In-depth Study On Romans Chapters 6-8

I posted the introduction to this study in the General Discussion Forum but I will post the rest of the lessons here if some of you are interested in this study on Romans Chapters 6-8.

Five likes will allow me to proceed, so read the General Discussion entry and make your vote.
I posted the introduction to this study in the General Discussion Forum but I will post the rest of the lessons here if some of you are interested in this study on Romans Chapters 6-8.

Five likes will allow me to proceed, so read the General Discussion entry and make your vote.

I vote YES.

It is always a good thing to discuss the Bible in any format presented IMO.
Romans Six

Dead To Sin And Alive To God

Paul begins chapter six, referring to the last four verses of chapter five.

Rom 5:17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
Rom 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
Rom 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Rom 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
Rom 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

In those above verses, he summarized the results of the disobedience of Adam, contrasted with the results of the obedience of Jesus. The highlight of those results was the release of God's grace to all mankind.

In the first paragraph of chaptersix, Paul lays the foundation for all that follows. His concern is to answer the question raised in verse one.

Paul was attacked as soon as he introduced the doctrine that we receive our justification through the grace of God because of nothing more than our faith in what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross.

Specifically, two groups of people were his attackers. One group contended if faith in Jesus automatically triggered God's grace, and if God's grace was all-forgiving, man could do anything he felt like doing. Regardless of how immoral it might be, he would be safe so long as he professed faith in Jesus. This is called the antinomian theology. It promotes confession, but overlooks immorality. It is an obvious abuse of the grace of God in order to rationalize unbridled behavior.

The other group, the legalists, insisted that man had to choose between grace and law, since the two were as incompatible as oil and water. The legalists were so deeply entrenched in the law that they were unable to see any way in which grace could co-exist; therefore, the doctrine of grace could not be considered.

Of course, both of these arguments are direct perversions of the doctrine of justification by grace through faith, which Paul is attempting to explain.

Even in modern day Christianity, the magnitude of the grace of God is difficult to accept. Our nature prompts us to feel that we must do something to influence God to keep open the door to heaven. Consequently, we spend a great deal of time attempting to win spiritual brownie points. We feel we must earn our way by praying, or reading the Bible, or serving humanity. These are all good works which demonstrate our faith, but they have nothing to do with our initial salvation.

Lesson 1

The Symbolic Message Of Baptism

Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
Rom 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Rom 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Rom 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that 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.
Rom 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:

Paul begins this phase of the gospel message with a series of questions, obviously addressed to his attackers.

First, he goes after the false assumption that the Law of Moses was added to put the spotlight on sin itself, the profusion of sin in the world (Romans 5:20,21), and that the increase of sin causes God's grace to be magnified.

If this is actually true, one might logically reason that we should sin all the more. The argument being that this would allow God to receive more glory, because of the magnification of His grace. Thus, the question of verse one is, "...Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?"

Paul answers his own question with, "God forbid!", which demonstrates his absolute abhorrence of the idea. He then offers another question which reveals the absurdity of such reasoning:"How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therin?"

That was a radical question, and it probably got the immediate attention of everyone. Paul was opening the door to his main subject of this section, which is the believer's death to sin, and his subsequent life in Christ.

In an effort to develop more fully the concept of the believer's death to sin, the Apostle draws our attention to the symbolic meaning of the ordinance of baptism.

Paul assumes we recognize the importance and the meaning of our baptism to be a sign of our willingness to be identified with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Specifically, he assumes we understand that baptism is the outward, symbolic expression of what has happened in the believer's heart: a genuine spiritual union with Christ.

At the moment of salvation we receive the Spirit of Christ; therefore, we are spirituallyimmersed into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). The act of baptism represents that fact by a corresonding physical immersion.

This also places us into relationship with a group of like-minded believers, a local body of Christ. Paul, as well as every other writer in the New Testament, assumes each believer will follow the Lord's directive concerning baptism, as given in (Matthew 28:19).

To be baptized into Christ means to be immersed into or joined tightly (as if fused together) to all Christ is and all that Christ does. Paul elaborates on the believer's baptism into Christ by informing us we are joined spiritually (or, eternally) with Christ in His death, His burial and His resurrection.

This means all believers, upon accepting Christ, are considered by God to have died with Christ on the cross, to have been buried with Christ in the tomb, and to have been raised with Christ as if born anew. From God's eternal vantage point, our old life ended and a new life began, simply because we accepted, in faith, God's grace. Water baptism, then, is our symbolic statement that this happened, and that it is our intention to walk out our new life in Christ.

Because of this new position, this union with Christ, it is impossible for the believer in Jesus Christ to continue in the realm of sin. Instead, we are spiritually united with the One who, through His own death, has delivered us from sin. Although this is a spiritual fact, it must be worked out progressively on earth.

Death is an integral part of resurrection. There can be no resurrection until there is first death. Our Lord placed no empasis upon physical death, but He spoke often of our need for moral and spiritual death. Our death and resurrection is something God has accomplished eternally. Our responsibility is to work it out progressively while we are still in the flesh. Dying to self begins by bringing every thoughtinto captivity to Christ. This is primary, because every sin begins with a thought (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Our union with Christ is a fact which needs to be understood clearly, and continually accepted by each believer. In describing our position in Christ, Paul emphasized that we are spiritually joined to Christ in His death, His burial, and His resurrection. This enables us to "walk in newness of life" (Romans 1:3,4)

Initially, we may have a tendency to strain ourselves as we attempt to bring our carnal minds and our unbridled flesh into line with Paul's words. Eventually, however, we learn that only Christ can make us Christlike, so we settle down and begin to spend all our energies focusing upon Him.

