From: The Mainspring, by Robert B. Thompson

Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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The sixth chapter of the Book of Romans well may be the clearest exposition of the new covenant to be found in the Scriptures. The most important aspect of new-covenant grace is our union with Christ in His crucifixion and our union with Him in His resurrection and ascension to the right hand of God. Our union with Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection distinguishes the Divine redemption from all other religions and philosophies.

Table of Contents

Deliverance From Sin by Means of Death and Resurrection
Verse one
Verse two
Verse three
Verse four
Verse five
Verse six
Verse seven
Verse eight
Verse nine
Verse ten
Verse eleven
Verse twelve
Verse thirteen
Verse fourteen
Verse fifteen
Verse sixteen
Verse seventeen
Verse eighteen
Verse nineteen
Verse twenty
Verse twenty-one
Verse twenty-two
Verse twenty-three
Ministry by Means of Death and Resurrection
Conclusion—Obtaining a Better Resurrection


It is amazing that God entrusted to one man, the Apostle Paul, the explanation of the change from the Law of Moses to the new covenant of the Lord Jesus Christ. It appears that the actual nature and mechanism of the new covenant is difficult enough to be misunderstood to the present day.

The first five chapters of the book of Romans include Paul’s argument against the Jews. Paul’s position is that the Divine grace given through the Lord Jesus has superseded the Law of Moses. The works of the Law of Moses are no longer God’s way of righteousness. The works of the Law are not to be mixed with the new covenant. Paul states again his position emphatically in a later chapter:

And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. (Romans 11:6)

Of course, by “works” Paul is not speaking of righteous behavior. This would contradict a great part of what he wrote in his letters to the churches. The term “works” is referring to the works of the Law of Moses, such as circumcision, the kosher regulations, and the feast days.

Paul realized his doctrine could be perverted to mean righteous behavior no longer is required.

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. (Romans 3:7,8)
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? (Romans 6:1)

The relationship between Moses and Christ was difficult even for the original Apostles to understand. They quarreled among themselves concerning the role of the Law in the Christian redemption.

But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? (Galatians 2:14)

Paul stressed that we please God by faith in Christ whom God has sent, that God cannot be satisfied any longer by our observance of the Law of Moses. Then Paul in his letter to the Galatians, as he does in Romans chapter 6, pointed out that our adherence to Christ as the means of our righteousness, apart from obedience to Moses, does not indicate that we now are free to sin.

“But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! (Galatians 2:17)

Do we demonstrate our freedom from Moses and our pursuit of Christ by behaving sinfully? Is Christ the promoter of sin in His followers?

“For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. (Galatians 2:18)

Galatians 2:18 makes the same statement as Romans 6:2:

Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? (Romans 6:2)

If, after having left Moses for Christ, we continue to live in the lusts of our animal personality, we break the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses has authority over our adamic personality. If we continue to live in our adamic personality, we rebuild what had been destroyed and are found guilty of transgressing the Law of Moses. James repeats this concept:

but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. (James 2:9)

When we choose to live in our adamic personality, rather than to enter the death and resurrection of Christ, we are under the condemnation of the Law of Moses whether or not we have been baptized in water and profess to be a Christian. The Law of Moses serves as a slave that keeps us under control until we come to maturity in Christ and are judged by the law of liberty.

So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. (James 2:12)

The Law had brought Paul into death because of Paul’s sinful nature. By choosing to enter the death of the righteous Jesus, Paul had died to the Law of Moses so he would be legally free to live to God through Christ.

“For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. (Galatians 2:19)

Then Paul expresses the solution to the perplexing problem of the relationship of the Law of Moses to the new covenant, and the relationship of sinful behavior to the new covenant:

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Paul had abandoned Moses in order that his righteousness might proceed from faith in Christ alone—not the type of faith that is mere belief in doctrine, but the faith that is a life lived in the Presence of the Lord, life guided and empowered by the righteous Nature of Christ. How can he be released from Moses? By being crucified with Christ.

How can Paul be released from sinful behavior? By living in Christ and Christ in him. The answer to Moses and to sin is entrance into Christ’s crucifixion and entrance into Christ’s resurrection.

Deliverance From Sin by Means of Death and Resurrection—From Romans 6

If we want to be free from Moses, we must be crucified with Christ. If we want to be free from sin, our adamic personality must count itself crucified with Christ and raised with Christ. The tribulations of life must actually conform us to the death of Christ, and the Life of Christ in us must enable us to gain the upper hand over sin and disobedience.

