THE BOOK OF ROMANS: Walking in our New Life in Christ Chapter 6

Dr. Jerry A. Collins


When we speak of regeneration, new life, and the baptism of the HS, we are talking about spiritual events that radically alter the inward reality of our state of being. When we believe Christ for eternal life, the inward man we were born with, the one inherited from our parents all the way back to Adam, dies, and that inward man is reborn with new eternal life. All of this is the result of our union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.



Verses 1-2: Paul dismisses a false conclusion: What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! Such a conclusion is unthinkable precisely because how shall we who died to sin still live in it? The reason for the clear negative answer is that, when we received Christ, we died to sin. Our death to sin does not make it impossible for us to commit sin or that it has been eliminated from our lives, but that we are no longer in bondage to it. It no longer is the sphere in which we continue to move and live and have our being. This phrase conveys the thought of that which is entirely inappropriate for a believer—to live their lives in sin.

PT: Death is not the opposite of life but the end of it. Without life, there can be no death. Death is a permanent end. When a loved one dies, what makes that a sad occasion, even if they are going to heaven, is the life they had is permanently over. They will never be a mother, father, grandparent, son, daughter, etc. again. So when Paul says we died to sin, it means that in our position before God, our sin is permanently over. So the call to live accordingly how shall we who died to sin still live in it?

Verse 3: One reason for this is due to our brand new identity do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? In the baptism metaphor when you truly believe in Christ (not just believe things about him), then you are identifying yourself, your life, your destiny with him. The HS seals the deal. The Christian faith is not a nice little philosophy of life, or some moral teachings to live by. It is salvation through the death of Christ—a salvation that not only delivers us from the judgment of God, but also changes the way we live. How can we cling to a sinful life-style when we have so identified with Christ who was slain on our behalf for that life-style that God declared sinful? It is this union with Christ which makes for a new life experience for us.

Verse 4: The point is that our new spiritual life involves immersion into Christ’s death therefore, we have been buried with Him through baptism into death. This spiritual reality, baptism into death, effectively purifies our inner man from sin rendering us dead to sin so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. We are united with Christ in His death so that we might share in His resurrected life too and walk in newness of life. By identifying with Christ in faith the believer not only died to sin, but has been raised to a new life. With regeneration a divine operation takes place that brings enormous changes. Being raised with Christ enables us to live on a higher plane, to walk in the newness of life. Death and sin can have have been rendered powerless over us. 

Verse 5: Inasmuch as we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death by means of the baptizing work of the HS, we can expect a similar union with Christ in the likeness of His resurrection. Christ did not just die, he rose again and lives forever; and we who died in Christ by faith, now have risen to a new life by faith, the spiritual life, eternal in nature. This eternal life is now our ultimate destiny. Everything we do now should be in preparation for that eternal life experience. Preparing for that is the most significant thing a believer can do. Pursue your discipleship by maturing spiritually.

Verses 6-7: This preoccupation with our eternal life is du to our old self was crucified with Him. That old self which lived inside of our physical bodies prior to our union with Christ has died. When we believe in Christ for eternal life the inward man is reborn with new life. And the point is that our union with Christ in his death has as its purpose that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin. Our body of sin and by extension the physical body through which it expresses itself has lost its dominion over us, so that this slavery no longer exists for he who has died is freed from sin. In other words, sin has no claim on the one united with Christ in His death.  

Verses 8-9: If, as has been affirmed that we have died with Christ, the subject of the first seven verses, we believe (conclude) that we shall also live with Him. The reality is that our new life is the outcome of death to the old one. This conviction that we shall also live with Him is accompanied by the knowledge that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again. Thus, the fact that Jesus was resurrected never to die again is the essence of eternal life. Living with Christ now means nothing less than living in the realm of eternal life. It is this life that we now experience in union with Him. Since Christ will no longer die, it follows then that death no longer is master over Him. So, the life we also share with him presently is not under the authority of death either. The rulership conferred on death by the sin of the first Adam (for you are dust, and to dust you shall return Genesis 3:19), has been broken by the Second.

Verses 10-11: He broke this power of sin permanently for the death that He died, He died to sin once for all. This encounter with sin was one in which sin was fully and completely paid for. He will not have to die again and again and again. Only once. This nullifies the idea of the perpetual sacrifice of Christ in the mass of the Roman Catholic Church. That is how efficacious was his death on the cross. Now with his sacrificial work finished and his resurrection accomplished, from then on the life that He lives, He lives to God. The relationship of Christ, both to sin and to God is precisely how we should relate to sin and to God. We should in fact consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Here is the bottom line—believers have been spiritually united with Christ in his death and his resurrection. The very first step to walking in newness of life is to consider this to be so! We are to count our identification (baptism of the HS) with the Lord Jesus to be true and act upon that reality.