It is important for us to understand that our new birth is not a conception of something which comes forth from us. It is a thing which enters into us. It is the birth of the life of the Son of God which enters and causes a transfiguration to take place. The death of the "old" and the resurrection of the "new."

It is a vital transaction which created within us an eternal relationship. We no longer just knowabout God, intellectually. We now know God, personally. Amen!

Ponder these questions:

  1. How would I describe my death to sin?
  2. How does the ordinace of baptism relate to my death to sin?
  3. What do I mean when I say I am spiritually immersed into Christ?
  4. How would I explain that I have died with Christ and have been burried with Him in death?
  5. In what way have I been resurrected with Christ?
  6. In what way have I stepped into an eternal existence?
Lesson 2

Our New Life Is Christ's Life

On the night before He was crucified, Jesus met with His disciples in the upper room. Among other things, He taught them how to continue to live His life after His departure.

He first gave them a marvelous object lesson on humility and service. He laid aside His outer garments and washed their feet, as if He were a slave (John 13:13-15). He made it clear that His disciples should have His attitude of purpose. "Not to be ministered unto, but to minister" (Matthew 20:27,28)

Next, He gave them a single "new commandment" to live by. He told them to love others as He loved them (John 13:34,35). He had concerned Himself about their welfare, He had comforted and counselled them, He had prayed with them and for them, and He had even declared publicly that they were as dear to Him as His own family. Now He commanded His disciples to treat others the same as He had treated them.

He promised them that they would do greater things than He had done (John 14:12), and warned them that they could expect to suffer as He had suffered. Though Jesus was about to depart at the time of this promise, His work would not end. He told His disciples they should pursue His work as vigorously and as successfully as ever, and that work continues to this day.

Also, every committed disciple suffers in some way because of his commitment, even today. He can expect to be rejected by many, and mistreated by some.

There is an essential difference between a believer and the world. This difference incites the contempt of the world, and ignites the flame of hatred in the spirit that is in the world.

Finally, He assured them they would receive another Comforter, who would be to them as He had been. It was His promise to send the Holy Spirit to guide, to empower, and to teach them to walk in this newness of life (John 16: 12-25).

Without the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit, the disciple's life would be filled with frustration. Because of the presence of the Holy Spirit, the disciple is treated to the steadfast love and faithfulness of God in a new way every morning (Lamentations 3:23)

The Apostle Paul frequently revealed the mystery of:

To the Colossians, he revealed the mystery of:
"Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27)

To the Galatians, he testified:
"I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." (Galatians 2:20)

To the Philippians, he summerized it all by saying:
"For me to live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21)

To the Romans, he explained:
"For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection". (Romans 6:5).

  1. How would I describe humility?
  2. If I have not been ordained, how can I become a minister?
  3. How could I possibly learn to love others as Jesus loved them?
  4. What kind of suffering can I expect to experience as a disciple of Christ?
  5. How do I feel about the presence of the Holy Spirit?
  6. In what way do I need the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit?
Lesson 3

Our New Life Is Lived By Grace Through Faith

The manner in which we are priveleged to walk in newness of life is best described as, "by grace, through faith." This is not new to us, because it is in this manner that we first experienced the new life in Christ. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8,9).

Seeking to encourage the Colossians in their new life in Christ, Paul tells them, "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him." (Colossians 2:6) Walking in the "newness of life" is the equivalent to walking in the Lord. We receive Jesus Christ only on the basis of:
  1. God's grace (His undeserved favor and kindness)
  2. Our faith
It is therefore reasonable to expect that we continue in the Lord on the same basis:
  1. God's grace (His undeserved favor and kindness)
  2. Our faith
Initially, the emphasis of our faith was upon salvation from the guilt and penalty of sin in the past. Now the emphasis of our faith is upon salvation from the habit and dominion of sin in our everyday lives.

Even though the emphasis of our faith changes, the object of our faith remains the Person and the work of Jesus Christ. Paul described the manner in which he walked in newness of life, when he wrote: "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith on the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)

The point here is that the new life Paul was living in his body was lived only by trusting Jesus Christ. This is a total departure from the lifestyle the lifestyle which we are accustomed. It is not an easy thing to put our total trust in another person, even if that person is God.

"By grace, through faith," is the only way this new life of ours can be lived. If we attempt to rely upon our own energies and natural abilities to love, serve, suffer, and work as Christ did, we are doomed to failure. Paul called such carnal efforts to make oneself-righteous "foolishness." He asked the Galatian legalists, "Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" (Galatians 3:3)

Just as the average Christian today, the Galatians began to feel some kind of lawful behavior to be acceptable to God. They understood the sacrifice of Christ, but they could not comprehend the grace of God, as He sealed their union with Christ in that sacrifice.

God's grace is not some lavish thing that we can just sit back and take advantage of. We are incorrect if we feel that He doesn't require anything at all of us. It is only after we have been saved by His grace that He begins to require something of us. We are the ones who are responsible for putting God's grace into practice. God will do our walking for us. He created us to do that. But we can only do it as we draw from the reservoir of His grace.

It is absolutely impossible to "walk in newness of life," by our own natural efforts. We must continually rely upon Christ to live through us by His Holy Spirit. This simply takes concentration and practice. It is not beyond the reach of any Christian. "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:15)

Answer these questions:

  1. How would I describe walking in newness of life?
  2. How do I exercise my faith in order to walk in God's grace?
  3. How do I become free from the habit and dominion of sin in my life?
  4. How can I demonstrate trust in Jesus Christ on a daily basis?
  5. How would I explain my union with Christ?
  6. In what way does the Holy Spirit keep me from fulfilling the lust of the flesh?
Lesson 4

The Results Of Our New Life

Walking in the newness of life produces radical personality changes, as we find ourselves being progressively conformed by the Holy Spirit to the image of Christ. Our understanding of what life is all about undergoes some subtle changes. For one thing, we become conscious of spiritual realities we have never seen before (1 Corinthians 2:9-16).