Paul had reason to be concerned. The very thing he feared had come to pass. Paul’s argument against the continuance of the Law of Moses had been interpreted to mean grace is a new way of relating to God, that God no longer requires righteous, holy, obedient behavior.

The Lord Jesus does not represent the termination of the Law of Moses, but the fulfillment, the final result of the Law of Moses. Paul stated we are justified by faith, by Divine grace that operates apart from the works of the Law.

But we Gentiles have interpreted “works” to mean godly behavior. Paul was viewing works as the endeavors of the human, adamic personality to obey the various aspects of the Law of Moses, such as the Ten Commandments and the statutes governing feast days, leprosy, crime, diet, and so forth. If by “works” Paul meant godly behavior, then Paul would have been contrasting grace and godly behavior. Since the true grace of God always leads to godly behavior, Paul’s argument would be misdirected and incompetent indeed! Today’s understanding of Paul could hardly be more destructive of God’s intention under the new covenant. The moral character of the Christian churches has been destroyed because of the current error.

If Romans chapter 6 is studied carefully, it will give the believer a true understanding of Divine grace under the new covenant. But if we want to be able to perceive what the verses state, we must clear our minds of the traditional grace-rapture-Heaven concept of redemption, because nothing resembling this pattern appears in Romans 6. The Scripture does not present grace as a forgiveness that makes us eligible for eternal residence in Heaven, but as a powerful act of transformation, based on our union with the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, that results in eternal life.

The goal is victory over sin and the resulting incorruptible resurrection life, not eternal residence in Heaven. There is a new world coming, and the Divine salvation gives us eternal life so we may enjoy the new world. We do not go to the new world when we die, the new world is coming to the earth at the appearing of the Lord from Heaven.

“who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Luke 18:30)

“In the age to come.” Not after we die and pass into the spirit realm, but in the world to come.

“But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; (Luke 20:35)

“That age” is associated with the “resurrection from the dead.”

For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. (Hebrews 2:5)

God today is forming rulers who will govern the world to come.

The Christian salvation is a tremendous work that transforms the human personality so that in the righteous age, which even now is on the horizon, the individual may enjoy eternal life in the Presence of the Lord.

Forgiveness gives us a start on the path that leads to life. The Lord Jesus Himself is the Way, the Truth, and the Life that lead us to the Father. We cannot enjoy fellowship with the Father except as we walk in the light of God’s will, a will that is continually transforming us in preparation for eternal life in the new world of righteousness.

In place of the “rapture” of untransformed individuals to remove them from the problems of the world, the scriptural emphasis is on the removal of spiritual death, on obtaining resurrection life by gaining victory over sin. The unsaved person cannot gain victory over his sinful behavior. But because of the legal processes and Virtue included in the new covenant, the individual who abides in the Lord Jesus can and shall gain victory over sin until eternal life is solidly in his possession.

The unsaved person is doomed to remain in captivity to sin and to suffer the resulting corruption and death (separation from God). The saved person has the resources, through the Lord Jesus, to conquer sin and to enter eternal life and glory (union with God through Christ).

If we do not understand the above, then we do not understand Romans chapter 6; neither do we understand the Christian salvation.

Verse one.

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? (Romans 6:1)

Since the Apostle Paul had stressed that under the new covenant we no longer are obligated to obey the Law of Moses, the conclusion could be drawn that we are free to keep on sinning. The idea is that our continuing to sin produces an increase of grace—the grace of God needed to cover our continuing sinfulness and rebellion against God.

This reasoning is perverse. We know God’s intention under all covenants is that men practice justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. If the new covenant excuses us from the necessity for righteous behavior, and the idea is to magnify the mercy and forgiveness of God, then the new covenant is inferior to every other covenant God has made with mankind. In fact, it works against God’s desire.

Contrary to current thinking, the new covenant is not a provision God has made for people walking in lust and rebellion to have fellowship with God. New-covenant grace is not primarily forgiveness, although it includes forgiveness. New-covenant grace is primarily the means of our deliverance from Satan, and our change into the moral image of Christ and entrance into restful union with God through Christ.

Is the conclusion to be drawn from Paul’s argument against the Jews that believers in Christ ought to continue sinning so Divine grace may increase? Not at all, although from today’s preaching, one could wonder if we really are convinced that the new covenant is not an invitation to sin. Perhaps it is true (we muse) that if we continue to sin, grace increases and covers that sin so we may remain acceptable to God, and that this is a desirable condition from God’s point of view.

Verse two.

Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? (Romans 6:2)

No, we are not to continue to sin so grace may abound. The answer to the sin question is, we are “dead to sin.” But what does this expression mean? There are at least three possible answers:

  • The sin nature is dead in us and we no longer have sinful desires.
  • It does not matter too much if we sin because God does not regard what a believer does as being sinful.
  • Sinful behavior is not appropriate, reasonable, expected, or desirable because we have taken our place with Christ on the cross and in so doing have declared our adamic personality to be dead with Christ and our new nature to be risen with Christ.

Paul had not, in previous chapters, introduced the concept that we are dead to sin. He now proceeds to elaborate the idea of being dead to sin, for it is in our union with Christ’s death and resurrection that the answer is found to the perplexing issue of the relationship of the Law of Moses to the new covenant, and the relationship of sin to the new covenant.

Verse three.

Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? (Romans 6:3)

If we want to understand Romans chapter 6, we must keep in mind that Paul is speaking to people who have been baptized in water. The final verse of the chapter, speaking of the wages of sin, often is addressed to the unsaved. However Romans 6:23, stating the wages of sin is death, is directed toward believers who have signified their faith, their conversion to Christ, by being baptized in water.

Do we truly understand that when we were baptized into Christ, we were baptized into His death on the cross? Do we truly comprehend and accept this position? It may be a fact that most people who are baptized in water do so in a spirit of obedience, not necessarily as an act of consciously entering the death of the Lord. In some denominations, water baptism is a ritual signifying membership in the denomination. This concept hardly is scriptural.

When a person desires to become a Christian, to be saved, and he is commanded to be baptized, he does so in obedience to the ministry and the Scripture. “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved.” But does he understand he is entering the crucifixion of Jesus? The Lord Jesus bore upon Himself the sins of the world.

No doubt His death began in Gethsemane as He agreed before the Father to carry the necessary load of guilt and shame. From Gethsemane to Calvary: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” And then, “It is finished.” The perfect atonement had been made. This statement by the Lord Jesus “It is finished” marked the end of the entire adamic creation. The race of mankind, the earth, the heavens—all were brought to their prophesied end on the cross.

What else was terminated? The guilt, the compulsion, and the effects of our sin. The rebellion against the Father had been judged. Satan had been found guilty as charged. The end of all things had come. Our adamic nature was slain on the cross of Calvary. Therefore the authority of the Law of Moses over our old personality was brought to an end.

It is finished!

Verse four.

Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)

“We also should walk in newness of life.” The gospel preached today is not the Gospel of the Scriptures. It is not the new covenant. The true new covenant is the Gospel of “newness of life.” The gospel of today is that of forgiveness with a view of going to Heaven to dwell forever in a land of joy and peace.

Contrast “newness of life” and “going to Heaven to dwell forever in a land of joy and peace.” But, one may object that these really are the same thing. They are not at all the same thing! The first is a change in what we are. The second is a change in where we are. The tradition of today is that God takes us as we are, forgives us, and when we die (or in a rapture) brings us to a place where there is no pain, trouble, or dread. The true Gospel of the Lord Jesus assigns us to the cross and our new born-again nature to the right hand of the Father. Then it sets about to change us totally, conforming us to the moral—and finally bodily—image of the Lord Jesus. It also brings us into total union with God through the Lord Jesus. Notice the contrast between the two viewpoints:

  • Forgives us and takes us to a place where there is no pain, trouble, or dread.
  • Conforms us to the image of the Lord Jesus and brings us into total union with God through the Lord Jesus so we are walking in “newness of life.”

The two operations are not the same.

The first is of great benefit to us. The second is of great benefit to God. Why is our change into the image of the Lord Jesus of great benefit to God? Because God’s purposes can be accomplished in and through us only when we have been changed into the image of the Lord and brought into total, restful union with God through Christ, only when we are living in newness of life in Christ.

Although I listed these earlier, it’s worth repeating the following purposes that God has in mind for us. Please keep in mind that none of these purposes is possible to a forgiven adamic personality. Each is possible only to the individual who has entered the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, who as a result has been changed into the image of the Lord Jesus and brought into perfect union with Him and who therefore is walking in newness of life:

  • The creation of a bride for the Lamb (Revelation 21:9).
  • The creation of a living temple for God (Ephesians 2:22).
  • The creation of a body for Christ, the Servant of the Lord (Isaiah 42:1; I Corinthians 12:12).
  • The creation of a vehicle for the end-time revival (Isaiah 60:1,2).
  • The creation of people who can restore Paradise on the earth (Romans 8:21).
  • The creation of a royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9).
  • The creation of witnesses of God (Isaiah 43:10).
  • The creation of sons of God (Revelation 21:7).
  • The creation of brothers of Christ (Romans 8:29).
  • The creation of saints who gain victory over the accuser (Revelation 12:10,11).
  • The creation of governors for the nations of the saved (Revelation 2:26,27).
  • The creation of judges of men and angels (I Corinthians 6:2,3).
  • The creation of a wall of defense around the Glory of God (Revelation 21:14).
  • The creation of the revelation of Himself—God in Christ in the saints (Revelation 3:12).

