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Christianity is Christ. The Christian life is Christ living His life in and through the believer. The life of Christ is reproduced in the child of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, it is a new life with new relationships. It has a new source––Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul wrote, "Christ . . . is our life" (Colossians 3:4). Jesus told His disciples, "Abide in Me, and I in you . . . I am the vine, you are the branches" (John 15:5ff).
Romans 6:11 gives us a great principle on living the Christian life. "Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus." When we reckon on something we accept it as an accomplished fact.
Paul again refers to this identification with Christ in Galatians 2:20. He writes, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." Paul died to the law and was crucified with Christ. He often uses the idea of dying with Christ (Gal. 5:24; 6:14; Rom. 6:8; Col. 2:20) and burial with Christ also (Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12). "So complete has become Paul’s identification with Christ that his separate personality is merged into that of Christ. This language helps one to understand the victorious cry in Rom. 7:25. It is the union of the vine and the branch (John 15:1–6)?" (A. T. Robertson).
We have learned from Romans 8:29 that God's goal for His believers is the conformity of our character to the likeness of Christ. Everything that God does in our lives happens to focus on that one supreme purpose. God has selected before hand the goal that everyone who believes on Christ will be conformed to His likeness. God's primary concern is our character, functioning the way He intended us to function, i.e. like Christ. He will not give up on that goal. He will keep at it until the day we stand complete in Him.
God the Holy Spirit takes our personalities and works in us to produce character that is loving, and full of "joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self–control" (Galatians 5:22–23). Are we going to be a bunch of robots running around in heaven? No, of course not. We all have different personalities, but He desires that we have the characteristics that make Jesus so magnificent and wonderful. God's goal was that Jesus should be the firstborn among many just like Him. What a wonderful place heaven will be! (Rom. 8:29).
Not all of this is new for you who have been walking with Christ
for some time. It is just biblical theology of Christian living. It is living
the Christian life by grace through faith. You were saved by grace through faith
in Christ; you live it by grace through faith in Him. This new position we have
in Christ is a vital union with Him. We are now identified with Christ. It is an
intimate love relationship with Christ brought about by the regeneration of the
Holy Spirit in our hearts the moment we repented and believed on Christ. We are
new creatures in Christ. This new relationship with Christ has been called by
many terms such as the exchanged life, the higher life, the crucified life,
deeper life, the abiding life, the Spirit–filled or Spirit–controlled life, the
victorious life, the baptism of the Spirit, the identification with Christ, the
faith–rest life, etc. What all of them are saying is we have a new position in
Christ Jesus. It is the result of God's free grace the moment we believed on Him
as our savior. Now that we belong to Jesus He has provided us a life of
spiritual power, depth and victory that is available to all believers. It is not
found in some emotional religious experience, but in a daily moment by moment
walk by faith in my eternal position in Lord Jesus Christ.
Let's look for a moment at what this vital union with Christ is not. What I am not saying is summed up quite well in at statement made by the Exchanged Life of Texas staff.
However, the very moment we believed on Christ as our personal Savior we were baptized by the Holy Spirit, and we were placed into the Body of Christ. By being members of the Body of Christ everything that is true of the Head is true of each member of His Body. "By one Spirit we are all baptized into one body" (1 Corinthians 12:13). At the same time God the Holy Spirit took up residence in our body and made it His holy temple.
The word baptize means to "dip," "to plunge," "to immerse." It was a word that was used to describe the fuller who dyed his wool in the dye vat. I can illustrate by taking this beautiful new white shirt and dipping or immersing it in this pan of red dye. And when I pull it out of the pan of red dye it is no longer identified as the white shirt. It is no longer a white shirt. It has a completely new identity. It has changed its identity. It is the red shirt. The believer took on a new identity when he was baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ. Our identity was changed by our union with Christ. We are now identified as Christians. We are members of Christ. We are no longer old Adam's family; we have a new family with new identity. Christ is the head of our new family.