Even our thoughts begin to change, as the Holy Spirit rearranges and renews our minds (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:17, 18, 23). We do not deliberately change our thoughts ourselves. Our part is to focus on Christ and He makes the changes.

Like a gentle wind, the Holy Spirit blows our carnal thoughts away, then brings behind them precious thoughts from the Word of God. These new thoughts are a gift from God for everyone who is learning to hear from Him.

Changes in our thinking naturally produce changes in our feelings. We begin to experience true love, joy and peace for the first time in our lives. Because we still have some of our old nature, we may even feel guilty about feeling so good. But this will pass as the Holy Spirit continues His work.

At this point we are a lot like the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-24). The prodigal's knowledge of his father after his "new birth" was something he had never experienced before. He really did not know his father until grace came in.

After emerging from a desolate relationship with the man whom he had simply called father, he moved into a first-hand, intimate bonding, because the spirit of son-ship was born within him. As with the prodigal, this is available to us only through our Father's grace, by way of the new birth.

Ultimately, our behavior undergoes a radical change. As we start to perceive and think and feel differently, we begin to behave differently, because our behavior reflects what is going on inside us. We are surprised o discover that we can truly love, forgive, edify and comfort others.

In addition, how we spend our time and our energies, and even our money, begins to reflect the character of our Savior.

Finally, the way in which we cope with the everyday trials of this world becomes a spontaneous witness to others. We actually begin to reflect Christ. He and He alone becomes our resource for living and serving. We surrender our power to His power, our nature to His nature, our goals to His goal.

Walking in the newness of life is the most exciting and satisfying life possible. But, because it is a supernatural lifestyle, it requires continual faith in the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.

What it boils down to is this: To the extent that we are willing to trust the leadership and power of the Holy Spirit, rather than our own natural resources and abilities, we will walk in newness of life.

Answer these questions:
  1. In what way has my personality changed as I have allowed myself to be led by the Holy Spirit?
  2. In what way have I noticed a change in my thought patterns?
  3. In what way is my experience with God similar to the prodigal son's experience with his father?
  4. How is my behavior changing?
  5. To what degree have I made Christ my only Source for living and serving?
Lesson 5

The Crucifixion Of The Old Man

(v6) 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. (v7) For he that is dead is freed from sin. (v8) Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him: (v9) Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him. (v10) For in that He died, He died unto sin once; but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God.

In this section, Paul explains that understanding our position in Christ, through God's eyes, is the necessary basis for our "walking in newness of life." The introductory words, "knowing this," emphasize the point that our postion, as God sees us, should be common knowledge among believers.

Thus, Paul emphasizes the importance of our knowing and accepting this truth concerning our eternal position. It is the failure to know and to understand how God visualizes us in His eyes, that ultimately leads us to defeat in our Christian walk. For this reason, Paul emphasizes the importance of knowing this positional truth.

In (Colossians 1:9), Paul prayed that all believers might be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spirtual wisdom and understanding. In this sense, he was praying that we might grasp the fuller meaning of God's intention, and that we might have the ability to apply that knowledge to the benefit of all.

It is a matter of intuitive recognition, or perception of the hidden nature of things, different from the outward impression made upon the senses, which calls for thought and reasoning.

Spiritual understanding is something more. It is the faculty of a renewed spirit, the exclusive work of the Holy Spirit.

The central fact of our position before God is described as the crucifixion of the "old man." This means the unregenerate and sinful person we were, as the natural descendant of Adam, has been declared eternally dead, as far as God is concerned.From God's perspective, not only has our "old man" been crucified and buried with Christ, in addition, our resurrection with Christ has produced within us a "new man."

It is absolutely necessary that we grasp the reality of what Paul is talking about before we go any futher. When we were in the womb, God breathed life into us. Our life is in our spirit; therefore, our spirit-person came into being in the womb.

Because we were not supernaturally conceived, as Jesus was, we inherited the genetic nature of Adam, the sinful nature, which Paul identifies as the "old man."

But, as beievers, something very special has happened. At the moment we accepted Jesus Christ into our heart and determined to make Him Lord of our lives, a transplantation took place under the directive of God, the Father. Our original spirit-person, our "old man" became linked with Christ on the cross. It was crucified, along with Christ, and was buried with Him (remember, this was an eternal transaction, not limited by the time span of 2,000 years).

Then, a glorious thing occured! God gave us a new spirit-person. We became a new creature with a new nature; a spiritual mam with a spiritual mind, linked inseparably with Jesus! We now have the Spirit of Christ resident within our spirit. The Spirit of Christ is incapable of sin; therefore, our spirit-person is incapable of sin!

In the meantime, we did not die physically. Our "new man," with its "new nature," was placed within the confines of our old bodies, our earthen vessels, which have been accustomed to the habits and characteristics of the "old man."

Because of this, our old patterns of behavior have a tendency to persist. At the present time, the brain waves and habit patterns established under the influence of the "old man" distort our communion with God. Our responsibility, then, is to strengthen our unification with Christ, so He may increase in order for our carnal habits to decrease.