These are purposes of God—purposes that will be accomplished in the saints who are walking in newness of life.

But how is the necessary change accomplished? How are we brought from our present adamic state to “newness of life” so the purposes of God may be fulfilled in us and through us? The answer is, by union with the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. We consider ourselves to be crucified with Christ and risen with Him. We begin each day with the viewpoint we are a dead-living person. We, through the Virtue, wisdom, and energy of the Holy Spirit, overcome the appetites and enticements that would keep us chained to the lusts of our adamic nature. Also, we draw on the incorruptible resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus for wisdom and strength to do all He has commanded.

The Law of Moses cannot condemn us because we are dead on the cross. The Law of Moses has no authority over the dead. The Spirit of God gives us power over the power of sin in our flesh in anticipation of the day when the Lord appears and, after ridding our body of the last vestiges of sin, will finally fill our mortal body with the Holy Spirit who today is dwelling in us.

The new life is infinitely more than a change in our habit patterns. It is the eternal, incorruptible resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus. It is Divine Life! Eternal life is given to us as we view ourselves as dead on the cross with the Lord and risen with Him to the right hand of the Father.

and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, (Ephesians 2:6)

Water baptism is a drama that portrays our burial with the Lord Jesus and our resurrection and ascension with Him to the highest throne of the universe. This is the true Christian salvation. It is not the forgiving of Adam and the bringing of him in his untransformed state back into Paradise so he may eat of the tree of life and live forever as a rebel against God.

Rather, it is the crucifixion of Adam and the ascension of his new born-again nature to the Father through Christ so that Jesus through the Holy Spirit may transform his entire personality by the Virtue of God. Then the new Adam can eat of the tree of life and live forever because the wall of Christ, the wall against sin and rebellion, has been constructed in his spirit, soul, and body.

Verse five.

For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, (Romans 6:5)

If we want to be resurrected with the Lord Jesus, if we want to attain to the out-resurrection from the dead that will take place when the Lord appears, we must come to know the Lord, the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.

Sometimes it is taught that we are “identified” with the death of the Lord and with His resurrection. While this is true, it can lead to a false conclusion. The term identified can lead to the idea that our relationship to the death and resurrection of the Lord is conceptual, mental, theological. We can subscribe to the idea that we have died and been raised with the Lord, and then continue our adamic, animal existence.

We prefer the term union. We enter a living, tangible union with the death of the Lord and with His resurrection. In so doing, we are released from four bondages:

  • We are released from the authority of the Law of Moses.
  • We are released from the guilt of sin.
  • We are released from the power of sin.
  • We are released from slavery to our self-will.

We are released from the authority of the Law of Moses because we have died with Christ, and the Law does not govern the dead.

We are released from the guilt of sin because the blood of the Lord Jesus paid the price for our transgressions. The blood satisfied the justice of God. The soul who sins must die. Jesus died in our place and we escape the penalty.

We are released from the power of sin when we confess our sins and repent of them. As we do, the power of the Holy Spirit overcomes the power of the indwelling sin, and we are able to keep from practicing it. Deliverance from the compulsions of sin is a major aspect of the Christian redemption.

However it is the fourth area of redemption, release from slavery to our self-will, that is the crucial aspect of our salvation as sons of God. The original sin was not adultery or bearing false witness or stealing or profanity or murder. None of these had as yet entered the new creation, although they may have been active in the heavens among the followers of Satan in some form. The original sin was self-willed disobedience. Adam and Eve obeyed their self-will in place of the will of the Father. Through their disobedience, sin was able to enter their personalities, in particular their bodies, and bring them into slavery to sin.

Sin resides in the members of our body because we are descendants of Adam and Eve. Before we come to Jesus, our spirit, soul, and body are cut off from God because of the sin that dwells in them. When we receive the Lord Jesus, all our sins are completely forgiven. Also, we no longer are under the authority of the Law of Moses. Now we are authorized to begin the process of removing the sin from our personality. Our inner nature is alive because of the righteousness given to the inner man by the Holy Spirit. Eternal life is always the result of righteousness.

