Click on the image to see it full-screen.
Epistle of Paul to the Romans 6: 1-11 (NIV)
1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning, so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
There is a major difference between the resurrection of Christ Jesus and the recovery from death through the ministry of Jesus of three people we meet in the Gospels: Lazarus, the son of the widow in Nain, the daughter of Jairus the synagogue ruler. As for these, so for Dorcas, the disciple in Joppa who was resuscitated through the Apostle Peter: they rose – to die again at a later date. Not so with Jesus. His resurrection was and is and will remain into eternity. Death has no hold on him. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “he cannot die again” (verse 9).
Against the death of the mortal body of Jesus, Paul has drawn comparisons with the death we all must pass through as we commit ourselves entirely to Jesus Christ as our Lord. In doing so, we reject and relinquish for all time our “ownership” of our selves. We forsake all that is past, in particular that part of our nature which has remained fallen, the part which refused to accept over us the sovereignty of God.
“We died to sin” (verse 2); “the body of sin” has been done away with (verse 6a). “We should no longer be slaves to sin” (verse 6b) for the sin in us has been put to death. As Paul wrote, “count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (verse 11).
This is why Paul rejected the possibility that, because “where sin increased, grace increased all the more” (Romans 5: 20), we should “go on sinning so that grace may increase” (verse 1)! We are not able to go on sinning because the desire of our rebellious nature to sin has been put to death as a direct consequence of our turning to God and being accepted as his children. To be sure, temptations will arise as the evil one tries to undermine the faith of the children of God. We are to be on guard, knowing that our old selves have been crucified with Jesus Christ, so that we demonstrate to the evil one, to the world and to ourselves that we have “been freed from sin” (verse 7).