Presenting ourselves to God: Romans 6: 12 – 14 Tape 4
- Positional Truth: Positional truth is made up of two separate doctrines:
I. Retroactive Positional Truth: When the believer is identified with Christ's spiritual death, this is a historical happening, the moment we trusted Christ as our saviour, at that instant a historical reality takes place. We are identified with Christ and identified with everything that takes place on the cross because of our position in Christ. We are identified with His death (his spiritual and physical death), burial and resurrection. That physical death and burial signifies the judgement on sin so that the rulership of Satan and the sovereignty of the sin nature are broken. Up to that point we are all under the tyranny of the sin nature. So in retroactive positional truth at the moment in time when we trust Christ as saviour we are identified with the event 2000 yrs ago in church history and his death becomes our death.
II. Current Positional Truth: This is identification with Christ in his ascension, compared to retroactive positional truth which goes to Christ in his death, burial and resurrection as a historical event in the past. Now he is currently seated at the right hand of God the Father. So it is identification with Christ as he is now seated at the right hand of the Father in His resurrection ascension and session, it focuses on the provision for the believer of a new spiritual life with its attendant potential blessings. Now these are potential only in the sense that they have been provided for us, they are ours, they have been determined to be ours from eternity past and has nothing to do with what we do or don't do. We do not receive blessing because we are obedient. We receive blessings and these blessing are handed out on the basis of our maturity and as we reach maturity God then bestows those blessings and passes them out because if He gives them too soon they could ruin us. Blessings are not given as rewards they are ours already but they are not activated unless we reach a position where we are ready to handle those particular blessings.
- While identification (retroactive positional truth) with Christ in His physical death and burial connotes the breaking of the power of the sin nature, that act alone does not provide us with anything new it just breaks the power. It is current positional truth that provides us with something new and that is what Paul refers to in verse 4 as "Newness of Life."
Retroactive positional truth cancels the power of the sin nature and it is current Positional truth that provides us with the newness of life.
- There are eternal realities and temporal realities.
The eternal realities are realities we have "in Christ" this incorporates all that He is and all that He has done are ours at the instant or faith alone in Christ alone we are baptised by means of God the Holy Spirit, that means that we are identified with Him legally and judicially so that everything that happens on the cross in effect happened to us at that point so that we died with Him, we were buried with Him, and we rose to new life.
The temporal realities are those realities that are temporal in the Christian life. We are filled by the spirit and walking by the spirit or whether we are out of fellowship in carnality under the sin nature. Prior to salvation we had no choice but to be under the sin nature, but after salvation it is exclusively a matter of our own volition.
- The issue in the past chapters has been the imputation of perfect righteousness. We see that God is + R (perfect righteousness and absolute Justice) and we are – R. The only way God could solve the problem is through a substitute, so Jesus Christ had to serve as that substitute and at the cross all of our unrighteousness and all of our sins are poured out on Him, they are imputed to Him or credited to Him in a judicial imputation and then His righteousness is judicially imputed to us so that when God looks at us it is on the basis of that perfect righteousness and not on the basis of what ever we do, good or bad, under the filling of the spirit or not and so he blesses us totally and exclusively on the basis of our possession of the righteousness of Christ.
- The Three Phases of Salvation:
I. Phase one
Ø Also called positional sanctification.
Ø Phase one takes place at the cross and it takes place in an instant in time, it is not a process. This is the problem with Roman Catholic theology. Justification in Roman Catholic theology is a process; it takes place over time, just as sanctification does. So the happen together and frankly in Roman Catholic theology you never know when you have enough! You are meriting the merit of Christ and every time you participate in one of the seven sacraments, you receive a little more grace. How much grace do you need to be saved? No body knows! They don't understand that phase one is a point in time.
Ø We are freed from the penalty of Sin.
II. Phase two
Ø Also called progressive sanctification.
Ø This is the spiritual life and is called sanctification and it is our growth from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity.
Ø We are freed from the power of sin. That's why up to Romans 6:10 there is no commands, the first imperative verb in Romans is in verse 11, "Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin..." This is a mandate and it is only then that we can realise our freedom from sin.
III. Phase three
Ø Ultimate Sanctification.
Ø Glorification, when we are absent from the body and face to face with the Lord.
Ø We are freed from the presence of sin.
- Positional realities that we have seen in Romans 6: 1 – 11 are:
I. We have been identified with Christ's death so that in His death we truly, historically died to sin. It is not experiential in the sense that we feel something. Or that at the moment of salvation you say 'oh, now I realise I just don't have to sin anymore!' We don't know that until we read the scriptures. See, baptism with the Holy Spirit and identification with Christ is real, its historical it is retroactive. In Christ death on the cross we die but we don't know about it until we come to the scriptures and read about it and study it.
II. We have been buried with Him. We not only died with Him but we were buried with Him.
III. We have been resurrected with Him to new life, the model that Paul uses is that just as He was raised to a new life with God, so we are raised with a new life, a new spiritual life, so that on the basis of that, sin is no longer to be a master over us, we are free from sin.