And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit [spirit; inner man] is life because of righteousness. (Romans 8:10)

“Life because of righteousness”—the righteousness ascribed to us because of our faith in the Lord Jesus. Righteousness is always the basis for eternal life. Our spirit, our inner man, is righteous. But our body remains dead, separated from God, because of the sin that dwells in it. Little by little, through the Holy Spirit, we are able to put to death the sin that dwells in us. At the same time, the Life of Jesus is increasing in us.

For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13)

But deliverance from sin is only part of the Divine redemption. The most important aspect of our salvation is deliverance from our self-will so we are free to obey God sternly and totally.

The solution to freedom from the authority of the Law of Moses, freedom from the guilt of sin, freedom from the power of sin, and freedom from self-will and disobedience, is our union with the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

It is more than identification, it is union. It is an active, vigorous entering into the death of Jesus and the resurrection of Jesus. We enter death and resurrection each day as the Spirit of God guides and enables us, and the result is freedom from sin and disobedience and joyous participation in the will of God in every aspect of personality and behavior.

Toward the end of his life, the Apostle Paul told how he had found the supreme goal and joy of life to be the possession of Christ, the knowledge of His resurrection and change into the likeness of His death.

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:8)

Notice we are not dealing here with an abstract theological position, a philosophy, an assent to a concept. As a result of his union with Christ, Paul had experienced the loss of all things. Furthermore his joy was so great because of what he was experiencing in Christ that he regarded every other accomplishment of his life as garbage.

and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; (Philippians 3:9)

The “righteousness which is from God by faith” has little to do with belief in theological facts of redemption. It is not mere belief in the death and resurrection of Christ. The righteousness that is from God by faith is our continual entering into the death of Christ and the resurrection of Christ accompanied by our evaluation of all else as trash.

To Paul, the fundamental Jew steeped in the traditions of the Law of Moses, letting go of the Levitical traditions and embracing the Lord Jesus was a stupendous undertaking. It was a daily challenge to be assured that God was receiving him even though his mind was not on the Law but on the living Christ. Day by day, Paul’s faith laid hold upon Christ. Day by day, the assurance, the joy, the peace increased. The most profound of human problems was being dealt with—Paul’s will was being converted to the will of God. Because Christ’s Life was increasing in Paul, Paul was delighting to do God’s will.

I delight to do your will, O my God, and your law is within my heart.” (Psalms 40:8)

The most peaceful, joyous experience possible to a human being is attained when our will is identical with the will of God. Then we are free. Then we are God’s bondslaves. Then we are in the rest of God. Then we are united with Him in His death and resurrection.

As long as any part of our will is not found in God, we are in partial slavery to our own self-will, which is equivalent to slavery to Satan. If we persevere in following Christ, we remain free from the Law of Moses, free from the guilt of sin, free from the compulsions of sin, and finally, free from self-will.

To obtain all these freedoms is to attain to the resurrection that is out from among the dead.

if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection [Greek: out-resurrection] from the dead. (Philippians 3:11)

For those who have attained to the inner resurrection, which is available now—in this life, there remains only the filling of our mortal body with the Spirit of God. The filling of our mortal body with incorruptible resurrection life marks our adoption as a son of God.

Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)

“Waiting for the adoption.” Our inner nature must be born of God, but our body is to be adopted.

Deliverance from sin is not the goal. Deliverance is a means to the goal. The goal is to be in the image of Christ and to be in union with Christ. In order to attain the goal and thus be made available to God for the fulfillment of His purposes, we must be delivered from moral impurity, and especially from self-will.

Verse six.

knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. (Romans 6:6)

In Romans 6:6, we are dealing with two entities:

  • Our old man.
  • The body of sin.

The old man is our original adamic personality.

The body of sin is the sin that dwells in our flesh and is the reason for our body being dead—cut off from the eternal Life of God.

Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. (Romans 7:20)

There is nothing but evil in the body of sin that dwells in us. There is some good in our adamic personality, but then there is the horrible problem of self-will. The Christian salvation, unlike all other religions and philosophies, does not attempt to reform our adamic personality. The Christian salvation assigns our entire adamic personality (our old man) to the cross with Christ. Our old personality is not salvageable.

The adamic personality cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. (I Corinthians 15:50)

The Christian redemption assigns the old man (the entire old man, the good and the bad of it) to the cross with Christ. Then the Divine redemption, the new covenant, gives birth to a new man, a new inner nature, and immediately lifts the new nature to the right hand of God. The new nature is the Seed of God and cannot sin.

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. (I John 3:9)

The adamic nature must accept its death and, while waiting for the inner nature to gain strength, must seek to obey the teachings of the Apostles. One cannot enter the Kingdom of God unless the old man is faithful in accepting its death and in striving to obey the commandments of the Apostles.