The practical value of the crucifixion of the "old man" is given in the remaining verses of this section. In the heavenlies, our "old man" Adam, has been pronounced legally dead. Because this is an eternal mandate, a truth spoken into existence by God through His Word, our "old man" no longer controls or coditions our body. Thus, the influence of our sinful body (body controlled by sin) has been eternally destroyed through the destruction of the "old man" who, up to this point, had been governing the body.

The ultimate purpose of the crucifixion of the "old man," along with its sinful influence on the body, is that we are to be no longer enslaved by sin. Due to the fact that our "old man" has been crucified and, with it, its corrupting influence on our bodies, we no longer have to serve sin.

Verse 7 verifies this point by declaring that the dead can no longer sin; therefore, all who are dead in Christ are "justified" from sin. This means that God has declared us to be righteous because the death penalty for sin was paid when we entered into our union with Christ, and His death on the cross.

It is extremely important for the believer to persist in these facts constantly. Although the crucifixion of the "old man" and the resurrection of the "new man" took place when we were first saved by faith, we did not immediately experience a Divine sensation within. Thus, our problem is that we still tend to think of ourselves as the "old man" in Adam rather than the "new man" in Christ. As will be developed in a later section, this misunderstanding leads us to inappropriate feelings and behavior.

In verses 8 through 10, the positive results of the crucifixion of the "old man" are described. Our willingness to die with Christ (crucifixion of the "old man") guarantees our living with Christ (resurrected with Jesus).

Because of our spiritual union with Christ, we are joined to Him; therefore, we not only die with Him, but we also live with Him. We know that it was necessary for Christ to die only once to sin, and that His resurrection cannot be reversed. Likewise, in the eyes of God, the believer, through his union with Christ, dies only once to sin and he can never again be under its penalty.

Answer these questions

  1. If I were asked to explain how God visualizes me in His eyes, what would be my answer?
  2. I have not been physically crucified, yet God says my "old man" has been crucified with Christ. What does that mean?
  3. How would I describe the "transplantation" which has taken place within me?
  4. How can I get my old, carnal habit patterns to diminish?
  5. In what way have the dominant influences in my life changed?
  6. In what way have I paid the death penalty for my sin?
Lesson 6

Practicle Applications

(v11) Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

In verse 11, the believer is called upon to apply the truth set forth in this section concerning his position in Christ, as God sees him. We are to "reckon," or consider, or depend upon the fact, that we are actually dead to sin. This implies we understand what has happened. It also implies we are willing to rely upon it as an eternal truth.

We accept the fact that God crucified our "old man" with Christ, and that we no longer have to submit to its control over our bodies. We are not commanded to become dead to sin, but to simply count on the fact that we already are dead to sin. At the same time we are to count on being dead to sin, we are also to count on being alive unto God.

This means we must not simply focus on the fact that our "old man" is dead. We must be aware that we are now a "new man," resurrected and enabled to live dedicated to God. Thus, at the same time the power of the "old man" is removed, the power of the "new man" becomes a reality.

The overriding thought of this passage is that it becomes impossible for the believer, who has the Spirit of Jesus Christ residing within him, to continue in sin. By virtue of our spiritual union with Christ, we are legally dead to sin, but alive to God. This is an eternal fact.

Perhaps it would be a good idea for us to take a breath at this moment and remind ourselves that God's purpose for all this is not just to make us feel good. He has a Divine, predestined purpose for our lives, which requires the implementation of His grace. We could miss the point, as Peter did in the upper room. When Jesus told him, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part of me." Peter quickly replied, "Not my feet only, but also my hands and my head." It was the old nature of Peter saying, "Give me my blessing, and make it a double!" Jesus was trying to teach the Disciples self emptying, but Peter was preoccupied with self-filling. Let's be careful not to fall into the same trap.

Through God's love and grace we enjoy the privilege of perfect righteousness in His sight. As far as God is concerned, all believers are already conformed to the image of Jesus Christ and, therefore, cannot continue in sin. If we will accept this, God will impart to us the power to live a godly life. This is our potential, and God has made it possible to become a reality. Our responsibility is to count on, or trust in the fact that we are dead to sin, but alive to God.

We accomplish this by adjusting our focus. When we focus our attention on who we now are in Christ, rather than who we were in Adam, we begin to accept, by faith, our position in Christ. As we believe in our eternal position in Christ, we become secure enough in God's love to honestly confess our present condition here on earth.

Such confession guarantees forgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:9), so that our condition gradually aligns itself with our position. As this takes place, the truth of Paul's words becomes the truth in our lives.

Answer these questions:

  1. If I am dead to sin, how did it happen?
  2. Why couldn't I be alive to God before my "new man" was resurrected?
  3. Why is it actually impossible for the "new me" (my new spirit-being) to sin?
  4. How do I receive the impartation of God's power to live a godly life?
  5. How can I fix my focus on who I am in Christ?
  6. How can I get my present condition to align itself with my eternal position?
Lesson 7

Sin Shall Not Have Dominion

Rom 6:12 Let not sin therefore, reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

In these verses, Paul tells us it is time to shape up. If we truly believe what we have learned in verses Rom 6:3-10, we should be ready to apply those truths in our everyday walk. The old spirit-person, which Paul calls our "old man" has been done away with by the sovereign touch of God; therefore, Paul exhorts us that we should not let sin continue to reign.

By this, Paul means that our attitude needs to line up with the truth. He is not accusing us of unrestrained carnality. His concern is with our hesitation to step out on the truths we have learned.

We are apprehensive because we have not felt any great inner change. The transplantation of the new spirit-person to replace the old spirit-person was not something we were aware of physically, because it was a spiritual event.