One of the most beautiful pictures of identification is found in the Old Testament on the Day of Atonement. The High Priest killed a goat and offered him as a sin offering. Then he took another goat that is called the scapegoat. Aaron laid both his hands on the head of the live goat and confessed all the iniquities of the children of Israel. The idea is all their sins were identified with the live goat. The sin bearer has identified himself with the sins of the people. He was then led out into the wilderness bearing the sin of the people. The goat was led out to die for the sins of the people of Israel.
Christ has made His identification with us as our sinbearer. He so identified Himself with us that when we confessed our sins to Him He took those sins with Him to the cross and died as our substitute on the Cross. He was my sinbearer dying in my place on the cross. Second Corinthians 5:21 reads, "He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." When we believed on Christ as our personal Savior all our sins were placed on Him and His death was reckoned as our death. He was so identified with me that God accepted His death as my death.
When the Holy Spirit baptized us we were identified with Jesus Christ in His death, burial, resurrection, ascension and glorification. An intimate relationship or union was formed with Christ. We became identified with Him.
Our water baptism symbolizes this baptism of the Holy Spirit, which has already taken place when we believed on Christ. When we stepped into the pool of water it was the old life that was symbolically buried with Christ and a new person with a new identity was raised up out of the water. The believer has taken on a new identification with a new identifier. The water identifies the person who was baptized. He is wet from head to toe. We now have a spiritual union with Christ. We have become identified with Christ's death, burial and resurrection.
All of our needs as sinners have been fully provided for in the cross of Jesus. Christ paid our sin debt. He died to set us free from our spiritual death.
This identification with Christ was so clear in the apostle Paul's mind that he could write, "I have been crucified with Christ." I was so united with Christ and identified with Him that when Jesus Christ died I died also. I was crucified with Christ. When Christ died, we died with Him. We are identified with His death. When did we die to sin? Romans 6:2, "How shall we who died to sin still live in it?" It is past tense. We died to sin when we put our faith in Christ as our personal Savior.
Romans 6:3–4 says, "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 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." (For a more in depth examination of these passages in Romans 6 please go to Romans 6:1-14 Free at Last!).
The water baptism is a magnificent picture or symbol of what took place when Christ died for our sins and rose form the dead. It is also a unique picture of our union with Christ through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Christ's death was a real death. By the baptism of the Holy Spirit we were baptized into Christ Jesus and we were also baptized into His death.
How does God view us as born again believers? God sees us as crucified, dead. In His sight you are crucified, nailed to the cross. Spiritually you are there with Christ. Christ broke sin's power over you.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ." This is a fact we as believers are to accept. We are identified with Christ in His crucifixion. Paul uses perfect tense of a word meaning to crucify together. Paul has in mind that specific past completed event that marked his identification with Christ, and that event had an enduring present effect upon his life. Paul is demonstrating his identification with Christ at the cross was a past fact. There were certain spiritual benefits that came to him through his identification with Christ.
When Jesus died, we died together with Him. When Christ rose from the dead, we rose with Him. When Christ ascended to heaven we ascended with Him and are now seated with Him in the heavenly places. Our identification with Christ includes the crucifixion with Him, burial with Him and our resurrection, ascension and glorification with Christ. Our identification with Christ is so complete that God reckons us as having experienced co-crucifixion, co-burial, co-resurrection, co-ascension and co-glorification. This is the way God sees us. Then should we not see ourselves in the same manner?
How can it be that I have been crucified with Christ when He died 2,000 years ago? How can you claim this identification with Christ?
It is the Christ–event. We need to keep in mind two things: Jesus' person and our identification with Him. Jesus Christ is alive today, risen from the dead and real. After He died for our sins, He rose from the dead and resumed bodily life for all eternity. He reentered heaven's glory by the ascension. These are historical facts. He remains in attitudes, character, and interests just what He was in the Gospels. He hasn't changed; He is the same forever (Hebrews 13:8). He still demands that He be our Savior and Lord.
