Big Picture of the Bible – Lesson 4

The Resurrection Provides Proof and Power

After Christ was dead and buried He gave proof to His claims of divinity by His resurrection 3 days later. As Acts 17:31 states, “He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.

When Christ died, His followers thought it was all over and acted cowardly. They hid from others and even publicly denied that they even knew Him!

But after the risen Jesus appeared to several hundreds of witnesses, these same men boldly proclaimed the risen Christ and eventually nearly all suffered martyrs’ deaths for what they were convinced of, the risen Christ! “who [Christ], was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the deadRomans 1:4. No one will die for what they know is a lie.

The Believer Must Die WITH Christ

This is the primary purpose of the plan of redemption – that the believer dies through and with their representative, Jesus Christ. Christ’s death represents the death of the believer. Christians are thus represented in the New Testament:

  • if we died with Him we will also live with Him 2 Timothy 2:11. Notice that the Christian is one that has died WITH Christ, not for Christ, or in Christ, or because of Christ, but WITH Christ. The believer must die with Christ, because that is the only way the judicial price for sin can be paid. The entire purpose of Christ coming to earth to be the Lamb of God was so that believers could die with Him, have their sins removed, and be reconciled to a holy God. Everyone should recognize that this is indeed “good news” and be willing to accept the wonderful gift of the Lamb of God. It should also be clear why God would react with wrath toward anyone that would reject the gift of His son. Note also:
  • since you died with Christ” (Colossians 2:20; Romans 6:8).
  • you have died and your life is hidden with Christ” (Colossians 3:3).

I have been crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 5:14; Romans 6:7).

Note three things we can observe about these passages:

  1. These passages are addressed to Christians – those that are presently in Christ
  2. This terminology refers to the point in time past where one actually became a Christian
  3. The believer is represented as someone that has died with Christ

It must also be clear that believers will not have any sin forgiven unless: they have died to sin; they have died with Christ; they have been united with Christ in His death; and they have been crucified with Christ.

SO, WHAT IS THE QUESTION? Suppose that one has just heard this gospel message for the first time – that God is holy, sin separates us from Him, the price of death is on our heads to pay for sin, and that Jesus came to pay the price for us, and that by dying with Him I can have my sins removed, and be reconciled to a holy God. If you believed this good news what question would come to mind at this point? If this is the gospel message–that Christ dies for (in place of) the sinner—the believer must ask the question, “How, or when do I die with Christ?”, “How, or when does this happen for me?

At what point in my faith do I:

die to sin?
die with Christ?

When or How does God view me as:

Uniting with Christ in his death?
Being crucified with Christ?

The answers to these four questions are critical

These answers define the believer’s response to the gospel. Religious people today give many different answers to these questions.

WE MUST HAVE A BIBLE ANSWER to this crucial question and not just the opinions of man. The answer to these questions is the response to the one gospel…

The answers to our four questions are clearly and specifically given in Romans 6. The Christians in Rome had developed a peculiar idea about God’s grace. They believed that once they had their sins removed and became Christians they could just sin all they wanted to, and the grace of God would increase all the more. It is in the context of addressing this error that our four questions are answered. Let’s take a look at the key verses in Romans 6, and pay particular attention to the prepositions:

1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Imagine, using the grace of God as a license to sin!?

First, he reminds them that they had died to sin. This is one of our questions: “When do we die to sin?” This is answered very clearly in the next verse:

3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?

Here is our When and How question clearly and specifically answered. We died to sin when we were baptized into Christ, when we were baptized into His death. This is the purpose of baptism. It is the act of faith that puts us into Christ by placing us into Christ’s death – the entire purpose of His work on earth! Paul is reminding them of what happened to them when they died with Christ, they entered into His death. If you could get into anyone’s death, you would be dead. Why do I need to be “into Christ’s death?” Because Christ paid the judicial price for sin (death) and I must pay that same price by dying with Him – by being placed into His death.

4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

Two very important things are here. First, when we are baptized into Christ— when we are baptized into His death—we are buried with Christ into death. Secondly, the result is a new life! Why? Because when we die with Christ our sins are removed. This is elsewhere referred to as the “new birth” or becoming a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17, John 3:3) or as Romans 6 states, we obtain “newness of life.

5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,

Precisely when am I united with Christ in the likeness of His death? When I am baptized into Christ and baptized into His death, I am then united with Christ’s death so that my sins can be removed by the price of His death.

6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;

Precisely when does God consider me to be crucified with Christ? When I am baptized into Christ, I am are baptized into His death. It is as if I was on the cross with Him paying the price for my sins! The result is that “our body of sin” is done away with at this point, by uniting with His death.

7 for he who has died is freed from sin.

When does the sinner die? When we are baptized into Christ – when we are baptized into His death. What is the result? We are freed from sin – our sins are removed, forgiven by the judicial price of death being paid.

8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.

When does God view us as dying with Christ? When we are baptized into Christ – when we are baptized into His death. Don’t let the importance of this verse escape you. The entire purpose of Christ coming to earth to be the sacrificial Lamb of God and pay the judicial price of sin was so that we could die with Him, have our sins removed, and be reconciled to a Holy God.

10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Just as Christ “died to sin” by literally dying and thus paying the judicial price for sin, we are to also consider ourselves “to be dead to sin” by dying with Christ and thus having paid the judicial price for sin (1 Peter 2:24). When? How? When we are baptized into Christ – when we are baptized into His death.

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

Now we get the stated purpose for the entire previous discourse—stop sinning! Because you have died with Christ and had your sins removed you should have a different attitude towards sin. Because you have been brought up out of the muck and mire of the world and been cleaned off, don’t crawl back into the mud—don’t go get dirty again! By reminding the Romans of what Christ had done for them when they were baptized into Christ and His death, they should understand that they should no longer want to sin or be slaves to sin. This is the idea of repentance – that a Christian must have a changed attitude toward sin. Rather than sinning more (as the Romans were doing) we must do just the opposite, and stop practicing sin (1 John 3:4-9).

17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,

Here is where he reminds them that it was by faith (action = “obedient” plus belief = “from the heart”) that they were saved. Baptism derives no power from the water, superstition, or meritorious work. It derives its power solely from the faith of the participant. The sinner hears of the work of Christ to remove sin, believes it, and now participates in the death of Christ to have their sins removed. Our hearts are cleansed by faith when we are baptized.

22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.

As a result they were freed from sin, had their sins removed. And as a result of having been baptized into Christ and His death and having their sins removed they were made holy, sanctified. As 1 Corinthians 6:11 states: “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”  Sanctification results in justification (the price of death is paid and removed) which reconciles us to a holy God.

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

After this great explanation of what we experience by accepting God’s grace when we are baptized into Christ, the Romans are reminded that this was a free gift of God. By being baptized into Christ and into His death they had not earned God’s grace or mercy, they had just accepted the gift of the cleansing power of Christ’s death by faith.

A New Creation

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