Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Reign Of Life (part 3 of 3)

If this is not our hope, then we should stop reading words like “For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall be certainly be united with Him in a Resurrection like His” (6:5).  Will we pass from this earth?  Yes, at some point, this body of death, because of the corruption that is in this world because of sin (failure to bear the divine image and live up to covenant responsibilities), will decay and run down and pass away.  However, we are not overly concerned by this, but take it as a gracious reminder that we have a limited time to serve the Kingdom of the Christ and to effect the preaching of the Gospel.  

God gifts us with eternal life (the life of the age to come, the life of the Spirit that is evidenced by a loyalty to Jesus) that is our union with Christ, and it is this eternal life by which we serve Him as the out-raying of His Kingdom, in expectation that one day, when He finally consummates His Kingdom here on earth and restores His creation yet again, that He will raise us from the dead, just like Jesus, and we would walk in newness of life, just like Jesus, who was the firstfruits and sign of the intentions of Israel’s Creator God.  In the meantime, He uses us as agents of His renewed creation, fulfilling through us the covenant that He made with Abraham (as we are children and so covenant people of Abraham by loyalty to the claims of Jesus’ Lordship), to bless all the families of the earth through spreading the knowledge, and the blessing inherent in that knowledge (the Gospel itself as the power of God unto salvation) of our faithful, covenant God.   

“We know that our old self was crucified with Him” (6:6a), and we claim that as a promise, along with the promise that “if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him” (6:8).  Because we live with Christ, in the faith confession that has us declaring Him as Lord and living accordingly, we live with the knowledge “that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again” (6:9a).  We do not fear death, because we live with Christ, and “death no longer has dominion over Him” (6:9b).  This does not give us a license to live in any way that we please, but to live according to that confession, as “the life He lives He lives to God” (6:10b), doing so by imitation of His faithfulness.

What will this life look like as the eternal life (life as the age to come) as demonstrated by Resurrection power reigns in us?  Paul points us in that direction as he writes, “Do not present your members to sin as instruments of unrighteousness” (6:13a).  In that statement, Paul assists us in understanding the true nature of sin, defined as unrighteousness, which is faithlessness to the covenant.  Sin is word and deed that is contrary to our duty to extend His covenant.  Failing to bear the divine image and therefore failing to live up to covenant responsibilities (sin) is that which defeats us from preaching the Gospel, thereby falling short of the extension of God’s glory, which is manifested in His raising another of His chosen from death (for Paul, the old age) to walking in newness of life. 

Unfortunately, we will still sin.  We do not lose heart at that, as we are reminded that we are spirit-ized with the ability to “present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness” (6:13b).  In spite of our short-falling, because we are His covenant people, harbingers of the life of the age to come through our continued allegiance to the Christ, He uses us as instruments of righteousness, that is, as instruments by which He shows forth His covenant faithfulness (righteousness).  It is because of that, that Paul informs us that “sin,” and its power of death, “will have no dominion over you” (6:14a), as we are “under grace” (6:14c). 

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