There is also the trans–historical fact in which Jesus is not bound by space and time. The Christ–event can touch and involve each one of us at anytime and anywhere. Faith in Christ involves that Christ–event that in reality every believer has actually died and risen and now lives and reigns, with Jesus. Even though we were dead in our trespasses and sins God "made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:5–6). We are trophies of His grace. Jesus not only justifies us by faith, but He identifies Himself so with us that we are intimately involved in His dying, His rising, and His reigning. The result is a joyful fellowship with Him.
"Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Galatians 5:24). "For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God" (Galatians 2:19). "Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God" (Romans 7:4).
How many times do we have to die? Only once. Paul doesn't say to put ourselves to death over and over again. It is not something we do. It is what God does. We cannot add any value to it by doing it over and over again. When you died with Christ it was a once for all death. We are not told to crucify ourselves over and over again to make ourselves free. The effects of that one crucifixion with Christ are sufficient.
Therefore, Paul writes, "Even so consider (reckon, be constantly counting upon the fact) yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:11, Pounds' Paraphrase). Take a long contemplative look at yourself as one who is dead. Sin's authority has been broken because when Christ died, you died. God tells us to accept His judgment on our sin nature. When Christ rose form the dead, you rose from the dead. Because you are alive in Christ you have been set free to walk in the newness of life under the control of the Holy Spirit. You no longer have to obey sin. You are free to yield to the Holy Spirit.
"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" (Romans 6:6). "Was crucified with him" (sunestauroµtheµ). This death did not take place at baptism, but is only pictured there. It took place when "we died to sin."
We are admonished by Paul to put off the old man and put on the new man. Why? Because the putting off the old man is death and the putting on is resurrection.
We are so identified with Christ in His death, that when Christ died, we died. Because we died with Christ, we are no longer obligated to serve the old sin master. Paul says, "for he who has died is freed from sin" (Romans 6:7). You are no longer under obligation to obey sin when it tempts you.
The power of sin nature over us was broken when we died with Christ. It was not eliminated. It was not eradicated. It was annihilated. It was not rendered incapable of tempting us. It does not make us incapable of sinning. However, it does set us free from mandatory obedience to sin nature as a slave. The obligation to sin has been shattered. Dead men are no longer slaves.
In Romans chapter seven Paul used an illustration of the law of marriage. The law operates as long as the two parties are alive. However, it is terminated when one of the two parties dies. "Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God" (7:4). Who died? I died. Who is free to marry a new suitor? I am! He is not talking of physical death, but spiritual death through union with Christ. The sin nature that operated within us was broken when the Holy Spirit baptized us into the body of Jesus Christ. The power of sin was terminated. It could no longer condemn us. We are dead to its laws. It no longer has any legal authority over us. We have been set free from the obligation to serve the sin nature by our co-death with Jesus Christ. Just as a wife is no longer obligated to her deceased husband so we are no longer obligated to serve the sin nature because we have died with Christ.
Paul makes it emphatically clear that there is only thing that can break sin's control over us. When Jesus died you a believer in Jesus Christ died with Him. The co-death with Jesus broke sin's control over you. In our spiritual slavery to sin we had no power to break its power and control over us. Since we are dead through His death sin no longer has dominion over us. By His death we have been freed from the obligation to serve sin. It is no longer our master. We can now say "No! You will not be my master." If you now sin it is by a choice you make. You can be as holy as you choose to be.
What do you say when Satan raises his ugly finger at you and says, "You are condemned? Who do you think you are saying you are a Christian? Look at all these sins you have committed. You are no better now than you were when you believed on Christ." Do you come back at him with a clear declaration of faith in Christ saying, "Yes, but I died when Christ died for my sins on the cross! I have put all my hope and trust in the cross of Jesus and His substitutionary death for me. Christ died for my sins and you have no authority over me."
Oh, my friend have you become so identified with the death of Jesus Christ that He alone is your cleansing from sin? Has the death of Jesus become so real to you that you love Him because He first loved you and gave Himself for you? Our identification with Him in His death ought to be the passion of our heart. "Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe."
We who have died with Christ have also been buried with Christ. The burial of Christ was a historical fact, and our burial with Him is a spiritual truth to be acted on. Our burial with Christ is beautifully pictured in the ordinance of baptism.