PT: Temptation will knock. Sin has by no means been eradicated; it is a constant threat. Something in us is still attracted to sin. But the Spirit will give the enablement to overcome the old nature and the old practices. But the believer must act like the resurrected child of God that he/she is.



Verses 12-13: Considering ourselves to be dead to sin, we must not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts (desires or cravings). Since sin is no longer our master, we can and should stop carrying out its orders. Our previous obedience to sin’s lusts were due to our go[ing] on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness. The body’s members—its eyes, arms, legs, feet, etc.—had been used in the pursuit and enjoyment of sinful aims and activities. This kind of behavior must now cease. The new lifestyle is to be marked by conscious commitment to pleasing God as people who present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead. We should see ourselves as people raised from the dead to walk in newness of life, not as subjects reigned over by sin and death. Action appropriate to this reality is turning over your members as instruments of righteousness to God. That means to employ our eyes, arms, legs, hands and all of our members for and to the will of God.

Verse 14: This is possible precisely because sin shall not be master over you. Sin has lost its capacity to have authority over us. Freedom from sin’s authority can be experienced by believers because they are not under law but under grace. With the law comes the knowledge of sin. The law is no more an effective agent for Christian living than it was for our justification. Those living under it could not escape the authority of sin in their lives. The law or tradition or legalism is incapable of giving you life. It only exposes our sin. In works salvation you have to keep going back to your sin.

Verse 15: The fact that we are no longer under law might lead someone to ask, what then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? The answer is stated decisively: May it never be! This is unacceptable. We should never accommodate our old dead sinful nature. The fact that we are not under the law but under grace does not give us a license to sin. That requires a completely different disposition, dedication and determination. Grace is not a license to sin but the liberty to be righteous.

Verse 16: So he points out do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey. The fact is, there is no middle ground. Sinning entails slavery to your sinful practices. To whomever you might turn yourself over as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey. One turns himself over to either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness. The only reasonable choice was of course obedience that produced righteousness, since who wants to produce death? Sin only produces death dealing consequences. You manage only a life of damage control.

Verses 17-18: Paul then expressed his gratefulness to God himself for the experience of the Roman believers but thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed. In their unconverted days they had been slaves to sin. After their conversion they had become obedient from the heart (sincerely) responding appropriately to the Christian teaching they had received. Since they responded in such a way they had the personal experience of having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. In other words, they had turned away from sin, reckoning themselves to be dead to it, to do what was right in Gods sight. Their slavery was now to him, his will, his ways, and not to sin’s ways.

Verse 19: Paul seemed uncomfortable describing their Christian obedience as being slaves of righteousness I am speaking in human terms but did it anyway because of the weakness of your flesh. It’s a new concept for them which he tries to sketch with a slavery metaphor. Formerly they had presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness. Sinful choices led to sinful consequences which only compounded themselves over time. These Roman believers should now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification. The result of this new form of obedience will be the production of their holiness.

Verse 20: As an added incentive, Paul reminded them that when they chose slavery to sin in the past they did not become more righteous in their conduct. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Slavery to sin and slavery to righteousness are mutually exclusive! Righteousness had been powerless in their lives. It had no control over what they did. It was not their master. We usually don’t think of ourselves as free from righteousness when we sin, or (for that matter) free from sin when we are righteous. We are actually a mixed bag of both (as discussed in Romans 7).

Verse 21: There could be no positive outcome from such a life. Therefore, what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? It was a sinful life that now only made them feel ashamed. How could there be a benefit of any kind from that since the outcome of those things is death. Sin is always associated with death in the Bible. When a believer submits to the desires or lusts of his or her spiritually dead physical body, at the same time he/she alienates self from the life of God.

Verse 22: Now, in contrast, they were free from sin’s tyranny because of their union with Christ. Freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit. If they presented themselves as slaves to God voluntarily, they could anticipate the sweet fruit of progressive sanctification (holiness) and fullness of eternal life resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. Serving God is in our own best self-interest because it results in our sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.

Verse 23: In conclusion, then, death in all its aspects is the pay-off of sin for the wages of sin is death. This states a principle that with sin one receives what one has earned—unbeliever and believer alike. Count on it as true. But eternal life is an unearned experience because at its core it is the free gift of God given in Christ Jesus our Lord. By virtue of our being in Christ, we possess this gift. When we produce holiness, we are living out the gift that God gave us when we were justified by faith.


So What?

         Though we have died to sin, sin has not died to us.

         I fight temptations of my old sinful nature by strengthening my new nature.

         Spiritual perfection is not obtained during this life.

         As long as we are on this side of heaven we will sin.

         We must confess our sin, agree with God that it is sin, and He forgives us.

         I must dedicate myself to righteousness every day.