Sanctification through union with Christ in His death and Resurrection
Justification and Sanctification are two Aspects of Salvation:
In the first five chapters of Romans, we have seen that we are in need of righteousness. God has provided righteousness through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Therefore being justified by faith in Christ we have peace with God (Rom 5:1). In justification, God declares a sinner righteous. The end of justification is salvation. But our sin nature is not completely removed. Justification deals with the penalty of sin and sanctification deals with the power of sin. Paul explains that the gospel is supposed to produce a transformed life of obedience. Once a sinner is justified, sanctification follows logically and naturally. Some suggest that justification by faith is a dangerous doctrine and it does give us license to sin. The Lord has bought us out from the slave market of sin and set us free, not to go back to serve sin but to serve Him. Therefore the teaching that justification may lead to sinful life style is a gross perversion of divine grace. Thus justification and sanctification are two aspect s of our salvation.
Sanctification and the power of sin: 6:1-2.
Paul starts this chapter with a question. “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” (Rom 6:1). “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law, but under grace”? (6:15). Just because God freely extends his grace and forgiveness. This does not mean we can continue to live in sin. It would be unthinkable to purposely sin in hope of giving God more opportunity to display his grace. Paul’s answer is crystal clear "By no means". Paul argues that it is impossible for Christians to continue in sin since you are dead to sin and have a new nature (Rom 6:2-5). By justification we are released from the guilt of sin. So sin can no longer make any claim on believer. In sanctification we are released from the power of sin (Rom 6:6-8). Paul uses baptism to explain the secret of living a holy and sanctified life. .
Secret of living a sanctified life is Knowing: 6:3-10.
Christians baptism is a symbol of our union and identification with Christ in his death and resurrection. There are three personal responsibilities in relation to God’s sanctifying work in a believer. We must know the fact of our union and identification with Christ in His death and resurrection (Rom 6:3, 9). When we trust Christ, we are identifying us with his death, burial and resurrection. This truth is conveyed through the symbolism of water baptism. We are baptized into Christ. Through Spirit baptism believers are spiritually incorporated to Christ to become members of His body, the Church (1 Cor 12:13). We need to know that our old man is crucified with Him. This simply means our old nature is made powerless so that we do not have to serve our old master. It does not mean our sin nature is annihilated. It is still there but made powerless by the death and resurrection of Christ. Now we can live in the newness of life in Christ. We still live in the old body of sin (Rom 6:7). Sin finds its source in our will and uses the body as instrument to fulfill its desire (James 1:13-15). When Christ died on the cross, He paid the penalty of our sin in full. Christ is raised from the dead so are the believers. Therefore death hath no more dominion over us. Christ died to sin once for all to defeat sin and now lives for the glory of God. What Christ has accomplished on our behalf at Calvary is the first step of our sanctification. We have already started tasting the new life that God has created in us (Rom 6:4).
Reckoning: 6:11, 12.
Justification is declarative act of God. Sanctification is a progressive act of God. Some suggest that sanctification can be achieved only through obeying the law and in some sanctimonious way. Others think that it is a mystical experience. But the Bible teaches that the secret of sanctification is found in knowing what Christ has done for us and by yielding to His will continuously. Jesus' death has broken sin's stranglehold on us (Rom 6:7). His resurrection not only ensures our future physical resurrection but also enables us to live in the newness of life (Rom 6:4). After Knowing our identification with Christ in His death and resurrection, we should reckon ourselves dead to sin and live for the glory of God (Rom 6:11). “Reckon” means to count something true continuously. This daily reckoning will enables us to say no to temptation. Therefore rather than continuing in sin, we must present ourselves as instruments of righteousness and live for the glory of God (Rom 6:13).
This is the third and final secret of sanctification. “Yield your body to God as instruments of righteousness” (6:13). Yield simply means to present ourselves once for all as alive from the dead work for God’s Possession and usefulness. Instead of living recklessly feeding our sinful desire, we should present our body as instrument of righteousness. Do not submit your body to sin but present to God to do His will, knowing that you have been brought from death to life. You are set free from the power of sin and enables to live tin the newness of life (Rom 6:4). So what is your response? Do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey its passions (Rom 6:12). Do not preset your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin (Rom 6:13). And present yourselves to God. The best defense is a good offense. What better offense against sin than a godly lifestyle? When we accept these three facts, knowing, reckoning and yielding by faith, sin will not have dominion over us because Jesus has broken sin's stronghold on us (Rom 6:7). And by divine grace we become instruments of righteousness. It is the grace of God that breaks the power of sin and gives us the victory over sin.
Sanctification and the practice of sin: 6:15-23.
Paul again asks the question, “What then? Shall we sin? “God forbid.” Here in verse 15, Paul deals with occasional sin in Christian life. Shall we commit even an occasional sin? Paul answers: “Certainly not.” It is not permissible to fall into sin once in a while. Paul makes his point by quoting Christ’s own words here. “No man can serve two masters” (Matt 6:24). Paul uses the analogy of a slave market. Believers are dead to sin and set free from sin. Therefore sin is no longer our master. We serve a new master, Jesus Christ. We are slave to the person to whom we surrender. So we should present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1).This is our active dedication to the Lord.Those who trust in Christ experience a heart-transformation that enables them to live in obedience to God. Someone said "This is not a behavior modification but life transformation". Yielding to sin will brings death but yielding to Christ brings righteousness. We must be thankful to God for setting us free from serving sin. The end result of freedom from the bondage of sin is, sanctification and eternal life (Rom 6:22). Verse 23 shows the contrast between serving sin and serving God. The outcome of serving sin is death. But the outcome of serving God is the free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.