Romans (14): Reckoned in Christ not Adam
Romans 6: An Exposition (14) - Reckoned to be in Christ
All Saints * Dr. Gregg Strawbridge * September 14, 2008
For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be united in the likeness of his resurrection. 6:6 We know that the old Adam was crucified with him so that the sinful self-identity would no longer dominate us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 6:7 Because someone who has died has been freed from the justice of sin. 6:8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also be alive with him. 6:9 We know that since Christ has been raised from the dead, he is never going to die again; death no longer lords it over him. 6:10 For the death he died, he died to sin once for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God. 6:11 So you too reckon yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 6:12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal self-identity so that you hear and obey its desires, 6:13 and do not present your faculties and capacities to sin as weapons to be used for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead and your faculties and capacities to God as weapons to be used for righteousness. (Romans 6:5-13)
________________________ in Christ - Paul explains that we no longer stand in fallen Adam. We are “in Christ.” “As many as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death” (6:3). We have been “buried with him through baptism into death” (6:4). The image of baptism here is not so much immersion, but being “drenched” like the drowning flood (as in 1 Pet. 3:20). Jesus was “baptized” or drenched in death, “You will be baptized with the baptism I experience” (Mark 10:39; cf Ps. 18:16). To Paul, baptism is not a mere symbol. It marks that change from being “in Adam” to being “in Christ” and here, he highlights the connotations involving death by overwhelming water. (There are other connotations to baptism also, such as cleansing). This rite signifies that a person has come into a new relationship, a covenantal relationship. Remember again baptism is an event, like a wedding then the marriage must be lived out. It is like the conferring of an academic degree or like being sworn into office. The baptized are now “in Christ” officially. This status is to “reckoned” to them. Paul “grabs them by their baptism” (Matthew Henry).
_________________________ in Christ - Romans 6 is a powerful example of the “indicative leading to the imperative” - What is leads to what should be. Who you are determines how you should act. You are no longer under the old allegiance, so live like it! What is true of the believer becomes the basis for living in renewed manner. If we reckon ourselves in Christ, then we can realize sin no longer has lordship. “We know that the old Adam was crucified with him so that the sinful self-identity [lit. “body of sin”] would no longer dominate us.” Jesus dealt with sin once for all on the cross in His physical/Adamic body. Our union with Christ in his death means that we are freed from the justice of sin (literally, “justified”), freed from the official debt that sin requires. Its mastery [lit. lordship] is broken (v 7). The “imperative” is “do not present your faculties and capacities [members] to sin as weapons or tools to be used for unrighteousness.” Paul gives the same lesson elsewhere: “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” (Gal. 2:20).
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as receive a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more