"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" (Romans 6:4).
"The picture in baptism points two ways, backwards to Christ’s death and burial and to our death to sin (verse 1), forwards to Christ’s resurrection from the dead and to our new life pledged by the coming out of the watery grave to walk on the other side of the baptismal grave (F. B. Meyer). There is the further picture of our own resurrection from the grave" (A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures, Romans). The believer declares that he has put his faith in the expiatory death of Christ for the pardon of his past sins and for all future sins, too. This is Paul’s vivid picture of baptism as a symbolic burial with Christ and resurrection to newness of life in Him.
It is just at this point that we fail. We go around like a yard dog digging up old buried bones instead of leaving the dead buried. We go digging around in old sins, and temptations looking where we ought not look. We sniff around in old graveyards instead of leaving dead things alone. Leave the dead buried. God declared you acquitted when you believed on Christ. You were pardoned based on the death of Christ. Leave your sins under the blood of Jesus. Why do we want to keep going back into a yoke of slavery? (Gal. 5:1). He removes our sins as far as the east is from the west. Why do we go shortening the route?
Paul reminds us in Colossians 2:12, "having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead."
Our faith rests upon facts. Not only that Christ died for our sins, but that, when He died, this old life that we got from Adam died with him. It not only died, but it was buried. That is a fact and our faith must rest upon it. But those are not all of the facts. Our old nature, that we have been living in, and having all this trouble with, died when Jesus Christ died. It became true for us when we believed in him. It not only died, but it was buried as well, totally put away.
"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. 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" (Romans 6:4–5).
Water baptism is a symbol or picture of what has already taken place in the believer. The baptism that is referred to here is not water baptism. It is the baptism of the Holy Spirit, by which we were made part of the body of Christ. Water baptism is a sign or symbol of that, but the essential thing here is the baptism of the Spirit. We become united with Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit.
We were identified as living members of the body of Christ by being baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. We were baptized into His death. We were co-crucified with Christ. Again, it took place when we trusted in Christ, not when we were baptized. Baptism is only a picture of what has already taken place in reality.
By faith, we participate in the life of Christ. Just "as Christ was raised from the dead . . . so we too might walk in newness of life." "Those united with Christ, the apostle teaches (Rom. 6:4–10), so as to be partakers of His death, are partakers also of His life. 'Because I live, you shall live also' (John 14:19). Christ dwells in our hearts by faith (Eph. 3:17). Christ is in us (Rom. 8:10). It is not we that live, but Christ lives in us (Gal. 2:20). Our Lord illustrates this vital union in terms of a vine and its branches (John 15:1–6). As the life of the vine is diffused through the branches, and as they live only as connected with the vine, so the life of Christ is diffused through His people, and they are partakers of spiritual and eternal life only in virtue of their union with Him . . . " (Charles Hodge, p. 451).
"Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him" (Romans 6:8).
We have been raised to new life by God's power in our identification with Christ's resurrection.
Paul reminds us in Ephesians 2:5–6, "even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus."
"Therefore, if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God" (Colossians 3:1) We are expected to walk by faith in the newness of life because we have this identification with Christ in His resurrection. We are to reckon ourselves "to be dead to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:11). We are to act upon what we know to be true. We died to sin's rule and we are alive to God. Spiritually we died and rose again in Christ. We are to count upon this as a fact and live accordingly.
Philippians 3:10–11, Paul wrote, "that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead." His desire is that the resurrection life of Christ might manifest itself through his daily life in a new kind of life. Here are the deepest secrets of Paul's spiritual life revealed. The resurrection of Christ ought to make a difference in our daily lives.
Believers have been resurrected to new life with Christ. Because of our co-resurrection with Christ we walk in a new kind of life. In the analogy of the marriage law Paul said we have become dead to the law of the sin nature that we should be married to another, "even to him who was raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God" (Romans 7:4). By His death we were liberated, and by the co-resurrection we produce righteousness unto God.
