Romans 6 begins with a question. Paul asked, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may abound?” The grace that we receive from God through faith in Jesus Christ is everlasting. We have the wonderful gift of being wrapped and covered in the perfection of Christ even though we are imperfect, sinful beings. It is only by grace that this amazing wonder is allowed.
Yet sadly, because of the gift of grace, some people opt to abuse it. Some suppose that if Christ is so incredibly gracious to forgive them of their sins just by asking for forgiveness, then they can live in sin and simply be forgiven when they ask for it. While it is true that God is just enough to forgive us, Christ did not die for us to continue to live in sin. He died to set us free from sin.
Paul explains that believers should die to sin. He makes a divine correlation between the death of Christ and what should be the death of us. We know that Christ gave up his life and was buried in a borrowed tomb. Paul states that believers are buried alongside Christ when we are buried into water by way of baptism.
And just as Christ was resurrected by God after his burial, we are to be resurrected to newness of life in Christ after we rise from the burial of baptism. Our old man—our previous way of thinking and living—should die just as Christ died. And we ought to rise to a new creation just as Christ rose to glory.
That means who we are innately must die. I think we can all agree to this. Yet, I’m inclined to believe that we sometimes need a reminder of how to die. Haven’t we all witnessed a baptized believer still caught in the deadness of sin? This is only because they have yet to die.
Anything living must be fed. Whether spiritually or physically, feeding is how things stay alive. If we feed into our desires, they will never die. Paul says in Romans 6:13, “Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.”
Anytime we sin, we offer ourselves to be used for wickedness. We agree to be used as a tool—to be used for what God has tried to save us from. Paul encourages us to instead offer ourselves to be a tool of righteousness.
Paul encourages us to stay away from the slavery that is sin, and to be free in Christ. In essence, Romans 6 tells us if we follow Christ, then we must die as Christ did. I can’t help but to remember the recorded accounts of Christ’s death. His death wasn’t a quick process. He wasn’t hanged nor did they behead him.
No, Christ’s death was a long, grueling process. He was whipped, beaten, mocked, and then hung on a cross with nails through his hands and feet for hours until he finally breathed his last breath.
What if our death process is the same? What if some of the ungodly things that lurk in us take a little more time to die?
I am not in support of wallowing in sin. I believe that God’s transformative power can completely remove all impulsive desires to sin against our Lord. And I certainly believe that all of our sins are covered once we confess Christ and live a surrendered life for him.
Yet, I do understand that the dying to our temptation may be a slow process. We can flee from sin while still having a desire to engage in sin. The death of the desire to sin against God may be a slow, grueling death just as the one of our Lord and Savior.
But it is a death that must occur. If we starve our temptation, if we starve the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, then perhaps over time, our desire to sin will decrease or diminish completely.
Paul states that we die to sin upon the burial of baptism, to which I agree. Yet, even after we have risen into newness of life, the call of the old life may still beckon us. The death of the desire is one that we may fight until our very last breath.
Which is why it is so awesome that temptation isn’t what keeps us from salvation. It is the acting upon that temptation, which leads to sin and the wages of those sins is death according to Romans 6:23.
Therefore, although the dying to ourselves maybe a slow process and we may be tempted to live contrary to what is godly, praise God that through his Son Jesus, we can indeed die. Although it may seem odd, God will be the death of us all if we allow it, and we will all be made better because of it.
So, as we continue into 2024, may you have a glorious death—a beautiful dying to yourself and may you have a grand awakening and newness of life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Quin Arrington is a wife, mother, and author with books available for purchase on Amazon at www.amazon.com/author/quinarrington
Thank you for your time. God bless!