IV. Salvation is not the end; it's the means to an end. A lot of people think that salvation is the theme of the Bible. But a theme has to express an end, not a means. Salvation is merely a means to an end. What is the end? The end is to glorify God. Towards that end, God gives us the new basis for life, quality of life and capacity of life and that comes only by fulfilling the mandates related to the spiritual life.
V. This new spiritual life is ours positionally but does not become ours in experience until we apply the spiritual life mandates and make those habitual in our lives. That means we have to change!
VI. We are no longer enslaved therefore to the tyranny of the sin nature, we do have a real choice to make now and we can choose not to operate on the power of the sin nature.
Unbelievers can choose whether or not to sin, they can either sin or have human good, but they can not choose not to operate on the sin nature, because they do not have the Holy Spirit, they do not have an alternative power source. All they have is their sin nature, its either personal sin or human good. But we have an option and we can live on the basis of the Holy Spirit.
- Romans 6:11 states, "...Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus..."
The main verb here is LOGIZOMAI it is the present middle imperative, it is a deponent verb, that's the OMAI ending, it is middle in form but it is active in meaning. This means that the believer performs the action in carrying out this command. The word LOGIZOMAI means; to reckon, to calculate, to count, to take into account, to evaluate, to estimate, to think, to ponder, to deliberate and to conclude.
One thing all of those meanings have in common is that this is a function of cognition; this is not a function of emotion. What we learn when we come to that verse is that the key issue, the central issues in the spiritual life are going to be determined by WHAT YOU THINK AND WHAT YOU CHOOSE. That's the battle field. The battle field is between our ears, the battle field is not how we feel. The battle field is not what Satan is doing. The battle field is not what the world is doing. THE BATTLE FIELD IS WHAT WE ARE CHOOSING TO ACT ON BETWEEN OUR EARS. It's what we are choosing to believe, to learn and to act upon.
So the fact that you have an active imperative here, addresses the volition and the meaning of the word addresses cognition. We can go back and see that this is the major emphasis in this whole section.
Ø Verse three, "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptised into Christ Jesus…' then he explains the doctrine.
Ø Then we have a causal adverbial participle in verse 6, "…because we know this, that our old self was crucified with him…"
Ø Then we have a causal adverbial participle in verse 9, "…Because we know Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over him."
Ø Then in verse 11 concludes with a mandate to know something, "...Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus..." it is knowledge, it is thinking.
The Christian life is a life of thought; it is not a life of emotion that does not mean that we do not have emotional responses to the truth as we learn it.
- What has happened in the Christian life is that there has been a legal and judicial change at the point of salvation when we are identified with Christ and the sign of that is the baptism of God the Holy Spirit. That change is just as real. We may feel like the old unsaved person, we still have that sin nature with all of its lust patterns and its inclinations and all of its trends but there has been a real and judicial change that has taken place.
What Paul says is that we need to think about it, focus on it, let it sit on our minds and meditate on it and think about all of its ramifications because it is in the power of the truth that our thinking changes and we begin to realise who and what we are in Christ, post – salvation as opposed to who and what we were under the control of the sin nature prior to salvation.
So the key to sanctification then is in the mentality of what you think and that means you have to think about it. We can't just come to Bible – class and fill up our note books and say 'isn't that wonderful I understand the terminology,' but to go home and think about it, when you are driving home – think about it, when you are alone and have the time to think what all this means and all the ramifications are. Then Paul is going to unpack that for us a little more in the next three verses.
Romans 6: 12, draws out another conclusion, "...Therefore do not [command/ prohibition] let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts..."
Therefore because you have been identified with Christ's crucifixion, because you have been identified with his burial, because you have been identified with His resurrection and given new life, therefore because of that, do not let sin reign. Notice how all of a sudden for five and half chapters there has not been a single command, but now he is just piling up one mandate after another.
Positive command, 'consider yourselves dead to sin,' think about it, calculate it, recon it, deliberate it, conclude; you are dead to sin, therefore because you are dead to sin, don't let sin reign. Which is the present active imperative of prohibition from the word BASILEIOS, which simply means to rule or to reign and indicates the imperial tyranny of the sin nature over the unbeliever? But now because it's an imperative mood we know that that is addressed to the volition of the believer. So now it is up to us, before you were saved you never had a choice, sin always reigned. But now that we are believers we have a choice, sin can dominate or not! What makes the difference? The difference is our volition. See, the sin nature is the source of temptation but it is our volition that is the source of sin. That is the determination. What choice we make. "Therefore do not let sin reign [rule/reign/dominate] in your mortal body…"
Now why this emphasis on the body? We saw earlier in verse 6 "...that our old self was crucified with him..." What is the old man? It is at least the sin nature but it is everything we are under the tyranny/dominion of the sin nature. It is not excluding the sin nature from the meaning of the word but it is more than simply the sin nature and it is more than just the positional death of the sin nature. Because it is that old man that is dead and it is that dominion of the old sin nature that is dead, old man includes all of that. "…That the body of sin…" (The continuing sin nature that stays in our life, that continues to plague us throughout our lives), "…might be done away with." That is the purpose! It is a potential, the reason that we are crucified is for the purpose of doing away with the sin nature. Now that doesn't happen completely until phase three salvation … Now don't go out here and think now I'm going to be sinlessly perfect.