As a result, it is difficult for us to accept that we have a new nature which is incapable of sin. It is especially difficult, since we still experience some of the same thoughts and desires we had before our salvation. All of these conflicting feelings convince us we are still the "old man." This false identity produces wrong feelings which lead to improper attitudes and behavior.

Our problem is that from the day we were born we have been dominated, controlled, and ruled by the "old man." We have been under its influence 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year, for our entire lives. Obviously, this has made a profound impression upon us. It has establishedhabit patterns and personality characteristics which have become second nature to us. In short, we have been programmed by the "old man."

During that time we "were dead in trespasses and sins," we "walked according to the course of this world," and we were "fulfilling the desires of the flesh" (Ephesians 2:1-3). All our experiences were associated with the reign of the "old man." This produced a sinful nature, deeply ingrained, and difficult to deal with.

Because we were under the worldly influence of the "old ma," our efforts to find personal worth in our lives were confined to things, and meaningful relationships, and worthwhile activities. Our best efforts always left us unfulfilled, and at times we felt worthless. The "old man" had conditioned us to believe the best we could hope for was the temporary pleasures of a natural life.

Then one day we were introduced to Jesus Christ and we accepted Him as our personal Savior. At that moment of salvation, we experienced something totally new and different. For the first time in our lives, we received a touch of real joy, plus a sense that perhaps we did not have some personal worth, after all.

As we opened ourselves to receive the supernatural ministry of the Holy Spirit, we discovered that our sins were forgiven and that we were acceptable by God as His adopted children. This brought a sense of relief, comfort, and peace mixed together. Simply because we belived Jesus paid for our sins on the cross, we became free of the guilt and penalty of our sin. This great event brought a new perspective on life.

Accepting the fact that all these wonderful things are true, why do we still seem to be dissatisfied? Why is our new found joy so elusive? Also, why is our quality of life virtually unchanged from the way it was before our salvation experience?

When we ask others that question, they usually begin to inquire about our conduct. The implication is that if we will do the "proper" Christian things, our joy will be restored. To some degree that is true, but it is certainly not the truth.

What we fail to consider is that the Holy Spirit is at work in us, and He is going to uncover us and show us thoroughly that there is nothing to be relied upon in us. He will make it perfectly clear that only in Christ is there any security, any safety, and any life.

If we accept the answer that our performance is the solution to our problem, we are likely to start "chasing rabbits" in an effort to improve our condition. We may engage in more bible study, more church attendance, more giving, more witnessing, and on and on. We may build up a "Christian sweat" in all these activities, but we will inevitably discover we still lack the joy and satisfaction we once knew.

Convinced that the solution to our problem lies in our activities, we may be spurred on by an emotional appeal from the pulpit, or by an inspirational worship service. Even though we stir up an additional flurry of good works, we still fail to regain our original joy and satisfaction. Finally, we become so frustrated we give up and resign ourselves to the misconception that Christian life is simply a dreary set of obligations with little or no reward during our time on earth.

But, there really is an answer. There really is a solution to our problem. Obviously, the key to maintaining or regaining the joy and satisfaction of our salvation is not primarily dependent upon our behavior. It is, instead, dependent upon our beliefs.

When we decide to believe in Christ, the Holy Spirit can come in and make Christ real in us. He will teach us victory, and teach us mastery, and teach us by deliverance how not to become a prey to good or bad feelings in ourselves, but to live on another level altogether.

The reason for our loss of joy is our realization that we still possess a sinful and depraved nature, conditioned into us by our "old man." Many new Christians are shocked to discover they still have the same old sinful desires they had before they were saved. An even greater shock can come if they find themselves actually doing the one thing they thought they would never do again.

At this point, the influence of the"old man" begins to resurface with intensity. It begins to dominate their thoughts to such a degree that they may even quit believing they could ever be "in Christ."

The young Christian forgets he was crucified with Christ, and he naively tries to control the "old man" with a set of rules. The result is that he is unmercifully defeated. The avenue is now open for a vicious cycle to set in. The more he concentrates his energies upon ridding himself of his old sin nature by controlling his behavior (by rules, which is law), the more e is inclined toresign himself as still being in Adam. He dosen't realize he is attempting to fight flesh with flesh; therefore, his effortsalways end in defeat.

Finally, he concludes:
  • he was never really saved, or
  • he is forced to live an empty, defeated Christian life.
At this point, Paul's instruction in Romans 6:11 (consider yourselves to be dead to sin but alive to Christ) must be applied. And the command of Romans 6:12 (do not let sin reign) must be obeyed.

Rather than being shocked by our old nature of sin and becoming obsessed with its dominion and rule over us, we should recognize it for what it is. We are experiencing our conditioned reflexes, caused by years of influence by the "old man."

But Paul has admonished us to believe and to count on the fact that God has crucified the "old man." He instructs us to quit allowing that old nature or conditioning to dominate our thoughts about ourselves. Such thoughts are self-defeating. Instead, we are to trust our God to have already put to death our man in Adam, and to quit trying to kill it ourselves.

If we really believe our "old man" is crucified with Christ, why should we concern ourselves with trying to overcome it? If God said it is dead, it is dead! The reason we think it continues to live and reign in our body is because we focus all our attention and energy pon it, and upon how we are going o get id of it.

If we persistin the belief that we are still our "old man," we will have no choice but to continue to worry about it. We will become so preoccupied with it that we will:
  • allow it to rule and reign in our mortal body;
  • eventually obey its desires;
  • yield our members as instruments of unrighteousness.
It becomes obvious, then, that what we believe becomes crucial! The determining factor in maintaining or regaining the joy of our salvation is not so much what we do, as it is what we believe about who we really are.

