Dear CSOPC brothers and sisters,
- BIBLE STUDY TONIGHT at the VanTubergens at 7:00PM. Their address is 8803 Catawissa Drive, Houston, 77095.
- Lord’s Supper and the Deacon’s Offering this Sunday
- Fellowship Meal this Sunday after worship – please bring your favorite Thanksgiving dish to share!
- BE ON THE lookout for our next men’s and women’s gatherings in the coming weeks!
- Today’s devotion (attached) is a reflection from Romans 6 on our dying and rising with Christ.
From the Pastor’s Desk
“Dying and Rising with Christ”
Rom 6:5, “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.”
After Paul expounds the doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Romans 3-5, he deals with an objection that he knows is coming: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound” (6:1)? If we are saved by grace alone and not of our works – and if where sin abounds grace abounds all the more, so the objection goes, should we not just go on sinning so that we might experience more grace? Paul cannot but react in the strongest language against such a thought: “By no means” (v. 2a)!! May it never be! Do not even entertain the thought!! And in the remainder of chapter 6 Paul will unfold the theological foundation of his response. In other words, he will explain why it is an impossibility for Christians to continue in sin.
How does Paul respond to the hypothetical objection of v. 1? The short answer is that the Christian has died and has risen with Christ. The Christian has been united to Christ by faith in his (Christ’s) death and resurrection. Paul puts it this way: “How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death … 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 … Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him” (6:2-3, 5, 8). There are a few things to note from these verses?
First, who is the ‘we’ to whom Paul refers throughout the chapter? In context the ‘we’ are those united to Christ by faith. The ‘we’ are those no longer ‘in Adam,’ but those who are ‘in Christ.’ In Rom 5:12-21, Paul unfolds the theme of federal, covenantal union. Every person who has walked this earth is either ‘in Adam’ or ‘in Christ.’ Those in Adam are bound for death while those in Christ by faith are bound for life. Thus, the referent – the ‘we’ – throughout chapter 6 are those who are in faith-union with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Second, we note in v. 5 how Paul characterizes the believer’s union with Christ: “united with [Christ] in a death like his … united with [Christ] in a resurrection like his.” That is, Christians have been united to Christ in his death and resurrection. The death that Christ died is our death; and his resurrection to new life is our resurrection to new life. Just as sin has no more claim on the Lord Jesus, so it has no more claim on us. And just as Christ has passed into resurrection life in the Spirit, so we enjoy resurrection life in the Spirit. Brothers and sisters, this is the reality of the Christian. This is an objective fact for the Christian. This is who the Christian is! This is why it is an utter impossibility for the Christian to walk in sin. For the Christian is no longer ‘dead in sin’; rather we have ‘died to sin’ in Christ. Moreover, the life we live is a life empowered, governed, and directed by the Holy Spirit. We have been ‘set free from sin’ so that we might ‘live to God’ (vv. 7, 10).
Finally, the reality of our dying and rising with Christ is the foundation for Paul’s imperatives in vv. 12-13. Because of who we are objectively in Christ – because we have died and have risen once and for all with Christ … we are not to let sin reign in our mortal body! Dear friends, may we rejoice in who are in Christ! May we rest in our union with Christ! We have died to sin. Sin no longer reigns in our heart! Therefore, may we not let sin reign in our mortal bodies! May we strive in the power of the Spirt to walk in newness of life!