Since we have been set free from sin's control we are free to yield to the Spirit's control of our lives. The Holy Spirit operates in a new, divine nature to bring us to obedience to Christ. He produces His righteousness in us.
God "raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6).
The reason we have this identification with Christ is found in Romans 6:8–10. It is our means of living the abundant life. "Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God."
Our old sin nature no longer has to have control over us. We are dead to its hold over us. We no longer have to obey it. We can say "no thank you" I have a new master. We are delivered through the death of Christ. We are no longer under obligation to obey the commands of our sin nature. We have been resurrected and set free. We may choose to obey the old sin nature, but we are not under obligation to do so. We are no longer slaves to that old nature. It is now a matter of choice. Christ now is free to live His life through us.
Charles Hodge wrote: "All that the Scriptures teach concerning the union between the believer and Christ, and concerning the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, proves the supernatural character of our sanctification. Men do not make themselves holy; their holiness and their growth in grace are not due to their own fidelity, or firmness of purpose, or watchfulness and diligence, although all these are required, but to the divine influence by which they are rendered thus faithful, watchful, and diligent and which produces in them the fruits of righteousness. 'Without me,' says our Lord, 'ye can do nothing' (John 15:5). 'As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in Me' (v. 4). The hand is not more dependent on the head for the continuance of its vitality than is the believer on Christ for the continuance of spiritual life in the soul" (Systematic Theology, Abridged Edition, p. 465).
Perhaps we do not take sin seriously enough in our day. "By their apostasy men lost the image of God; they are born in a state of alienation and condemnation. They are by nature destitute of spiritual life. From this state it is impossible that they should deliver themselves as that those in the grave should restore life to their wasted bodies and, when restored, continue to invigorate it by their own power. Our whole salvation is of Christ. Those who are in the grave hear His voice. They are raised by His power. And when they live, it is He who lives in them . . . The main object of Romans 6–7 is to prove that as we are not justified on the grounds of our own righteousness, so we are not sanctified by our own power or by the mere objective power of the truth." (Hodge, p. 466).
"Regeneration does not remove all sin . . .. As all men since the fall are in a state of sin, not only guilty of specific acts of transgressions, but also depraved, regeneration is the infusion of a new principle of life into their corrupt and perverse nature . . . Sanctification, therefore, consists in two things: first, gradual removal and destruction of the power of the principles of evil still infecting our nature; and secondly, the growth of the principle of spiritual life until it controls the thoughts, feelings, and acts, and brings the soul into conformity to the image of Christ (Eph. 4:22–24)." "The soul by act of faith becomes united to Christ. We are in Him by faith" (Hodge, p. 467).
"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" (Romans 6:4).
According to John 16:7 the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost to fill the place of Christ as to His visible presence, carry on His work, to transform them into His likeness, etc. "Where the Spirit is, there Christ is; so that the Spirit being with us, Christ is with us; and if the Spirit dwells in us, Christ dwells in us” (Romans 8:9–11).
"The indwelling of the Holy Spirit thus secured by union with Christ becomes the source of a new spiritual life, which constantly increases in power until everything uncongenial with it is expelled, and the soul is perfectly transformed into the image of Christ" (Hodge, p. 468).
The Holy Spirit took up residence in us the moment we were born again. He gives us power by which the resurrection life of Christ is manifest in our lives. By faith the child of God relies upon the fact that he died and was resurrected with Christ, and now the Holy Spirit lives His life through you. The resurrection life of Christ is a moment by moment walk of faith by means of the Spirit abiding within you. Only as we walk in the Spirit will we overcome sin in our lives. Galatians 5:16 reminds us, "walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh."
The moment you believed on Christ the Holy Spirit took up residence within you. He came to posses you and control you. He came to be your new master so the sin nature would no longer possess you. When you are filled with the Spirit you are under His control. When He is in control your life is in submission to Him and His will.
"And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18). When you are under the control of the Holy Spirit your life will be different. Just as your life is different if it is under control of alcohol or drugs. You are not the same. When the Holy Spirit is in control of your life you have a new kind of life. You are different. Your old self is no longer in control. The Holy Spirit is now in control of your life. His goal is to conform us to the likeness of Jesus Christ. We become different people when the Spirit is in control.
