AUSTRALIAN PRESBYTERIAN BIBLE CHURCH
Sympathy, Sacrifice, Strength and Spirit
and the Scuttling of Sin’s Sovereignty
Romans 6 continued –
September 12, 2004
Major exposition has been given: today we survey and then complete.
1. THE ANTI-SIN CRUSADE Romans 6:1-16
Christianity means many things, but one of them is this:
· It is a CRUSADE AGAINST SIN with the power to beat it.
· It is a crusade for holiness with God, with grace to secure it.
¨ It grapples with the greatness of man’s folly,
¨ incarcerates it in Christ crucified,
the human spirit
from the domineering and dictatorial role of sin, its numbing influence,
Christ being Himself torn and stricken, impact-bearer and Lord, breaking and not merely braking its dynamic.
It is He who is the guilt offering and in substitutionary role, the Redeemer of His people, rising in a profound and infinite power from the death which this deserved, covering in Himself the sin which He bore for each one who so receives Him.
As Redeemer and alive (Hebrews 7:25), He administers life, not with officious paperwork, but godly priestly labour (Hebrews 4:14-16, 6:19, 7:24-28, 8:6), always interceding for His people whom He has brought to the heavenly places (Ephesians 2). The anchor within the veil is Christ, Prince of divine glory securing and security for His ‘ships’. In holy boldness, because of this His service, those who become His people by receiving Him through faith as He is, alive from the dead, come to His presence with assurance seeking all needs for serving Him and glorifying His name. His answers are often dramatic, sometimes require much patience, but are always loving, even in reproof (cf. Hebrews 4, 5, 7, 12).
NOTHING is too hard, and in nothing is HE too hard (I Corinthians 10:13), for He even drafts the yoke to the labour as a good carpenter (Matthew 11:28-30).
2. The PRO-RIGHTEOUSNESS DYNAMIC - Romans 6:17-20
These are results, but in the process there is a permanent crucifixion with Him (Romans 6:5-6, Galatians 2:20, Colossians 2:12, Ephesians 2:13, 4:17-18), of that old nature which was so rampant in its own rights, whether in imaginary morality or images of glory, or in unvarnished and open guilt. It is the same.
The case is not advanced by pretence or pretension and in the end all must repent of sin that deserves death or merely exit from the matter altogether (Luke 13:1-3), nor does faith fail to continue to draft sin to Christ for pardon, just as it receives instructions for labour (cf. I John 1:7-2:2, with I Cor. 12:11, Ephesians 5:17 – Do not be unwise, but knowing what the will of the Lord is.
Yet what if people merely live their lives, with or without lip service to Christ (which HE HATES – Isaiah 29:13). Towers, as this last reference to the words of Christ in Luke 13 shows, can indeed fall on any who have not yet repented; for this is the scope of their sin as sinners, as people on earth (cf. Psalm 1:4-6). There is no cover for the wilfully exposed; and as for His people, their willingness to suffer for His sake, not in rampaging might of flesh but in submission to His grace and goodness, as seems best to Him, this is a pearl among stones in this earth.
Indeed to the Christians at Rome, Paul writes that they “obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.” The Spirit of Christ vitalised them (Romans 8:11,13-14). The love of God ennobled them, while as they rested in Him, He enabled them (Romans 5:5, Ephesians 3:14-21, Hebrews 4).
3. YOU CAN TAKE PAY OR A GIFT - Romans 6:18-23
Set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness, says Paul (6:18).
When your old dead nature, deformed and distorted, led you, are you not now ashamed of its work ? Paul asks (Romans 6:21). Slaves of sin you were FREE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. You were like someone with a bank account of 0 dollars and 0 cents, exactly.
Now you are FREE OF SIN! in its taint and triumph. Set free from sin’s power, pollution and precepts, you have fruit in holiness; just as before, in its service, you had fruit in what is soiled, and sealed by death!
The new fruit is spiritual, savoury, and its end and donation is eternal life. By contrast, sin pays you, and its pay cheque is skull and cross bones endorsed: DEATH. You deserve it! your old employer happily says as you wind up at the end of life, take death, eternal shame.
On the other hand, your result, fruit and end in Christ is ETERNAL LIFE; and it is GIVEN AS A GIFT (Romans 5:15, 6:23). Many cannot abide that, insisting that they are going to manage their own affairs: but if this life from God be not taken, whatever the reason, then its absence is like removing the sky for life on earth! Since this eternal life is a NECESSARY GIFT before the holy, awesome and majestic God, without which there is neither peace nor hope of it, the alternative is agonising for life, being the final solution for man without it! (Isaiah 26:1-4 with 57:19-21).
That is the other option: and outside the life of God, it means death without Him. You are made by and for God, and you cannot live without Him and His peace, mercy and meaning (Galatians 5:22-24): and after the tests are over, this shows! When you live for Him, that too shows. Truth shows, for there is no showmanship in Christianity: it is all for Christ crucified and raised (Romans 8:34), making intercession and returning (Hebrews 9:27-28); or 'no show' for man, none at all! Christ makes this clear in Luke 14:27ff.. Clarity and charity are given; cost and compassion is infinite: and eternal life is abundant in beauty and loving-kindness. His LIFE is NOW, and its results endure for ever. It extradites sin and impels through grace.