For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
What each of us Christians needs to keep at the forefront of our hearts and minds is how greatly we are identified with our Lord and Savior. We learned in chapter five how greatly Adam’s sin ruined the entire human race, and how the human race as a whole and each of us individually is fully identified with Adam. In the same way, all who are in Christ are so fully identified in Christ that God sees us as put to death — crucified with Christ — as though we were actually there on the cross when He bore our sins.
We begin our passage at this point. “If we have been planted together in the likeness of His death”, and indeed we have, there are other things that will be absolutely true of us. They are true of us, because they are true of Him. It is not simply that we died with Him. If only that was true, then we would only be dead. That would be the end of us. Yes, we would be dead to sin, but without life, what have we gained? That was our fate anyway!
But as we have just celebrated the “Easter” holiday, where the religious “Christian” world paid lip service to the resurrection of our Lord, we know that this is an actual fact. Christ arose! He actually conquered death, as none in history ever did nor could do1. There were witnesses to this fact:
1 Corinthians 15:4–8 — “…He rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”
This is a fact, but it is not merely a fact of history. It is a fact of history with present and eternal consequences. The eternal consequences are the subject of 1 Corinthians 15. In Romans 6, Paul teaches the present consequences. In Romans 4:25, we learn of the present and eternal combined, in that “He was raised again for our justification”. This is true of us now. We are justified in Christ, perfectly righteous before God as judge, seeing us in His righteousness that He gave to us freely in Christ. This perfect righteousness is how we can have hope for the eternal consequences of the resurrection as well. But the subject at hand is the present consequences of Christ’s resurrection.
“…like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” — Romans 6:4
Romans 6:5 — “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection…”
So united are we to Christ that His resurrection on that greatest day of history is actually our resurrection. When He died, we died. When He was buried, so were we. When He arose, we arose with Him, and now that He lives, we live with Him, in newness of life. This also has consequences. Why did He die? He died unto sin. He died unto sin, and He died unto sin once. He is not going to do it again and again and again. The practical working of this is that in that instant that we were identified with Christ in His death, we also died unto sin. We may not feel that we died unto sin, but indeed we did. We do not live by our feelings or by our sight. We live by faith and walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7). God in His word said that “our old man”, that is, old Adam — the natural man as born in the sinful flesh — is crucified. And this is done to free us from sin. We are, really and truly freed from sin. It is by death.
He that is dead is freed from sin. Dead men no longer sin. Jesus Christ died to sin. He died to sin because all of our sins were placed upon Him, so that it can truly be said that He was made sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). God laid our sins on Him, and did not spare His own Son, “but delivered Him up for us all” (Romans 8:32). When He died to these horrible sins, He was freed from them. We being in Christ are also freed from them, because we are in Him. We do not have to daily die to sin. Our daily duty is to reckon (account, take it as a truth that we make our decisions based on) ourselves dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
How can we, hopeless sinners, be alive unto God? Through Jesus Christ our Lord!
The old life — the history of the believer in Adam — ends at the cross. The identity of the believer as he is in Adam is over. The believer is baptized into Christ. This action is complete, and a settled fact. We are risen with Him also “through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Colossians 2:12), and our “normal Christian life2” is to walk this way.
As a contrast to this normal Christian life, picture the following “rags to riches” story:
Imagine a poor homeless man. His daily life includes dumpster-diving for food, and riding around on a bike that was run over by a car once or twice but still sort of moves. He somehow strikes it rich and finds enough money to live comfortably and thrive for the rest of his life. Now imagine that same formerly homeless man, now very rich, continuing to live just as he did, dumpster-diving, living in a box, and riding around a broken down bike. That would be silly and unimaginably sad. He shouldn’t be living that way, he’s rich! But that is also a picture of the believer who continues in sin and does not walk in newness of life. Reckon that old man dead!
If you are not saved — if you have not believed on the Lord Jesus Christ that He died for your sins and rose again — you are not dead unto sin. You are dead in trespasses and sins and need the quickening that only comes when you place your faith in that finished work of Christ on your behalf. Then, and only then, can you be alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord and walk reckoning that so.
- There were others raised, even those that the Lord raised Himself, before He rose. He was the first to rise under His own power: John 10:17–18 — “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”
- I say “normal” Christian life, as this is the life as it should be. Sadly, it is not the common Christian life.
Husband, father, engineer...Enjoys fishing, archery, guitar, running, and lifting, but most of all reading and studying God's Word.