Because Of Our Faith In Messiah, We Have A New Master – God, Not Sin. We Have A New Nature; We Have A New Life; We Are Under Grace, Not Law; We Have The Ability Not To Sin; We Are To Make A Commitment To Serve God With All That We Are
This is a very important teaching. Please pay special attention to it. Please try to understand it and apply it to your life. It will help you tremendously if you do. It will help you serve God the way you need to; become more righteous and holy the way you need to; achieve victory over sin the way you need to.
Sin is real. Understanding it and how to overcome it is very, very important. It is one of the most important things to understand.
One way to think about sin is as a violation of God’s laws. When we disobey any of the things God has commanded us not to do, or if we don’t do what we have been commanded to do, we sin.
But sin is more than a violation of God’s laws. Think of sin as an evil attitude – an evil attitude involving rebelling against God’s authority; selfishly disregarding God and others; bringing disorder, harm and ugliness into the world.
Sin is a violation of God’s laws. Sin is an evil attitude that causes harm. Also think of sin as a dangerous animal that is trying to get through a door in order to master us and kill us. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Sin is like a living, powerful, wicked force that seeks to dominates humanity. But, it is possible for us to rule over it. In this chapter, the Rabbi teaches us how.
Paul had written earlier in this great letter to the Christians and Messianic Jews in Rome that life is greater than death and grace is greater than sin. Since grace is greater than sin, it makes sense for us to go on sinning, so that even more of God’s grace will be extended, right? That’s the question the Rabbi raises and answers. What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!
Of course we are not to go on sinning so that God will counteract our sin with His grace, which is greater than our sin. Why not? Paul gives us two reasons: Those are joined to the Messiah have a new relationship to sin (they have died to it) and they have a new kind of life – a life that doesn’t involve sin. We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Messiah Yeshua were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Messiah was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
When God graces us with faith, our relationship to sin – this powerful, controlling, dominating force, changes. We die to sin. Since we are dead to it, it no longer has the power to control us like it did before we were united to the Messiah.
Those who own a dog, and know how to train their dog, can control their dog. If I want Cider to come to me, when I call her she will come to me. If I want her to chase a squirrel away from the yard, and I say, “Cider, squirrel” – Cider will chase the squirrel away. As long as Cider is living, she will obey me. But, if Cider dies, I no longer have any control over her. She will not respond to me. She will not come to me when I command her to or chase away the squirrels. Death has changed our master-subject relationship.
The same is true of our relationship to our old master, sin. Before we are saved, sin is our master. Sin is able to control us. But when we are baptized into the Son of God – not by being immersed in water, but by being immersed into Yeshua by having faith in Him so that He surrounds us and is in us, and we are united to Him and He is united to us – not only are we joined to Him, we are also joined to the great things that happened to Him. We are united to His death. He died, and so we die. We experience a kind of spiritual death.
Dead people can’t do anything – good or bad. They are no longer capable of sinning. Sin has no control over them. So, when we are united to Yeshua, by having faith in Him, we are united to His death; and sin, that dark, evil, powerful force, is no longer is able to control us. Our union to Messiah and to His death, which results in our spiritual death – changes our relationship to our old master, sin. We die to sin.
And there’s more: Messiah died – but Yeshua didn’t stay dead. He was raised from the dead and entered into a new kind of life, a life that is different from the life He before. So too when we are joined to the Messiah, because of our faith, we enter into a new kind of life.
At the time of our salvation, something real and wonderful happens to us. We go through a spiritual death experience and a spiritual new-life experience. We die to our old master – sin; and we receive a new master – God. We die to our old life and enter into a new kind of life. The old nature that we were born with, our sin nature dies, and God gives us a new nature. Our old, sinful desires die and are replaced with new desires – to live the way God wants us to live; to do the things God wants us to do.
If we have real faith in Yeshua, we die spiritually and we receive a new and more powerful life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. The resurrection that the Rabbi is referring to here is not limited to our resurrection in the World To Come. Paul is referring to a new kind of life for Christians and Messianic Jews who live in this world; a life that is similar to the life that our Lord Yeshua has now. The resurrected Messiah has a powerful life now.
