WONDERFUL WORDS OF LIFE RADIO SERMON September 5, 1976
ALIVE UNTO GOD
Romans 6:4 11
The question is, "Should a Christian continue to live under the reign of sin after he commits his life to Christ?"
The emphatic answer is, "No! May it never be so!" The question was prompted by a misunderstanding of the
preaching of salvation by grace. It was thought by the critic that the preaching of justification by grace
encourages the practice of sin by the believer. The critic overlooked an important thing about the man God
justifies. Those God justifies are placed in union with Christ Jesus. They have died to sin and have been made
alive unto God through this union with Christ.
Already we have studied together the death of the Christian to sin. We declared that the Christian actually died
to the reign and the realm of sin when Christ died upon the Cross. This death of sin was symbolized in their
baptism. This fact of death is an im-portant factor when you are considering the present relationship of the
Christian to sin. However the union of the believer with Christ did not end at the Cross, nor even in the tomb.
Through our union with Him we are now alive unto God. This is another basic reason that the Christian cannot
continue to live under the domination of sin. The man God justi¬fies is alive unto God.
WE ARE ALIVE UNTO GOD THROUGH OUR UNION WITH CHRIST
Our being "in Christ" is a truth of tremendous implications. "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into
death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk
in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the
likeness of his resurrection,'' This concept becomes the theme of this whole paragraph. The truth is that when
Christ died, the believer died. When Christ was buried, the believer was buried. When Christ was raised from
the dead, the believer was raised from the dead. This believer is consequently now alive unto God.
When were we raised with Christ? Just as we noticed our death with Him, the same is true of our resurrection.
Essentially we were raised with Him when He was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father. The
resurrection of Jesus is attributed to the Father, and is viewed as a demonstration of the glorious power of
God. In that mighty act God es¬sentially raised each of us from the dead. This happened to us personally at
the moment we placed our faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. At that moment it became personally true of
us. Then we were raised symbolically in baptism. Maybe this aspect of baptism has not been emphasized
enough. When the believer is raised out of the water, and stands to his feet with water dripping from his smiling
face, it is a symbol of the act of God whereby he has been raised with Christ to a new plane of life.
It is important that we give the proper meaning to resurrection in this passage. A resurrection is never just
raising a person out of death to continue life as he once knew it. A true resurrection involves being raised out
of death up to a new level. Obviously this was true of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. After His resurrection He
had a whole new relationship to both sin and death. Sin could no longer touch Him, and death had no power
over Him. Jesus had voluntarily entered the realm of sin in His incarnation, He had placed Himself into such a
position that sin could tempt and attack Him. He had voluntarily identified Himself with the sin of mankind. This
identification with sin was the thing that ultimately took Him to the Cross. But on the Cross He died both to sin
and for sin. In the resurrection it was clear evidence of the acceptance of His sacrifice for sin and of His
complete victory over sin. This is the victory in which we have been made participants through our union with
This then is what we accepted by faith at conversion and declared symbolically in our baptism. We declared
ourselves to be "alive unto God" through our union with Christ Jesus.
WE ARE ALIVE UNTO GOD FOR OUR CONDUCT OF LIFE
This union with Christ in His resurrection had distinct moral implication for us. It is important that we see that
this resurrection is not future, but present. "We shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection" this is not a
reference to the resurrection of our bodies at the coming of Christ. This is a statement of fact about what has
happened to us in Christ, about our present position. Why does the Apostle use a future tense then? The
future is used to express certainty of sequence. If one thing happens, then the other must happen. If we die
with Christ, we must be resurrected with Him. This resurrection is the present position of the believer in Christ.
All of this has in view that "even so we should walk in newness of life." "Should'' is probably better rendered
"might". It does not suggest as much duty as possibility. This resurrection with Christ, our union with Him,
creates the possibility of a new life style for the believer.
"Newness" is a strong word. Actually the word means something that goes beyond the natural; it has the
connotation of the extraordinary. The word is so placed in the sen-tence to add even more prominence to it.
"Might walk" means to walk about, implies the conduct of one's life. This being alive unto God makes possible
then an extraordinary life style, for the conduct of life on a different level.
The reason for this is two fold. Our death with Christ has broken the power of the reign and realm of sin over
us. Unsaved man cannot move up to a new level of life be¬cause he is the slave of sin. He is under the
domination of sin. He ultimately and con¬sistently finds himself obeying sin. But this reign is ended for the man
who has died with Christ. Being raised with Christ means that the Christian now enjoys the new life of Christ.
Though the Apostle does not go on to state it here, this involves the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who is the
very life of God within the believer.
Would it seem reasonable then that a man could die to sin and be raised with Christ to a new life, and then
continue to conduct his affairs in the world as though nothing had ever happened. Such a great thing should
make a difference in the conduct of the Christian, especially in his relationship to the reign and realm of sin.
WE SHOULD BE ALIVE UNTO GOD IN OUR FAITH ESTIMATION OF OURSELVES
The first application of this truth does not occur until verse eleven. The first ten verses of this chapter are
taken up with setting forth the facts. The facts are that we have died to sin with Christ, and that we are alive
unto God with Christ through His resurrection. The admonition of the Apostle is that we should begin to view
our lives in light of the facts of the Gospel.
"Reckon" is a word that bothers us sometimes. The word was borrowed from the accountant. It means to
account something, to conclude about something, to think or regard something in a particular way. Here the
Apostle is saying that we should think of ourselves, regard ourselves, list ourselves, as being dead unto sin,
but alive unto God. Such action should be based upon the facts that we have found set forth in the Gospel.
It is important to keep in mind that the Apostle does not say to "feel" yourself to be dead unto sin, but alive
unto God. Modern Christians are making far too much of their feelings. The Christian who has placed his faith
in Jesus Christ alone for sal¬vation, and has symbolized his faith in baptism, is to reckon these things as true,
to view himself as though they are true. This does not involve playing mental games with yourself. Rather it is
adjusting your thinking to reality. Suppose that I was to in¬herit a million dollars from some admirer, but after
receiving the inheritance I did not make any difference in my life style. For instance, I did not give any more to
the church. I continued to pinch pennies in the conduct of our family finances. I acted as though I was
penniless. Would you not wonder about me? Yet many Christians are in the position of having died to sin, and
having been made alive unto God, yet they continue to look upon themselves as though nothing had ever
happened. Often their view of themselves is based entirely upon how they feel rather than upon what the
Gospel declares to be true. Whom shall I believe? Shall I believe my feelings, my impressions, or my
experiences, or shall I begin to believe what God has declared to be true? According to the Gospel I am alive
unto God. The admonition is that I begin right now to so regard my life.
Let us come back to the question that opens this passage. Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
The answer is a strong "no". The Christian is alive unto God not to sin. The center of the Christian's focus is
Christ not sin. The Lord of the Christian is Christ not sin. The Christian is under grace not under sin.
The point for the Christian to begin is right here. The Christian does not begin a per-sonal struggle against sin
in an attempt to become what God wants him to be. Rather he is seeking to realize in his life the mighty victory
that Christ has already achieved over sin. The focus is upon Christ and His victory. We are victorious because
of our union with Him.
There is this heavenly, supernatural element in the life we live. The resurrection life is already being revealed
in our daily walk. Amen!