 

So, Jesus Christ’s past has quite effectively become our past.

Next, take note of our present, and also our future anticipation: 

“Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.” 

It is no great leap of faith for the genuine believer to accept that, having died with Christ, we should also anticipate living with Christ. This is why genuine Christians everywhere are outspoken and vocal about their unwavering confidence that Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day. I know that I have a new and different life since I committed to Jesus Christ, the safekeeping of my eternal soul. It is inconceivable that He did not rise from the dead. For if He were dead still, the life which I now have and live could not possibly be explained. Truly, then, His saving work opportuned my new life as a Christian. 

Second, JESUS CHRIST’S SAVING WORK OVERCAME DEATH’S LORDSHIP 

It comes as quite a shock to Christians to think of death at one time exercising lordship over the Lord Jesus Christ. But it did. Notice the two ways in which the Lord Jesus is portrayed in Romans 6.9, and it will become quite clear, I’m sure: 

“Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.” 

In the first part of the verse, we see Christ as a vicar. What is a “vicar” but one who represents another? So, when Jesus Christ died He represented sinners. He represented you and me. He was our vicar, as in vicarious. Isaiah 53.6 informs us that “the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” He became sin for us Who knew no sin. In that sense, He was, in the truest sense of the word, our vicar. Please notice, however, that as our vicar, as our substitute, as our representative on the cross, Christ dieth for sin no more. And why not? Oh, there are many reasons why the Lord Jesus will never die again for sinners’ sins. One reason is He did what He did the right way the first time. But the reasoning Paul uses here is that after He died the one time for sin, He rose from the dead.

It is here, in the second half of the verse, where vicar is seen to be victor that we understand why He will die no more: 

“death hath no more dominion over him.” 

I have already alluded to the fact that it is hard for Christians so accept that at one-time death had dominion, literally lordship, over the Lord Jesus. But for death to have no more dominion, it must have had dominion over Him at one time. Do you follow? That was when He humbled Himself to become obedient to the death of the cross. When Jesus Christ willingly humbled Himself to bear our sins to the cross, He also submitted Himself to the lordship of death. As Romans 6.23 sums up so directly, “the wages of sin is death.” Since He became sin for us, He also suffered the consequence of our sin, which is death. But when Jesus Christ arose from the dead on the third day He arose as the great victor over death. He met death face to face, and He won. Islam, which denies the death of Christ on the cross, simply cannot accept this as true.[1] To a lost person this great reality would be met with a bored “ho-hum.” But for the child of God, shouting ground has just been reached. You see, this verse tells us that our Lord is the lord over death. My Lord is lord over death! Does that mean nothing to you now? It will when I visit you on your death bed. It will when you visit me on my death bed. It will mean something to you when your sweet Christian mother dies. It will mean something to you when your loving spouse has departed from this life. How in the world, then, can I live after Christ as I did before Christ? Before Christ death was my lord. But now my Lord Jesus Christ is lord even over death. 

Finally, HIS WORK OCCASIONED HIS LIFE 

Verse 10:

“For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.” 

Two things to point out here before I conclude:

First, let me point out the unique event of Christ’s death. Notice that verse 10 begins, “For in that He died, He died unto sin once.” This word “once” is a very important one, because of the way it is used in the New Testament about Christ’s “once for all time” offering of Himself for our sins. Turn in your Bible to Hebrews 7.27, 9.12 and 10.10: 

“Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.” 

“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” 

“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” 

Contrary to the pagan religions of the ancient world whose gods died and rose and died and rose annually, and contrary to Romanism’s notion of an unbloody sacrifice of Christ at every mass, the Bible emphatically shows that Christ shed His blood and died for sins only one time. It is for that reason that I refer to Christ’s death as a unique event, an event that will never, throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity, be repeated.

And why is the unique event of his death brought up yet again by Paul? To show that only by stepping through the doorway of his unique death could Christ embark upon His unique eternity of life: 

“But in that He liveth, He liveth unto God.” 

My friends, when Jesus Christ gave up heaven’s glory to come to this earth and live as a man in preparation for His sacrifice for our sins, He gave up a great deal. And it was only by His unique, once for all time, a sacrificial death that Christ could leave the realm of mortal flesh, the realm of unresurrected physical humanity, and fully restore what He had with God the Father before He entered the womb of that virgin named Mary. Not that our Lord did not live unto God while ministering on this earth for 33 years. But He did not live unto God like He now lives unto God, raised from the dead, victorious over sin and death, our Savior at God’s right hand on high, exalted to great glory in His resurrected body. And remember, one last time for today, that because of my identification with Christ as a Christian, and yours, that special life He now has with God affects the way I live and affects the way you live. Why? Because our lives are shared with His life. 

You can say you are a Catholic, and you can still be pro-abortion and opposed to a men-only priesthood, but you are not.

You can even say that you are a Methodist or a Nazarene, but if you don’t believe a Christian can lose his salvation you’re not embracing positions that define Methodism and the Nazarenes.

You can say you’re a Baptist and be in favor denominations controlling your local congregation and accepting as members those not baptized by immersion after conversion, but you’re not.

Or you can say you’re a Presbyterian and not believe in the reformed doctrine of predestination, but you’re not much of a Presbyterian once you have forsaken that position.

All of that is one kind of thing. But it’s another kind of thing entirely to say you’re a Christian and not believe in the importance of living a changed life. Why? Because you simply cannot live after an encounter with Christ like you did before your encounter with Christ. You simply cannot. His impact is simply too great. His power is simply too strong for that to be remotely possible.

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[1] Anis A. Shorrosh, Islam Revealed, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1988), pages 107-137.

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