We can try to regain the joy of our salvation by changing our behavior or by seeking emotional experiences, but the true joy of our salvation will never be recovered until we return to the original source.

The tremendous sense of relief and joy that floods the newborn soul did not come as a result of our behavior. If so, that would mean salvation is by works (conduct) rather than by faith. Neither did the joy of our salvation come by our searching for a mystical experience of some sort.

Instead, the joy o our salvation came as a result of our believing in Jesus Christ and accepting His offer of a new life. If we are to know that same joy, we have no alternative but to turn to what we believe and accept aboutthe Person of Christ.

A word of warning: We should not begin to believe in our beliefs about Jesus. That is a religious exercise which can kill the sovereign move of God in our lives. We must believe Jesus, not just our beliefs about Him. Not to do this is to bring Jesus down to the standard of our beliefs, instead of allowing Him to elevate us to His standard.

Before looking to some of the beliefs necessary for true Christian joy, we need to consider another source of diffiulty experienced by the joyless believer. Not only must we recognize that our joyis not determined as a direct result of our conduct or experiences, we must also recognize that joy is not an end in itself.

Our natural desire for joy and satisfaction often traps us into thinking that joy is some quality which may be achieved in and of itself. However, the Bible represents joy as a by-product of faith, and of the life that is begun and motivated by that faith.

After having instructed His disciples concerning their need to abide in Him in order to bear fruit through keeping His commandments, Jesus said, "These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full" (John 5:11).

Prior to the above statement, Jesus gave an analogy about a vine and its fruit bearing branches as a key to understanding and continuing to experience the true of salvation. Again, we see that although joy is something we all want to experience, it can never be an end in itself. Instead, it is one of the side benefits which come as we exercise our faith and step out in obedience to the words of our Savior concerning our relationship to Him.

The Bible presents astounding facts about the believer's relationship to Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. To the degree that we recognize and, by faith, accept these facts as true, we shall experience the joy of salvation.

If we engage in good works without faith in these facts, we will not experience joy. Likewise, if we attempt to have some sort of mystical experience apart from faith in these facts, we will be disappointed.

Only when we believe what God says about our position in Christ will we experience true joy. Only after we accept who we are in Christ will we be able to abide in Himand know the true joy of obedience to His commandments, and the satisfaction of bearing much fruit.

For the sake of brevity we shall simply summarizesome of the more outstanding facts the Bible reveals concerning our position in Christ as a believer. Everyone would benefit from a diligent study of these and other "in Christ" passages of the New Testament in order to gain a deeper understanding of who we really are in God's eyes.
  • As far as God is concerned, every believer is a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10). This simply means that at salvation the Holy Spirit creates a new spirit-person inside our old earthen vessel.
  • Accordingly, we are accepted, forgiven, holy and without blame before God (Ephesian 1:4-7; Colossians 2:10-14).
  • In addition, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13).
  • We were raisedto sit in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:19-22).
  • We enjoy a high calling and purpose (Phillippians 3:14; 2 Timothy 1:9).
  • Because of our union with Christ, we have His eternal, righteous life (Romans 8:9-11; Galatians 2:20).
  • We are eternally complete in Him (Colossians 2:10).
All that we are in Christ is what Jesus referred to as the vine-branch relationship in John 15:4,5: "Abidein me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing."

This vine-branch relationship is vital! We come into it it when we receive Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, and the joy of our salvation is one of the natural results of that relationship. Then, as we continue to accept our position in Christ by faith, and we commit ourselves to maintaining that position, we will abide in Him. And as we continue to abide in Christ, the natural outcome is to bring forth much fruit, to the glory of the Father.

The key to regaining the joy of salvation, then, is not in somehow trying to bear fruit on our own. but rather in utilizing our faith to abide in the true vine. The part we play in our act of abiding in Christ is the persistence of our faith in accepting our position in Christ as reality, in spite of our personal failures and our adverse circumstances.

We are to form the habit of abiding until we come into a relationship with Christ where we rely upon Him almost unconsciously in every aspect of our lives.

The product of our abiding in Christ is His guarantee that we shall bear much fruit, to the glory of the Father. And, finally, it is in glorifying the Father hat we shall receive true joy and satisfaction. The whole process may be summarized according to the following:

By this we can see that if we seek the joy and satisfaction of salvation as an end in itself, we cannot find it: "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it." (Luke 9:24)

Along that same line, if we seek to bear much fruit without abiding in Christ, we shall never find the true joy of salvation: "for without Me you can do nothing." So we see that the only appropriate way for us to experience the joy and satisfaction of salvation is to continue to accept what Christ has done for us.

"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus, the Lord, so walk ye in Him." (Colossians 2:6) We received Christ Jesus the only way available to us, that is, by grace (unmerited favor), through faith. We must continue to take each step of our walk as believers exactly the same way by grace, through faith. When we do, we experience the joy we first knew in Christ.

May the Lord graciously bestow the faith we need to see who we really are in Christ Jesus. Then shall our joy be full.

Answer these questions:
  1. Why have my best efforts to find personal worth always left me unfulfilled?
  2. How would I explain that my personal fulfillment comes through my beliefs rather than my behavior?
  3. Why are my conditioned reflexes something to be confronted rather than ignored?
  4. How are faith and joy related?
  5. How would I describe my Vine-branch relationship with Jesus?
  6. How critical to my life is my faith in God's Word?
Lesson 8

Yielding Our Members To God

(Romans 6:13) Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin; but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

There are two alternative life styles presented in these verses, both of which are determined by what we choose to believe.