Romans 6: 12, "...Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts..." What Paul says is that you can break it at its core and you do not have to obey those lusts. You can say No! And the power there is the Holy Spirit.
Romans 6: 13, we come across a very interesting phrase. "…and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God..."
Now this is one of those interesting phrases that have a lot of confusion to it, and a lot of different historical aspects to it. You have two imperative verbs in this verse and they are both translated in the NASB version as present. The Old King James version translated it 'yield.' It starts off with an imperative of prohibition, it is a present active imperative of the verb PAR HISTEMI it is a compound verb, and it has a wide variety of meanings. It means to place beside, to put at someone's disposal, to stand, to provide, to place, to bring, to offer, to approach. It has a wide variety of meanings and one of many is the concept to yield! This was the word that was used in the Old King James.
What does yield mean? Submit to the authority of God, to give up your will and replace it with God's will.
There are a number of verses in the New Testament crucial for understanding the spiritual life and that use is the word PAR HISTEMI, an example is in:
Ø Romans 12:1, "I urge you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God to present [PAR HISTEMI] your bodies a living and Holy sacrifice…"
You offer something to someone for there use. It is a term that in this sense is part of our worship. We are presenting our lives to God, we are no longer going to follow our will our dictate which would be from our sin – nature but we are going to replace our thinking with God's thinking and our priorities with his priorities, our plans with his plans and our purposes with his purposes, so that we can serve Him and demonstrate that His will is good, perfect and acceptable.
Ø Colossians 1:22, "Yet He [Jesus Christ] has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to [purpose clause] present you before Him holy [HAGIOS], blameless and beyond reproach…"
That is the goal of sanctification, God's goal for your life is to present us before God, Holy, blameless and beyond reproach. That is idea of PAR HISTEMI, to present or place before or to offer to God.
Ø Colossians 1:28, "And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present [PAR HISTEMI] every man complete [TELEIOS – mature] in Christ."
That is the goal of the pastoral ministry, is to present every believer mature in Christ, and that covers the sanctification theme. That deals with the whole idea of offering ourselves under the authority of God as opposed to our own authority.
Ø 2 Timothy 2: 15, "Be diligent to present [PAR HISTEMI] your-self approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of Truth."
Now, that is the meaning of the word PAR HISTEMI, to present ourselves to God.
History of ideas of Spiritual life…
Romans 6: 13 states, "…and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God."
To bring it into our vernacular is the idea of submitting to the authority of someone. Do not go on submitting to the authority of the sin nature by presenting your body as instruments of unrighteousness but submit yourselves to God's authority as those alive from the dead. See, this goes back to his argument, we are alive from the dead, and we have been crucified with Christ.
Now the difference is that the present tense prohibition indicates stop doing something that you are doing, the aorist tense emphasises the importance of urgency of the action but it is not making it a once off decision, it is not a once for all decision. The aorist just takes all the aspects of something pulls it together and treats it as one thing. It doesn't emphasise it as a once for all decision, that has nothing to do with the aorist tense, it emphasises the inception of the act or the urgency of the act or both, I think its both here. It is urgent because it is a priority in the Christian life, you are not going to get anywhere and you need to start doing it if you haven't been doing it, and that the context here with the Romans. You need to start submitting yourself to the authority of God as those alive from the dead because you are alive from the dead and your members (that is your body, mind and every part of your being), as instruments of righteousness to God.
Why? Romans 6: 14, "For sin shall not be master over you [the tyranny has been broken], for you are not under law, but under Grace."
That's why I went back and traced the break down in church history, when you had that original break down and failure to understand the distinction between Israel and the church, all you are left with is spirituality by morality. Anything an unbeliever can do is not part of the spiritual life, the spiritual life is uniquely the product of God the Holy Spirit, walking by means of the Holy Spirit, producing the fruit of the Spirit, as seen in Galatians Chapter 5. So the principle is that we are no longer under the Law we are under Grace, Christ has done it all, live in the light of this reality.
Father, we thank you that you have done everything for us, not only for salvation but that salvation has provided everything that we need for the spiritual life. It is based on the fact that we have been positionally identified with Christ's death, burial and resurrection. Therefore the power of the sin nature has been broken so that we can truly go forward with out being under the dominion and tyranny of the sin nature. We pray that we would be challenged by these things and that we would find the time to think, reflect and let our mentality be washed by your word. We pray these things in Jesus name, Amen.