Appropriating the Benefits of Christ’s Life

Introduction: In Romans 6 Paul begins a new development in his teaching about salvation and its practical effect on those who are saved. Genesis to Revelation plainly teaches that a saving relationship with God is inextricably linked to holy living and a holy life is lived by the power of God working in and through the heart of the true believer. It is true that no believer will be sinless until he or she goes to be with the Lord by death or by the rapture, but a professed believer who persistently disregards Christ’s lordship and His standards of righteousness by disobedience has no claim on Christ’s savior-hood. There is an inseparable connection between justification and sanctification; between new life in Christ and the living of that life in the holiness Christ demands and provides.

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

I read of a teenager from England that in his early teens ran away and joined the crew of a slave ship. After a few years he himself was given to the black wife of a white slave trader in Africa. He was cruelly mistreated and lived on leftovers from the woman’s meals. After escaping, he lived with a group of natives for a while and eventually managed to become a sea captain himself, living the most ungodly and profligate life imaginable. Something wonderful happened, in 1748 he was converted to Jesus Christ. He returned to England and became a selfless and tireless minister of the gospel in London. He later became a pastor of a church in England, and to this day the churchyard carries an epitaph that he wrote:

“John Newton, Clerk,
Once an infidel and libertine,
A servant of slaves in Africa,
Was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Savior,
Jesus Christ,
Preserved, restored, pardoned,
And appointed to preach the faith
He had long labored to destroy.”

John Newton left for posterity many hymns that are still among the most popular in the world By far the best-known and best-loved of those is “Amazing Grace.”

John Newton, along with the Apostle Paul, knew it was one thing to be justified, but quite another thing to live a Godly life. It is one thing to accept Christ’s death for us, and quite another thing to realize His life “in us.” It is one thing to profess to “know” Christ, it is another matter to “show” Christ.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Pastor and martyr, coined the term, “cheap grace.” It refers to the sad attitude, displayed in varying degrees of openness, which says, in effect, ” I’ve been forgiven and I will go on being forgiven whatever I do, so I can do whatever I wish.”


Romans 6:1, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?”

If grace is made to abound more as more sin is committed, then why not sin more so that more grace will be released?

Romans 5:20, “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.”

The attitude is exhibited in those believers who see in their justification no necessity to go on to experience the sanctification God has in mind for them.

Having been forgiven and guaranteed a place in heaven, they feel they can now get on with the business of living as they wish without any concerns or misgivings.


He taught the perverted interpretation as a Russian religious adviser in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He taught and exemplified the antinomian view of salvation through repeated experiences of sin and false repentance. He believed that the more you sin, the more God gives you grace. So the more you sin with abandon, the more you give God the opportunity to glorify Himself. Rasputin declared that if you are simply an ordinary sinner, you are not giving God an opportunity to show His glory, so you need to be an extraordinary sinner.

Romans 3:5-8, “But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.) Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world? For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? And why not say, ‘Let us do evil that good may come’?–as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just.”

They were asking the question, “If our sin commends His righteousness, how can He judge us?”

Reply: We do not do evil that good may come of it. God judges the world righteously.

The whole issue was salvation by faith in grace alone.

“Shall we continue in sin?” Paul’s not speaking of a believer’s occasional falling into sin, as every believer does at times because of the imperfections of the flesh. He was speaking of intentional, willful sinning as an established pattern of life.

Before salvation, sin cannot be anything but the established way of life, because sin at best taints everything the unredeemed person does. But the believer, who has a new life and is indwelt by God’s own Spirit, has no excuse to continue habitually in sin.


Can he then possibly live in the same submissive
relationship to sin that he had done before salvation?
1. Can justification truly exists apart from sanctification?
2. Can a person receive a new life and continue in his old way of living?
3. Does the divine transaction of redemption have no continuing and sustaining power in those who are saved?
4. Can a person who persists in living as a child of Satan have been truly born again as a child of God?


“Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

Grace abounds in removing sin, but never abounds in promoting sin.

“Certainly not!” — strongest idiom of repudiation in the New Testament. May it never be!

“How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”

Rhetorical question: He does not argue the truth, just simply declares it.

1 John 3:9, “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.”

Christians obviously are able to commit many of the sins they committed before salvation, but they are not able to live perpetually in those sins as they did before.

It is not merely that Christians should not, but that they cannot.

When we are saved by grace we become spiritually alive and sanctification is at work in us.

2 Peter 1:3-4, “as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse wrote, “Holiness starts where justification finishes, and if holiness does not start, we have the right to suspect that justification never started either.”

There is no such thing as divine life without divine living.
At salvation there is righteousness imputed but also righteousness imparted.

Imputation — put to my account
Impartation — made a part of my life; produced in us

Imputation — deals with the guilt of sin
Impartation — deals with the power of sin


“or do you not know”

Ephesians 1:16-19, “do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.”


Seen as allegiance to Christ; termination of his old life; initiation of the new.

Baptism — they stepped in the water; demonstrated the fact that they were “in Christ”

Immersed — buried with Him
Emerged — raised with Him

“baptized into Christ Jesus” — means baptism into union with Him; into dedication to Him, and participation in all that Christ is and has done.

Galatians 3:27, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

Through spiritual baptism we share in Christ’s death and resurrection.

If in death He died for sin, then we, in Him, died to sin.

Wuest Word Studies in Greek New Testament says that “baptizo” is used in the classics of a smith who dips a piece of hot iron in water, tempering it, also of Greek soldiers placing the points of their swords, and barbarians, the points of their spears, in a bowl of blood.

The word “baptizo” in these examples resolves itself into the following definition; the introduction or placing of a person or thing into a new environment or into union with someone else so as to alter its condition or its relationship to its previous environment or condition.

Here, in Romans 6, it refers to the act of God introducing a believing sinner into vital union with Jesus Christ, in order that the believer might have the power of his sinful nature broken and the divine nature implanted through his identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection; thus altering the condition and relationship of the sinner with regard to his previous state and environment, bringing him into a new environment, the Kingdom of God.

CONCLUSION: The fact remains that Paul is driving home the reality of our death with Christ by pointing to a real and actual personal experience. V.4, “We should walk in newness of life” — conduct ourselves in the new (resurrection) life.
Whereas sin describes the old life, righteousness describes the new. No one expects to see a person who has died still actively associated with the people and practices of the former life.

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