Dying and Rising In Good Company

Reading: Romans Chapter 6

By Pastor Alex

In order to help kick off our September theme, the spiritual discipline of meditation on the Word, I chose a small piece of Romans Chapter 6, and meditated on that truth. Here is the result. Be encouraged today with our challenge: spend 5+ minutes meditating on a verse!

"For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin." (Romans 6:5-6)

Do we comprehend that the way to closeness with Jesus is the cross? Do we agree that we should experience our own cross, that our old self should be crucified with Him? We are united with Him in that death to self, and it paves the way for being united with Him in holiness, in newness of life. As one preacher said, God has only promised us two things: a cross to die on and eternal life. In these two things He also promises this miracle: that we will know Him.

When Jesus died on the cross He dealt with sin. It was not His own sin, but He felt the weight of it, and the weight was very real. As we are united with Him in a death like His, some things immediately die. There are other things in us, however, that God allows to die more slowly, things that require us to actively put them to death. As you walk further with Jesus and “press on to know the Lord” (Hosea 6:3), He will reveal to you things in your own heart and ways that you may never have seen before but that are sin before God. Our flesh wants to avoid seeing it altogether. But to stop running, to feel the weight of it, to resist the temptation to be defensive, and to come to terms with our true state is indeed God’s will for us. That is part of letting our old self die with Him. Jesus felt the weight of sin on the cross and dealt with it there once and for all, though He was sinless. As we take up our crosses, we must at times feel the weight of our sin and deal with it too. We are called to a death like His, and there is no cross without pain. “Why don’t you just take it all away, Lord?!” we cry. “Just make me perfect inside and out already!” Why does God make us sometimes stare our failures and blemishes in the face like a mountain we cannot move? I won’t pretend to know all God’s reasons, but I do know that it prevents us from taking our sin and temptation lightly. Jesus didn’t deal with our sin on the cross by ignoring or glossing over it; He felt the weight. If we feel the weight, God can use it to burn away carelessness and indifference from our hearts; our faces are suddenly set more like flint, soberly determined to do the will of God.

We can know with blessed assurance that when God points these things out in us, His purpose is always that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. The miracle of resurrection life is available to every Christian willing to take part in the cross. Think of Jesus: His submission to death, even death on a cross, was the part that cost Him everything, requiring His willful obedience moment by moment. But the resurrection… that was God’s part. The reward that was labored for on the cross was freely poured out in resurrection. Likewise, we simply need to willfully submit to the cross in our lives. We simply need to set our face like flint, and trust God for the fire. We simply need to continually count ourselves dead to sin, and the fruit of Holy Spirit life within us will faithfully come, as we offer ourselves to the Lord wholeheartedly.

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