ST. STEPHEN’S EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
Striving to speak God’s saving truth in love. Ephesians 4:15
St. Stephen’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School | Beaver Dam, WI | 920.885.3309
All of us have something that we are passionate about. This passion might even become a big part of our life. We immerse ourselves in our passion. We find ourselves seeking out all the information we can about a certain subject. We spend time in developing this passion in our life. We want to find out everything we can about this. It can range from just about anything from family, to a sport, to a hobby. People might even say that we live for our passion.
For us we could say that Christ is our passion. When we say this, what does that mean? We do not simply pay lip service to Christ. We live for him. Our entire life revolves around what Christ has done for us. Paul in this section of Romans tells us about this very fact.
We Live for Christ
Paul just finished a discourse on how sin and salvation came into the world. Sin has the world in its grasp. Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden bringing sin into the world. They fell to the lies of Satan that their eyes would be open, and they would become gods. Their life changed, but it was not in the way they desired. Instantly death resulted because of their disobedience. We continue to see this today. We live under the shroud of death and sin in this life.
Just as death came through one man, life also came through one man. Jesus broke the curse of sin and death upon us. He lived an obedient life to God and his commands. He died an innocent death. He alone paid the penalty for our sins. He changed all that sin has upended in our life. Now we possess freedom from sin, since Jesus brought forgiveness and righteousness.
In all of this an excuse to sin might arise. Paul anticipates this right away. “Shall we keep on sinning so that grace may increase” (Romans 6:1)? If God’s grace and forgiveness are always there, should we just keep on sinning? We can deduct that we would actually be doing a good thing because God’s grace would increase where sin increased.
This kind of temptation is always there. We struggle with it on a daily basis. We know God’s commands. We can recite those Ten Commandments from memory. However, we start to wonder that maybe, just maybe, we can break them because after all God will forgive us. I will cheat on this test. I will then ask God to forgive me afterwards. It will be okay if I drink a little too much alcohol at the wedding or party. God will forgive me in the morning. I can enjoy the blessings of marriage without being married. I will just ask God to forgive me. I can join in any sinful behavior my friends do, because God will always forgive me.
Paul stops that kind of thinking right away. “Absolutely not! We died to sin. How can we go on living in it any longer” (Romans 6:2)? We cannot even begin to entertain those thoughts. Those thoughts have no business to even enter our mind. God’s forgiveness does not give us a license to sin. We died to sin. That part of us has been put to death. Paul takes it a step further, “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death” (Romans 6:3)?
Usually we think of baptism as a life giving ceremony. God instructs us to bring a child to him in baptism for a new life of faith. The child is brought from spiritual death to spiritual life. However, there is a burial that takes place at baptism. Our Old Adam is drowned. A burial tells everyone that death is final. We might be able to deny the reality of death for a time, but as we stand over the grave, it hits us. As we stand over the burial site, it all becomes a reality. Death is inescapable.
Baptism makes us stand at the grave. It is not our grave, but it is sin that has died in us. Christ died for us. Our sin died at that time as well. We want to walk away from it and never return to it. God tells us, “We know that our old self was crucified with him, to make our sinful body powerless, so that we would not continue to serve sin. For the person who has died has been declared free from sin” (Romans 6:6-7).
Right there upon the cross our old self, that part of us that desires nothing but what is contrary to God’s law, which wants to join in sin, has been nailed to the cross. It died there. We want to leave it there. Our baptism, our entire life for Christ, is built upon his death. His death brings us freedom. We no longer want to go running back to sin saying that God will forgive us anyway. We will battle sin with God’s help. We will resist temptation while standing on God’s Word.
Christ died to pay for sin. We died with Christ to sin. Our service is no longer to our sinful nature. We do not live to gratify the sinful desires of the flesh. We have crucified that part of us. It has been put to death so that we might be free to live for Christ.
We live for Christ who died for us. His death brings us freedom from sin, death, and the devil. Death, although the final say in this life, never had the final say over Jesus. Jesus rose from the dead, which gives us all the more reason to live for Christ.
“We were therefore buried with him by this baptism into his death, so that just as he was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too would also walk in a new life” (Romans 6:4). Easter Sunday shows us the triumph of Jesus. Sin has been paid for. Death has been swallowed up in victory. The devil has been crushed in a humiliating defeat. All of a sudden the disciples’ saw Jesus in a new light. His glory was seen. His mission understood. His death stands as a means to an end.
We too live a new life. Our old life was nothing but sin. We walked down a dark road. The devil takes us by the hand leading us down a path we did not want to go. We desired to live only for the joys of this world and nothing more. So many still want to live this way. Yet, we realize how empty it is.
We want to turn a new corner in life. This happens in our regular life as well. We find ourselves in a rut. We do the same thing over and over again. We grow tired of the monotony of life. We want something different from what we have been doing. The dreaded mid-life crisis hits. We feel like everything has been a waste. We long for getting back the excitement of our younger years. So, maybe a person changes jobs, buys a new car, takes an exotic vacation to break out of the crisis.
We were stuck in a life of sin. It dragged us down, and it would continue to drag us down all the way to hell. God has given us new life. Our life has changed. It has changed dramatically. We now live not for ourselves or our sinful nature, but we live for Christ. We live to serve him in all we do.
This means we have been bought out of our rut of sin. We live to please our Lord and Savior. We will not run back to sin. We will not take advantage of grace. We will live to please God. We will live for Christ in all we do out of thanksgiving for what he has done for us.
We are free. Do we take this freedom for granted? At times, yes. We think life was better on the other side. We might even want to go back to our sinful life. We need to go to the cross. We see Christ’s payment. We see our old self crucified with Christ. We run to him for help with all we need and seek his strength to overcome all sin.
Christ is our passion in life. He has died to free us from the captivity of sin and death. He rose giving us new life to serve him in all things. Our life is now full in every aspect. We live for Christ. Amen.