Remember, when we are graced with faith, not only are we united to Yeshua, we are also united to the great things that happened to Him. We are united to His death. We are united to His resurrection and new life.
If we die spiritually, we can overcome sin the way we should. If we live spiritually, we can live for God the way we should. I want to die spiritually so that I can overcome sin in my life. Don’t you? I want a new and powerful life that is able to consistently do the right things, and live the way God wants me to live. Don’t you?
Being united to the Messiah, which unites us to His death and unites us to His powerful new life is very, very important for us to understand. The Lord’s Representative elaborates. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
The human race is a fallen race. Human beings are born into this world with a fallen nature. It is a corrupt nature. It is a sinful nature. It is a weak nature. It is a nature that is under the control of sin.
But Messiah’s crucifixion changes that. When we are joined to Him by having faith, we experience a spiritual crucifixion. Our old nature is crucified. Our sinful nature dies, and our relationship to sin – that powerful force that is able to control our old nature, dies. Our old nature is free from the control of our old master. That’s fantastic! Who wants to have a sin nature that is enslaved to a horrible master like that?
Again, faith joins us to Messiah, and to the great events that happened to Him, like His death and His resurrected new life. Now if we died with Messiah, we believe that we will also live with him. I want to be spiritually crucified so that I am dead to sin. And, I want to become spiritually alive so that I can experience a new and powerful life with Yeshua – now and forever. How about you?
And there’s more: For we know that since Messiah was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. Messiah’s death was a very special death. It was a death to atone – not for Himself, but to atone for the sins of humanity.
And Messiah’s special death was a one-time death. He doesn’t need to die again. He will never die again. Death will never have mastery over Him like it had that Passover 2,000 years ago.
Yeshua overcame sin. He overcame death. He is now beyond sin. He is now beyond death. He is living a new kind of life, a life not focused on the issues of sin and death, but focused on living for God. And, what is true for Him is true for us who are joined to Him because of our faith. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Messiah Yeshua. Understand that when you were blessed with faith, real spiritual things happened. Your old nature died. That changed your relationship to your old master. Sin no longer has authority over you. And you have a new relationship with your new master, God. And you have a new nature and a new life that is like Messiah’s nature and His powerful and pure life.
Therefore you have a new ability to overcome sin. You now have the choice to sin, or not to sin. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. For those who are not born-again, sin is their master. They are slaves to sin and their sin nature. For them, sin is not a choice. They sin naturally and frequently. They are not capable of believing the right things, consistently living in the right way, doing the right things. Often they don’t know what is true and what is false. They don’t know what is right and what is wrong. For example, some radical Muslims think torturing and beheading Christians is right; using female captives as sex slaves is right. Many in our godless, secular humanistic society think that since sex is a natural function, its right to have sex with whoever you want and with whatever gender you want; and it’s right to kill a baby in its mother’s womb. And those who are not born-again, even if they realize they have sinned, may not be bothered by sinning. “I didn’t do what I believe is right? Sin is no big deal.”
Christians and Messianic Jews are different. For us, sin is a choice. Yielding to temptation is a choice. We know the truth. We know right from wrong. Sin is no longer our master. We have a new nature. We have a new, more powerful life. We have the Holy Spirit living in us, empowering us. We have fellow believers who encourage us to persevere in living the right way. We have a new awareness of sin. We have a new sensitivity to sin. We recognize temptation. We are aware of evil desires and know that it is wrong to yield to them. If we sin, we feel guilt. If we yield to temptation, we feel shame. We understand we have let God down. We have let ourselves down. We may have let others down.
Since we have a new and wonderful ability to resist sin, we need to make the right choices – each day; each moment of each day. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness (this includes your body and giving into wrong sexual desires and additions and bad habits and using your body for bad actions; and it also includes your mind – using your mind to think evil thoughts, believe evil things, plan evil acts; and it includes your will – allowing yourself to want evil things; and it includes your emotions – giving into anger, hate, jealously), but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.
