Saturday, March 27, 2010

127) Death has no dominion

Romans 6:9-10 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. (10) For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.

Jesus Christ destroyed the dominion of death through his resurrection and he will never die again. Sin and death had dominion over the human race under the curse of the law. Christ perfectly fulfilled the law and yet suffered the penalty that the law imposed for not fulfilling it. Therefore, all that are baptized into the death Christ Jesus through faith have had their sin debt paid in full by Christ, and are counted as righteous because of Christ’s perfect obedience to the law. Thus, the dominion of death was destroyed by Christ. This is the amazing grace that leads Paul to conclude that believers are not under law but under grace. Through this grace the wretched man that is captive to the law of sin and death [Romans 7:23] is set free from the captivity and slavery of sin through regeneration and the New Covenant promise of a new heart.

Focus on Christ #127

Monday, March 22, 2010

126) Death with Christ

Romans 6:8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

Those that God redeems and regenerates by crucifying the old self will also live in a manner consistent with his new self. Believers will follow the lead of the indwelling Spirit and walk in a new direction. The old self [wretched man] was powerless to keep from sinning. The new man still sins, but lives a life that has been empowered to follow Christ and be conformed to his image [Romans 8:29]. The power of sin has been broken in all who are in Christ, and through the Holy Spirit the power has been given to not sin and live with Christ.

Focus on Christ #126

Thursday, March 18, 2010

125) God sets the prisoners free

Romans 6:7 For one who has died has been set free from sin.

When believers are baptized into Christ by the power of God, they have been set free from the penalty and power of sin. This is NOT speaking of death or the physical act of water baptism, but is speaking of the supernatural act of the new covenant promise of a regenerated heart. It is nothing less than a spiritual heart transplant. The new God given spiritual heart is free from the power of sin. The new creation in Christ is no longer captive to the law of sin and death. While he still sins, he is no longer the wretched man that is powerless to do what is right. The victory that overcomes the world has been achieved through faith in the Son of God [1 John 5:4].

Focus on Christ #125

Monday, March 15, 2010

124) United with Christ

Romans 6:5-6 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (6) We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.

Sin was dealt with on the cross as believers who were children of Adam and in bondage to sin are raised in union with Christ. Christ dealt with the penalty of sin on the cross. When believers are baptized into the death of Jesus Christ, Christ also deals with the power of sin as the old self is crucified with Christ. The body of sin that was previously enslaved and ruled by sin is brought to nothing by the power of God. Those who are in Christ through faith are no longer enslaved to sin, but have become slaves to righteousness. Paul described his personal enslavement to sin before conversion in Rom. 7:13-25. In Romans 8:2 he described how the Spirit set him free from the law of sin and death. This freedom occurred at the moment he was baptized into Christ’s death and resurrected into newness of life.

Focus on Christ #124

Friday, March 12, 2010

123) Newness of life

Romans 6:3-4 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (4) We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Those who are in Christ have been baptized through saving faith into his death. This is not merely a baptism done by men with water, but is a baptism of regeneration performed by God that is immediately followed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers. Just as Christ died for sin, believers die to sin when the Holy Spirit makes a new creation out of hearts of stone that were once captive and slaves to sin. Through the power of God in this work of the Holy Spirit, believers are enabled to walk in newness of life. God gives a new nature to believers that cause this transformation as the old has passed away and the new has come. Amazingly some things they once liked suddenly become unappealing, and things that once were unappealing become things desired. While the old man strives to regain control, those who are in Christ have been set free from the power of sin.

Focus on Christ #123

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

122) Dead to sin

Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? (2) By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

After thoroughly explaining justification by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone in the previous chapters, Paul asks the obvious question about sin. Paul answers his own rhetorical objection by stating that believers have died to sin and can no longer live in it. Why? What has changed and what does it mean to die to sin? This change comes through the power of God in regeneration and the gift of the indwelling Spirit. Believers are new creations in Christ with new desires. The power of sin has been broken in believers by the power of irresistible grace and the wretched man [Romans 7:24] has been delivered from his body of death. Sin is not completely eradicated, but believers are no longer captives to sin.

Focus on Christ #122

Monday, March 8, 2010

121) The fruitless branches are burned

John 15:6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

If anyone does not abide in Jesus, he is not in Christ and is not saved. Such a person bears no fruit and is taken away just like a branch that does not bear fruit. Many claim to be fruit bearing branches, but Jesus said you will recognize them by their fruits. Many falsely claim Christ, but only those who are truly in Christ will bear fruit. On that day, Jesus will tell those who falsely claim to be disciples “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”

Focus on Christ #121

Friday, March 5, 2010

120) All Christian fruit comes from Jesus Christ

John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

It is impossible to produce any fruit apart from Christ. Grace flows directly from Christ to believers as surely as nourishment from the vine flows directly to the fruit of the vine. Jesus reminds all disciples of all ages in this verse that there is no “I” in the fruit produced by disciples. Grace is the source of all fruit produced by believers. This union with Christ inspires and causes all the fruit produced by his disciples. Believers are created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared in advance for them to do [Eph. 2:10]. Believers are created in Christ Jesus! If God creates believers, then how can any fruit production be credited to the free will of man in the slightest way? If human decision apart from Christ is needed in producing fruit then there is reason for boasting in this fruit. Not only is there boasting, but the success of the kingdom of God on earth would be dependent on human decision.

Focus on Christ #120

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

119) If anyone is in Christ he abides in Christ

John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

Without abiding in Christ, there is no fruit. Jesus told this truth to his disciples and it is still valid today. If a person is in Christ, he abides in Christ and if he abides in Christ he bears fruit. Conversely, if there is no fruit in a person’s life that person does not abide in Christ. Such a person is not in Christ and has not been saved. It is folly to think that a person can be in Christ through the power of regeneration and the indwelling Holy Spirit and not abide in Christ. There will be times of apathy and neglect with very little fruit in the lives of believers, but never a time of total failure to abide in Christ. This verse is an exhortation by Jesus for his disciples to continually abide in him, and is not meant to infer that a true disciple may never abide in him.

Focus on Christ #119