But the new covenant, the Kingdom of God, is not found in the reformation of the old personality. The Kingdom of God is Christ Himself who is formed in the believer. Christ, the Day Star, rises in the heart. However, Christ can be formed in us only as we obey the Apostles, faithfully waiting on the Lord in every aspect of life. We obey the Apostles. We obey. Sometimes, as in a new believer, the “we” consists mostly of the first, adamic personality.

The only way we can escape slavery to sin is by assigning our first personality—the good and the bad of it—to the cross with Christ. Spiritual deliverance is available to the Body of Christ in our day. People can be delivered from murder, hatred, lust, covetousness, jealousy, drunkenness, and every other demonic chain.

However, if the individual is not faithfully following Christ in death and resurrection, the deliverance may prove to be partial and temporary.

Spiritual deliverance, if it is to be an eternal judgment on Satan and a permanent deliverance for us, must be accompanied by the formation of Christ in us. The correct procedure is for the growth of Christ to expose an area of sin. After the unclean spirit has been cast out, Christ is to grow into that area and secure it from further encroachments by the enemy.

If deliverance is practiced as a quick, easy solution to moral bondage, apart from an accompanying growth of Christ, the deliverance will likely be partial, as we have said, and not permanent. God’s goal is not the deliverance of human beings, it is sons in His image who are abiding in Christ.

The Lord is freeing us from sin by replacing our original flesh-and-blood personality with a new personality formed from the Life of God. The old Adam is being replaced with a new Adam. All things are being made new and all things are of God.

Some of the traits of the adamic personality, such as love, loyalty, honor, courage, friendliness, integrity, are not sinful. But each of these traits, until it is renewed in Christ, will fail under enough pressure or because of deception, or will become warped. Love becomes lust. Loyalty becomes a party spirit and divisiveness. Honor becomes pride. Courage becomes recklessness, presumption, or unwarranted boldness. Friendliness becomes weakness and a desire to please people instead of God. Human integrity will fail eventually if it is not renewed by the Virtue of the Lord’s Person.

The capacity for love and union may be the distinguishing characteristic of mankind. It is not stated concerning the angels that they are able to love or enter into union with another. But love can turn into the monster of lust.

Much is said today concerning love, especially in the churches. But it is usually human love and can be the most formidable enemy of the Gospel. When the truth is preached, the listeners of today may accuse the preacher of a lack of love. They may be hearing what is needed to save them from destruction, and the preaching may be coming from the love of God ministering through the preacher. But today’s congregations, having been corrupted by self-serving ministers who flatter their congregations, often perceive the stern warnings of the prophets as lacking in love. They do not know what love is! Neither do they understand the difference between condemnation and conviction.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, (II Corinthians 5:17,18)

Verse seven.

For he who has died has been freed from sin. (Romans 6:7)

Freedom from sin is accomplished in three steps:

  • Freedom from the guilt of sin.
  • Immediate deliverance from the force of sin.
  • Ultimate deliverance from the force of sin.

We already have discussed freedom from the guilt imposed by the Law of Moses. As long as we are abiding in Christ and walking according to the Spirit of God, guilt is not an issue. Our sins were forgiven through Christ’s death on the cross and they continue to be forgiven as we walk in the light of God’s will. If we are abiding in Christ, we now are without condemnation in the sight of God. Our adamic personality, over which the Law of Moses holds sway, is dead with Christ and therefore no longer under the authority of the Law.

The continuing problem is the force of sin, the lust, the enticement that resides in our flesh and deceives us into practicing behaviors of which we do not approve. Our body is not morally neutral. There are forces dwelling in it that crave satisfaction—satisfaction found in actions that may be contrary to God’s moral Nature.

Christ, through the Holy Spirit, has provided an immediate deliverance from sin. As we confess our sins and repent of them, the Holy Spirit takes the fire and life out of them and we are able to keep our body under control. In this manner we are kept by our faith to the day of redemption.

who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (I Peter 1:5)
who is the guarantee [pledge] of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:14)

The ultimate deliverance from sin will take place at the coming of the Lord. The Lord will appear to those who faithfully are looking for him, who have kept His Word which came through the Apostles, who have patiently overcome sin through the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit. The Lord will appear to them and redeem their mortal bodies. He will appear without sin bringing the ultimate release from the force of sin. He will redeem their mortal bodies from all of the energies of sin, the very presence of sin. He will fill their bodies with eternal, incorruptible resurrection life. This is the white garment that will be given to the Bride at Christ’s appearing. The white garment is the righteous deeds the victorious saints have practiced through the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit.