We are to make an offering, and also do the opposite: make an “anti-offering.” First the anti-offering: Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness: Make a commitment every day that your mind, your emotions, your will, your body, would not be used to advance evil. Make that anti-offering by reminding yourself that your old nature died, and your relationship to your old master died, and you have a new nature and a new master. Pray to God that you would be close to God and full of the Spirit of God who will empower your new nature to resist sin in all its forms.
Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness. That’s the anti-offering, the negative offering. Now the positive offering: Offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. This too is a daily commitment. This too is a daily choice. Make a conscious decision every day that every part of you – your mind, body, will, emotions – would be available to serve God and advance the cause of righteousness by doing what is right. Remind yourself that you were spiritually dead, but God graciously brought you from death to life, and every part of your new life belongs to Him and His service.
There is another reason why we have the wonderful ability overcome sin. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. One of the purposes of law is to increase sin. The law stirs up our fallen nature to rebel against the law. Often, when we are confronted by a law, a desire is created to oppose that law. If someone tells me – don’t do that, don’t touch that, don’t look at that – something in me wants to do that, touch that, look at that. Law increases sin by stirring up sinful desires within us, but law is unable to overcome those sinful desires or transform our fallen nature.
Just as Christians and Messianic Jews are no longer under the control of our old master, sin, we are no longer under the law. We are no longer under its authority, and so the law’s ability to increase sin in those under its authority is removed.
We are not under the authority of the law. It does not control us. We are living under a new authority. Our life is operating by a new principle – grace. God’s grace is able to help us and transform us and empower us like law can’t.
Because we are not under law, but are regulated by grace does not mean that God’s standards of right and wrong that are reflected in the law are not relevant to us and we are free to sin. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Even though we are not under the authority of the Sinai Covenant and are regulated by grace, we are not lawless. God still has righteous standards we are to obey. We must commit ourselves to obeying those standards – otherwise there will be terrible consequences. Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey – whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
We are to commit ourselves to obey the teaching – referring to Messiah’s teaching that is found in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; and the teaching of His Representatives that are found in the writings of Paul and the other representatives of the Messiah. We are to know those teachings and obey them from our hearts. If we do, we will grow in righteousness. But if we disregard those teachings, we will be slaves to sin. Our so-called “salvation experience” will be shown to be phony. We were always a slave to sin, and still are.
Who and what are you serving? God and His righteous standards, which leads to righteousness and eternal life; or sin – which leads to death?
I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness.
Make that positive offering. Make that commitment to serve God and be righteous and holy. It’s not a one-time commitment, when you made your initial commitment to God, but an every-day commitment; an every-moment commitment if needed.
And the Rabbi, to motivate us to make the right decision, tells us that making that commitment will be well worth it. It will pay off handsomely. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Messiah Yeshua our Lord. Make that commitment to serve God, and you will become holy, set apart from sin, set apart for God and His good purposes, and you will be rewarded with eternal life.
So, let’s see: I can choose to serve sin which will result in shame and death. Or I can choose to commit my life to serve God and obey the teachings of the New Covenant which will result in holiness and eternal life. I wonder which choice makes more sense?
Lord, help us to understand that something real happens to us when we are graced with faith. We die spiritually. Our old nature dies. Our relationship to our old master, sin, changes. We die to sin. And we receive a new nature that wants to serve You and do what is right. And we have a new master – You.
Thank You for our wonderful new ability to overcome sin. Thank You for our wonderful new ability to be righteous and holy.
Help us every day make that anti-offering – not to serve sin. Help us every day to make that positive offering – to serve You and be righteous and holy.
Help us every day to follow Messiah’s teachings.
Lord, thank You for our new life. Help us every day to cultivate our new life, nurture our new life, strengthen our new life.
Lord, help us know these things. Help us believe these things. Help us remember these things. Help us live these things.