You want to know what we become like? Look at Galatians 5:21–22. The context shows us what we are like when we are not under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
God's solution to our sin problem was to put us to death with Christ. He put us in the grave with Christ to remove us from the old realm in which we operated. He raised us out of the grave with Christ to bring us into a new kind of life. We have been co-crucified, co-buried and co-resurrected with Christ in order to walk in the newness of life with Christ. Christ lives His life in us.
Paul tells us to "reckon" on this great principle of victorious Christian living. "Reckon, count it a fact, that you are dead unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Because of what Christ has accomplished for us we have been set free from all obligations to serve sin. As we reckon upon the fact that we have been crucified and resurrected with Christ and we permit the Holy Spirit to live the resurrection life of Christ through us. It is His life in us that makes it possible to live the Christian life. As we yield ourselves to His control of our lives He gives us the resolve to say no to the flesh, the power to overcome temptation, the conviction that the Christian life is the only life worth living, the joy in the midst of our adversities, the perseverance to endure persecution. We do not have the power to put into action the new life we received by regeneration. Only as we walk in the power and strength of the Holy Spirit can we manifest the resurrection life. He produces the life of Christ in the believer. If we do not yield to the Spirit's control He can not manifest the resurrection life of Christ in us. The Christian life takes on a whole new dimension when we yield our selves to Him so He can live out His life through us.
You have died with Christ and you were resurrected with Christ. Because of that great fact we are free to walk in newness of life. Galatians 5:1, "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery." These principles become real when you count upon them to be true.
If we try living the resurrected life in our own abilities, strength, wisdom and will power we will not be filled with the Holy Spirit. We will be filled with ourselves. The flesh will produce nothing but flesh. Being filled with self prevents us from being filled with the Spirit. He demands that we yielded to Him. When we are yielded to His control we reproduce the resurrected life of Christ.
In spite of all that Christ has done for us it is possible for us to go back into our bondage to sin. But it is a choice we make. We may choose to become entangled to sin. It is not because we haven't been set free. It is not because the sin nature hasn't been broken. It is simply because we do not reckon ourselves to have been crucified with Christ. We do not count upon the fact that sin no longer has authority over us. When we choose to sin we become servants of sin. I don't have to sin because I have been set free. God has set us free to live the Christian life. This is what God has done in His grace for us. This freedom is ours by faith.
The Holy Spirit now has freedom to take control of our lives and reproduce Christ. We are commanded to be filled with the Spirit. It is our responsibility to be yielded to the control of the Spirit moment–by–moment. It is not automatic. It is a conscious act of submission to the Spirit's control. You can not be under the control of the Spirit unless you consciously submit to His authority in your life. As you submit yourself to the Spirit you experience His control. We abide in Christ by walking in the Spirit and appropriating by faith all that Christ has provided for us through His death and resurrection. The apostle Paul wanted to know by experience the power that brought the resurrection of Christ. When we are so related to the Holy Spirit the power that brought Jesus from the dead is the power that operates in our lives. That is when people see Christ in us. They see the change and you can not argue with a changed person.
God wants to reproduce the life of Jesus Christ in you. God is glorified when people see Christ in us. But the truth is we have a choice now that we have been set free. We can yield ourselves to be controlled by the flesh. When we do we will never reproduce the righteousness of Christ. A life in the flesh is everything Christ is not. It is a life independent of God. When we have flesh controlled minds we produce sin––sinful thoughts, words and behaviors. We are "spiritually minded" when we are under the control of the Spirit. When we allow the Spirit to control our thoughts, words, behaviors we allow Christ to live in us and we begin to be like Him.
If you need help in becoming a Christian here is A Free Gift for You.
Title: Romans 6 The Christian's Identification with Christ
Series: The Exchanged Life in Romans
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2008. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.
Unless otherwise noted “Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)
Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/. All rights reserved.
Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries for ten years. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Honduras.
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