The first life style is determined by following the command received in (Romans 6:11). If we accept, by faith, that we are indeed dead to sin but alive to God (the transplantation of our new spirit-being in place of our old spirit-being), we will not continue to concentrate upon our old nature. We will no longer see only what we were in Adam, and think of ourselves as the "old man."

Instead, we will admit the reality of our sin nature (our past programming with its conditioned responses) and we will confess our sin before God. We will then be free to focus our attention upon who we are and what potential we have in Christ. By refusing to believe the "old man" is alive, we are refusing to allow sin to reign in our mortal body.

Using this process in not allowing sin to reign, in believing the "old man" is no longer alive, we have altered our focus. There is no longer any reason to obey the desires of our flesh nor yield our members unto unrighteousness.

Thos inclinations are not coming from the "old man," who is dead, they are simply a carryover from our previous life style, and they will eventually die, because the "old man" can no longer feed them. Since this is a truth which we have accepted, we can now yield ourselves to God, and our members as instruments of righteousness.

The second life style for the believer is conditioned by our failure to follow the command in verse (Romans 6:11), to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God. Our refusal to believe the "old man" is dead makes it necessary for us to spend the bulk of our time and energy worrying about how to control or reform it.

This usually means we establish rules with which to govern the "old man," followed by excuses to cover our failures at self-reformation. Ultimately, the "old man" preoccupies and dominates our mortal body, and we end up obeying its desires and yielding our members as instruments of unrighteousness.

We should never believe the "old man" is dead without including the resurrection of our "new man." We MUST BELIEVE we have a new life in Christ. Unless we accept the reality that we are a new creation in Christ (Ephesians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17), we cannot truly present ourselves to God "as those who are alive from the dead."

We must allow this next statement to soak in all the way. Only to the extent we accept that we are called to a supernatural life by the grace of God, are we willing to yield ourselves to God, and our members as instruments of righteousness.

The point of (Romans 6:12), that we should not let sin reign, nor obey its lusts, is simply that we should quit believing we are still "in Adam." This is an indication that we are still subject to the reign of the sin of unbelief in what God has done for us.

Unbelief is not the same as non-belief. Actually, there is no such thing as non-belief. We must believe something. If we do not believe we are a new creature in Christ, we MUST believe we are still in Adam. Unfortunately, what we believe determines what we feel, and what we feel determines what we do.

If we believe the person we really are is sinful, depraved, rebellious and worthless (which is our natural position in Adam), then we will feel condemned, wicked, resentful, unloved and unimportant. If we feel this way, we will certainly act out what we believe.

On the other hand, if we choose to believe that the "old man" was crucified with Christ and a "new man" was created in righteousness, we will certainly feel better and we will act better. Which of the two life styles we choose will be determined by our FAITH.

The example of Paul in (Philippians 3:8-14), illustrates this principal. By faith, Paul accepted the fact that his "old man" was crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20). Also by faith, he knew that he had a new life in Christ. Therefore, he had an overwhelming desire to put "all things" second to knowing Christ, "in order that I may attain to the resurrection of the dead."

While Paul realized he was not yet perfect, and did not yet fully understand all that he was in Christ, he presented himself to God in order to lay hold of that for which he was laid hold of by Christ. In short, he wanted to realize his full potential in Christ.

This same thought is repeated throughout Paul's letters to the various churches.
  • In Ephesians, Paul admonishes us to "put off the old man," and "put on the new man" (Ephesians 4:22-24).
  • In Galatians, he instructs us to "walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16). Here the emphasis is upon the positive aspects of yielding ourselves to God.
  • In Colossians, we are told to set our affections (thoughts and desires) on things above (our postion in Christ), and not on the things of this world (our present condition) (Colossians 3:2).
The basis of these commands is the death of our "old man" (our old spirit-person), and the resurrection of the "new man" (our new spirit-person) in Christ.

Answer these questions:

  1. How do I refuse to allow sin to reign in my mortal body?
  2. What do I mean when I say I have been called to a supernatural life by the grace of God?
  3. Why is it important for me to put all things second to knowing Christ?
  4. Why should I no longer concentrate upon my old nature?
  5. What would happen if I should not believe my "old man" is dead?
  6. How can I realize my full potential in Christ?
Lesson 9

Live By Grace Not Law

(Romans 6:14) For sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

As a final explanation of his command in verse 11, Paul assures us that the sin of unbelief shall never again have dominion over us. Because we agreed to die with Jesus on the cross, our "old man" (old spirit-person) has been put to death, and a "new man" (new spirit-person) has been raised. For this reason we will never again be dominated by the sinful nature we inherited from Adam.

Paul is not implying here that our sin nature is totally eradicated, or that it ceases to exist. He is telling us it is dead. It has been separated from us by death. In other words, even though we may experience some carryover (in the form of habits and responses and thoughts), the sin nature, which has been fed by unbelief, cannot possibly dominate us. God has sovereignly separated us from it. That separation shall manifest completely at our death, or upon the Lord's return.

It is important to note also the means of the separation of the believer from the sin nature. God legally separates us from the "old man" by His undeserved favor, alone. We do not deserve to separated from the sin nature but, by His grace, He unifies us with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, so we can be separated from the "old man."

Our separation from the old nature could never be accomplished under the law, but it is beautifully accomplished under God's grace. The law could only demand a righteous life, and could only condemn those who could not meet its demands (all mankind).

Therefore, separation from the old nature, the death of the "old man," or true sanctification, is achieved only under a system of grace, not under the law. We are justified by grace, through faith; and it is by the same means that we are sanctified.

The following diagram illustrates the alternative lifestyles that are conditioned by the commands of verses 11-14.

Believers may...