And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. (Revelation 19:8)

The promised redemption will not take place in the lukewarm, only in those persons who have proven their worthiness by faithfully, patiently keeping the words of the Lord.

“You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. (Revelation 3:4)

The coming redemption is the final, ultimate solution to the problem of sin.

Let us keep in mind that only one of the various aspects of salvation comes to us legally through imputation. Only forgiveness of sin and the consequent righteousness in God’s sight is imputed (ascribed) to us. All of the remaining elements of our inheritance, such as eternal life, being a member of the Body of Christ, a part of the Bride of the Lamb, a pillar of the Temple of God, and so forth, are never imputed to us. They cannot be just ascribed to us. They are actual facts of personality, behavior, and role.

The enormous misunderstanding of the Christian Church is that all areas of redemption are ascribed to us because of our belief in Jesus, are ours by legal authority alone, and that this legal position of imputation is the Christian redemption. This misunderstanding makes the Kingdom of God a house of cards. There is little reality, little life. It is a kind of withdrawal from reality.

The Kingdom of God is a real kingdom in which human beings are transformed into sons of God, not by mercy and forgiveness, but by actual transformation through the impartation of the Divine Nature. The new creation is not imputed, it grows from the Divine Seed against every kind of obstacle. The greater part of the Seed sown today never brings forth lasting fruit. The lesser part that does bring forth lasting fruit does so in varying degrees.

It is time for the Church to wake up. The Kingdom of God is at hand and it is a genuine kingdom with a King, a nobility, an army, and all other aspects of a kingdom. None of this reality and Divine glory is ascribed to us when we do not possess it; rather it is created in us as we patiently, faithfully follow Christ through the tribulations of life on earth.

God envisions things that are not in existence as though they were in existence. God already sees us glorified in Christ. But unless we press forward in the Holy Spirit until we actually are glorified, the Divine vision will never become reality. Let us not be mistaken about this, or one day we will be weeping and gnashing our teeth in remorse because of opportunities forever lost.

Salvation and glorification are always an opportunity, not a fact ascribed to us when there is no reality.

Deliverance from both the guilt and the force of sin takes place in those who live each day in union with the death of Christ and the resurrection of Christ.

Verse eight.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, (Romans 6:8)

Every aspect of the Divine redemption is based on the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and our participation in that resurrection. How terrible it would have been if Christ had been crucified carrying the load of our sins and then had been imprisoned eternally in Hades! In that case, we would have had no guarantee that our sins were forgiven. It is Christ’s resurrection that makes redemption the glorious triumph that it is, that assures our entrance into joy and glory. Apart from Christ’s resurrection and our resurrection, we are of all people the most to be pitied.

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (I Corinthians 15:19,20)

We have voluntarily entered into union with Christ’s death and burial. We have done so in order that we may be raised with Him far above all other authority and power. Our hope of eternal life is based entirely on Christ’s resurrection.

The reason today’s preachers and teachers do not emphasize the resurrection, in some cases stressing the ascension (“rapture”) as an escape from earth’s problems, is that they have never taken their place on the cross with Christ. They are very much alive in their adamic nature. They are hoping that God will save them as they are and carry them to a place where they will be perfectly happy. They are fortunate God is not going to fulfill their hope, because if He did bring them in their adamic state into Paradise, they soon would be competing angrily with one another.

The victorious saints are being changed into Christ’s death, and experiencing the power of Christ’s resurrection. They are looking for and longing for His appearing. He will appear to them and fulfill their desire for righteousness. At His coming He will change their physical bodies until they are like His.

so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)

“To those who eagerly wait for Him.”

who will transform our lowly body [the body of our humbling] that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:21)

“Conformed to his glorious body.” Then we shall live together with the Lord for the eternity of eternities.

Verse nine.

knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. (Romans 6:9)

Every aspect of our personality that experiences the death and resurrection of Christ becomes free from the power of sin and death.

Let us say that someone has injured us severely and without cause. Satan immediately attacks us with spirits of revenge, bitterness, hatred. This is part of our daily struggle against spiritual death and our attempt to enter life. If we choose to disobey the Lord’s commandment by not forgiving our enemy, spiritual death prevails. We remain in the corruption of the old adamic nature. No progress is made toward the first resurrection, the resurrection of the victorious saints that will take place when the Lord appears.

If we choose to obey the Lord’s commandment by forgiving our enemy, we must seek His Divine Virtue and His Holy Spirit, because the power to forgive does not reside in our flesh. The moment we choose to forgive, Divine authority and power take charge. The evil spirits seeking to dwell in us are rendered powerless. The forgiving Nature of Jesus enters our spirit. Part of our personality dies and a new, Divine element takes its place.

