Sunday: Romans 5:21
v21: By revealing what is right and wrong the Law of Moses makes people aware they are sinning and increases their guilt when they commit those sins. That makes it sound like the coming of the Law was a sad moment in history. Werent we better off before the Law arrived? But Paul explains that the reason God sent the law was to bring our sin to our attention so we would realize how desperately we need His grace. He points out that sin had already conquered the human race long before the Law arrived, which is indisputably proved by the fact that sin had already produced death in every human. It was already ruling over us like a merciless tyrant. It had handed us over to death and death held us firmly in its power, not allowing any to escape.
Monday: Romans 5:21
v21 (continued): So the coming of the Law of Moses couldnt make our final destiny any worse, and as human experience quickly proved after the Law arrived, nor could it make it any better. But if that Law could help us realize that we are sinners on our way to endless death; if it could show us how desperately we need Gods mercy, then it serves a vital role in Gods plan to save us. Now, following the cross and resurrection, it drives us to Jesus Christ (Gal 3:22, 24). Those who turn in faith to Him as their Lord come under a new governing authority: grace. If sin and death have the power to rule over us, Gods grace exerts an even greater power. By means of Christs righteousness grace now rules over our lives and is able to carry us safely to eternal life in the age to come (Ro 5:17).
Tuesday: Romans 6:1, 2
v1: Pauls gospel of grace is unsettling to those who think salvation can be achieved by earnestly trying to keep Gods rules. So its no surprise he had his critics who tried to undermine what he taught and to make him look foolish. A person would not normally read what Paul wrote in this letter and conclude that God actually wants believers to keep sinning so He can give more and more grace. The idea is ridiculous and Paul would not likely even think to refute such a notion unless someone had used it to challenge his teaching. v2: Appalled by this suggestion which he considers blasphemous, Paul condemns the idea exclaiming, May it never be! Then he begins to untangle the confused logic used by his opponents.
Wednesday: Romans 6:2, 3
v2 (continued): First of all he asks why would a person who had died to sin (Gal 5:24) by means of deep repentance and who was now fully surrendered to God want to keep on sinning? The suggestion is illogical. A heart that now wants to please God would never want to continue sinning, let alone look for an excuse to sin even more. v3: His critics seem to have forgotten what takes place when someone is born-again. To become born-again requires profound repentance which includes choosing a radically new attitude toward sin. And repentance is a major part of what is being expressed in the act of water baptism. How could the meaning of repentance be made more vivid than by immersing someone under water in a symbolic burial ceremony. In baptism a believer chooses to lie down in a watery grave with Christ, joining Him in His death.
Thursday: Romans 6:3
v3 (continued): When done in true faith there are at least three levels of meaning concerning death being expressed: First, we are publicly indicating that we are dying to our old way of life which we lived in rebellion to God and selfishness. In baptism we deliberately bury that way of life. Second, baptism expresses something even deeper than a human decision, it becomes a symbolic plea asking God to kill our old sinful nature and replace it with His new nature. And third, as Paul continues on in this letter he will speak of the death symbolized in baptism in a surprisingly literal way. He wants us to understand that when the decision to die with Christ takes place, which baptism represents, this step of faith impacts the spiritual world as if a literal, physical death had taken place. From that point onward the Law can no longer condemn us because we have already died for our sins with Christ. The devil can no longer demand just punishment because we have already died for our sins with Christ. Adams rebellious nature no longer has a right to govern over us because we are already dead as far as it is concerned.
Friday: Romans 6:3, 4
v3 (continued): Pauls critics who fear that his teaching will produce lawlessness simply dont grasp the real changes that occur when a person is born-again. Baptism is far more than a symbol. It is a declaration of faith testifying to real transactions in the believers heart and in the spiritual world. v4: Water baptism symbolizes more than burial. Raising a believer out of the water after being immersed symbolizes our participation in Christs resurrection. Not only do we receive the spiritual benefits of His death, but we also receive the spiritual benefits of His resurrection. The Holy Spirit, whom Paul calls here the glory of the Father (Ro 8:11), brought Jesus dead body back to life and transformed it into an immortal body. At a future time He will resurrect our bodies as well, but He now, by the indwelling Spirit, energizes us to live in a new level of obedience to God.
Saturday: Romans 6:5, 6
v5: Paul literally speaks of becoming planted with Him in the likeness of His death. He says if this happens then we too will share in His resurrection. This spiritual planting or burial which is being expressed by the act of baptism goes beyond just seeing ourselves by faith included in His death, it means that like Him we chose to die to self just as He did (Lk 9:23, 24). It means we place on the cross with Jesus the old independent, rebellious, selfish person we used to be so he or she can die there with Him. v6: This profound act of rejection toward our old Adamic nature has as its goal freedom from the sinful impulses that arise in the flesh of our bodies. Our spirit now wants to please God so these impulses become enemies because they tempt us to disobey Him. The person who has died to sin (v2) now longs to be freed from slavery to these unhealthy impulses, appetites, emotions and attitudes that originate in the flesh of our bodies, not in our renewed spirit. To understand why Paul identifies the source of this problem as the body of sin we need to recognize the he understands humans to be composed of three distinct, interdependent elements: the physical body; the soul (which is the biological life which animates our bodies); and the human spirit (which is our immortal personality, made in Gods image (Ge 1:26, 27) so that like Him we also have intellect, will and emotions) (1Th 5:23). By locating the source of Adams rebellious tendency in the flesh or body of a born-again believer he is saying the Adamic rebellion is no longer present in their human spirit (2Co 5:17). So the new birth actually creates an internal conflict: the renewed human spirit wants to obey God, while the flesh of the body remains unsubmitted to Him or us (Ro 7:13-23; Gal 5:17).