Dying, We LiveRomans 12:1-2Theme: Sacrifice.This week’s lessons remind us that the path to eternal life begins with the cross. LessonRedemption from sin by Christ is not the only doctrine on which the Christian life of self-sacrifice is built. A second doctrine is our having died to the past by having become new creatures in Christ, if we are truly converted. We studied this teaching in Romans 6 where Paul argued, much as he is going to do in Romans 12, that because we have “died to sin” we are unable to “live in it any longer” (v. 2). Therefore, instead of offering the parts of our bodies “to sin, as instruments of wickedness,” as we used to do, we must instead offer ourselves “to God, as those who have been brought from death to life” and the parts of our bodies “to him as instruments of righteousness” (v. 13).
This does not mean that we have become unresponsive to sin or that we should die to it or that we are dying to it day by day or that we have died to sin’s guilt. The verb die is an aorist, which refers to something that has been done once for all, and what it refers to here is the change that has come about as a result of our being saved. The sentence “we died to sin” means that as a result of our union with Jesus Christ by the work of the Holy Spirit we have become new creatures in Christ so that we can never go back to being what we were. We are to start the Christian life with that knowledge, knowing that we cannot go back and that, if we cannot go back, there is no other direction for us to go but forward.
What Paul says in Romans 12:1-2 is that we have already died to sin in the sense that we cannot successfully return to our old lives. Therefore, since that is true, we might as well get on with the task of living for the Lord Jesus Christ as Christians. In other words, we need to forget about sinning and instead present our bodies as “living sacrifices” to God. ReflectionDeath to sin is not something to be accomplished through following a ten-step plan of obedience. It is not a state of holiness which is found only by those who understand the secrets of the doctrine. Yet, most of us have lived as if death to sin is something we must do for ourselves – something we must attain, and as a result we’ve not offered ourselves as Romans 12:1 calls us to do. How does this teaching of death to sin change your thinking?
PrayerTake some time now to examine yourself in light of Dr. Boice’s words on the true meaning of death to sin. As you pray, confess your own misunderstandings, ask God to teach you to offer your sacrifices to him in gratitude and love, and express your thankfulness to him for your own redemption.