(dead to sin, alive to God) or (alive to sin, dead to God)

(quit being obsessed with sin) or (self-condemnation & defeat)




Answer these questions:

  • Why will I never again be dominated by my old Adamic nature?
  • In what way have I been separated from my sin nature?
  • Why could I never come into right standing with God by my works?
  • If I try to eliminate my sin nature by concentrating upon my sins, what happens?
  • If I was asked how I yield myself to God, what would be my answer?
  • How would I describe God's grace at work in my life?
  • What special insights have I received from verses 11-14?
Lesson 10

The Perversion Of Grace

(Romans 6:15) What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

In these closing verses of Chapter 6, Paul seeks to drive home the truth in his usual manner. He begins with another rhetorical question concerning the perversion of God's grace.

Although verse 15 is similar to verse 1, Paul has worded it differently. Verse 1 addressed the purpose of the law, while verse 15 starts with the understanding that believers are not under the law.

Also, verse 1 asks if we should continue to live in sin so the grace of God might be magnified. Verse 15 simply asks if living under grace rather than under law gives believers the license to sin.

Of course, the answer is obvious. Paul explained our position in verses 3 through 10. But the nature of man is to take advantage of every loophole available to him. Paul recognizes this, and he is determined to close the loopholes.

The question is put there for those who would challenge the truth. For example, we are viewed by God as being rid of the"old man" and possessing fully the righteousness of Christ. We are commanded to count on that fact, in spite of our present sinful condition. Would it not seem logical then, to assume that we are free to sin as much as we want to?

Doesn't this make sense, especially since we are no longer under the law, which means we can't be condemned for sin?

This is a good question in the minds of those who want to pervert the grace of God. Unfortunately, it is too often answered in the affirmative. But such misapplication of God's grace causes a believer to step away from the sanctity of his rightful position.

This is a shallow understanding of the believer's position in Christ. It only takes into account that God has freed us from the penalty of sin under the law. It ignores altogether that the purpose for our liberty is that we may now enjoy the blessings of living a supernatural life, free from the dominion of sin.

so, we see there are those who would pervert the grace of God, which delivers us from both the penalty and the power of sin. They accomplish this by endorsing the idea that our freedom from the penalty of sin under the law, is itself a license for us to sin.

The great need is for every Christian to fully understand our position in Christ. We are not only delivered from the penalty of sin under the law, we also have the special privilege of yielding ourselves to God and receiving the fullness of His grace.

The only appropriate answer to the question in verse 15, is given by Paul, "God forbid", or "May it never be!"

Answer these questions:
  1. Why am I not free to sin as much as I used to?
  2. What do I mean when I say I am no longer under the law?
  3. Why am I no longer under the power of sin?
  4. How would I explain that I have the righteousness of Christ?
  5. Why do I still have the tendancy to sin?
  6. How do I know I am no longer condemned for sin?
Lesson 11

Servants Of Righteousness Not Sin

(Romans 6:16-19) Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey: whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (v17) But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. (v18) Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. (v19) I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh, for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity;even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

In these verses, Paul elaborates on his answer to the qustion in verse 15. He begins with a fundamental prinicipal concerning obedience. Simply stated, we are the servants, or bondslaves, to whatever we choose to yield ourselves. This principle holds true whether we yield ourselves to sin, which leads to death, or we yield in obedience to God which leads us o righteousness.

It is important to note there is no middle ground when it comes to dedication or yielding ourselves. According to Luke 16:13, we are faced with the decision to yield ourselves either to God or to sin. If we choose not to yield ourselves to God, we automatically dedicate ourselves to sin, although that may not be our intention. On the other hand, when we choose to dedicate ourselves to God, we cannot possibly serve sin (Galatians 5:16,17).

Based upon the obedience principle stated above, Paul reminds us that we are bondslaves to God, even though we were at one time the slaves of sin (Ephesians 2:4-10). What Paul is trying to convey is that we should thank God for committing us to the Gospel message, so we might obey it by a response of faith from the heart.

In other words, on the basis of our God-given ability to obey from the heart, we become bondslaves to the Gospel message of deliverance from the power and the penalty of sin.

That same thought is continued in verse 18, which tells us that when we were set free from our natural slavery to sin, we became a bondslave of righteousness. Taken together, verses 17 and 18 present a beautiful picture of salvation, by grace, from both the penalty and the power of sin.

The question in verse 15, therefore, proves to be absurd. Living under the grace of God instead of the law, means that we are bondslaves to righteousness, not servants of sin.

In verse 19, Paul explains he is using this reference to bondslavery because he realizes how weak we are in our natural flesh. He states that he is speaking, "after the manner of men," or "in human terms," so we can draw the comparison. Our bondslavery to God, our committment to obedience, actually brings us the highest form of freedom, namely, the liberty to serve the God of the universe. By our own free will, we leap to do God's will, as soon as we recognize it.

Continuing in verse 19, Paul makes an appeal to all believers. We are to exercise our responsibility which comes with the realization of our position in Christ. We are to continually dedicate ourselves as slaves to righteousness unto sanctification and holiness. That means we are to relinquish any right to ourselves which might exclude God. When we were dedicated to lawlessness and impurity, our behavior generated more lawlessness and impurity. Now that we are dedicated to righteousness, our behavior will generate more righteousness, to the glory of God.

Answer these questions:
  1. Why should I consider myself to be a servant of Christ?
  2. Why is my choice limited to serving either God or sin?
  3. Why does serving sin always lead me to death?
  4. How can being a bondslave to God bring me freedom?
  5. Because of my relationship with Christ, what is my responsibility?
  6. How can I be certain I will generate righteousness or the glory of God?