Do You Look Saved? Are You Really?
Part 3: Obligated by Unity
God’s pardon does not give us permission to live in sin. Make no mistake, sin causes death. And since we have been rescued from death, and set free from slavery to sin, we must walk in righteousness, in newness of life.
Paul’s initial argument here is largely rhetorical — if you have died to sin, you cannot, by definition, still be living in it!
After the Reformation, when the doctrine of grace had spread, some took it too far, saying that because of God’s grace, we no longer have any law or morality that we must follow. Liberty to walk in righteousness was turned to license to walk in sin. This heresy is called antinomianism.
From the initial outrage of the possibility, Paul explains why we must walk in righteousness: we are united with Christ.
Paul gives the summary right up front:
1. We were baptized into Christ’s death
2. We were buried with Christ
3. We were raised with Christ by the glory of the Father
4. Therefore, we must walk with Christ in newness of life in righteousness
CRUCIFIED WITH HIM
Paul says we have been united with him in a death like his.
Sin destroys our relationship with one other; ultimately sin destroys our relationship with God. For this sin, Jesus died, and in his death, we have also died to sin.
BURIED WITH HIM
Our flesh has been buried. The corruption of our mortal bodies, our old self, has been buried. The rottenness of our flesh has been placed in the ground, where it should remain! No one buries a fox, and then returns a few days later to dig it up and wear it around their neck. It stinks! Who would do such a thing?
The Israelites were set free from slavery in Egypt. But having been set free, they wanted to return!
Who wants cancer back after it has been removed? But yet we go back to the thing that was killing us, and has been buried.
RAISED WITH HIM
If we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
What does this new life look like? (1) We will never die again. (2) Death no longer has dominion. (3) Set free from sin. (4) No longer living (dying) for sin, but living to God.
WALKING WITH HIM
All this so we might walk in newness of life. This means to present yourselves to God, and our members to God, as instruments for righteousness.
This is not an optional part of salvation. Contrary to the antinomians who think we have no continuing moral obligation, we have an even stronger obligation. For having died in Christ to sin, and raised in Christ to God, we must therefore walk in righteousness. This is an obligation and debt we owe, to the one who set us free from our slavery, buying us with the blood of his Son, and saving us from death and hell.