The new element is now an eternal part of our personality. Death has no power over it. It is our inheritance to the ages of ages. It is an eternal judgment in our favor. We are being made incorruptibly alive as we follow the Lord in the process of death and resurrection!

Verse ten.

For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. (Romans 6:10)

The Lord Jesus never again will be required to bear the load of sin. He never again will be required to experience the terrors of Gethsemane. He never again will be exposed to the mocking faces of demons in Hades. He is in incomprehensible Glory for eternity in the Presence of God.

The Apostle Paul never again will be required to wrestle against sin in his flesh. He never again will have to bear the scorn of the Jews or the pains of shipwreck and imprisonment. He is dwelling in incomprehensible Glory for eternity in the Presence of God.

So it is with us. Today we are in the death throes of sin. If we remain faithful, pressing each day into the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, we will live to God rather than to sin. We will grow each day in the life lived to God.

Finally, if we do not quit in despair, the hour will come when we are shed forever of the body of sin and death we now are dragging around. The new wine will be put in new bottles. We will be alive in the Presence of God in incomprehensible Glory for eternity.

It is of the greatest importance to the believer of today to realize that our change from a corruptible animal nature to eternal life in the Presence of God will not happen suddenly at our physical death, in a “rapture,” or at the coming of the Lord. Our change from death to life is taking place now. No moral transformation will take place in a “rapture” or at our physical death. The redemption that will take place at the return of Jesus will include (1) a final deliverance from all corruption and death, and (2) the issuing to us of a body fashioned from eternal life. Furthermore, this redemption will actually be the revelation of what had taken place during our pain-filled pilgrimage on the earth.

Let us make sure we are not counting on imputation (ascribed righteousness) to furnish us with the wonders of the Kingdom of God, because they come only as we participate in the process of daily death and resurrection.

Verse eleven.

Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:11)

We are to count ourselves dead to sin. We are to take the position that because we have entered the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus, sin no longer has authority over us. God has redeemed us through the blood of the Lord Jesus and we no longer are under condemnation.

We also are to count ourselves as alive in God’s Presence in Christ. This means every aspect of our personality and behavior is to be experiencing the Life of God each day of our discipleship.

We keep ourselves from sinning by confessing and repenting of our sins, by resisting the devil, by meditating each day in the Scriptures, by daily prayer, by fellowshiping on a consistent basis (as possible) with fervent disciples, by giving, serving, presenting our body a living sacrifice, and obeying God in all areas.

We keep ourselves alive to God by resisting sin and walking each day in fellowship with God. We must count we are dead with Christ and alive in the Presence of God. This is our orientation to life in all of life’s aspects. We are not our own possession. We belong to Christ. He is our personal Lord; we are to obey Him in every instance. We are to abide in Him. We are not of the world, as He is not of the world. As He is, so are we in this world.

Verse twelve.

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. (Romans 6:12)

By utilizing all the Divine provisions and directions we have discussed to this point, we are able to prevent sin from controlling our mortal body. We must always keep in mind that our body is filled with various lusts. These lusts war against the righteous, holy ways of the Lord we find in the Scriptures.

For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. (Galatians 5:17)

Notice the obligation laid on us in Romans 6:12: “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body.”

Throughout the centuries, a lie has been preached. It is that Jesus accomplished all the aspects of our redemption, and our task is only to believe that Jesus has done it, that Jesus has overcome sin. The same lie is being taught today. When we protest that the New Testament writings admonish us concerning several areas of behavior, we are accused of legalism. There is a false rest, a false assurance, a false peace that comes with the teaching that “Jesus did it all.” While such a doctrine may give temporary relief to some soul who is in despair attempting to overcome sin, it is not the true scriptural relief.

The true scriptural relief is the assurance that we are without condemnation while we are following the Spirit of the Lord. He who wants to live the victorious Christian life must know when to rest in the Lord’s finished work and when to follow the Lord into battle. We must overcome as He also was required to overcome. Our victory is possible because of His victory and because He assists us. Nevertheless, it is our victory.

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body.” It is we who prevent sin from governing our mortal body.

“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. (Revelation 3:21)

“To him who overcomes.” “As I also overcame.”

There is a time to emphasize the Overcomer (Jesus). Then there is a time to stress the victorious saint. When we overemphasize the Overcomer, that Jesus did it all, we do not grow in moral purity and strength of character. When we overemphasize the victorious saint, the victory to be gained by the saint, we may become discouraged and defeated. We must keep the two concepts in balance if we would attain the rewards offered to the overcomer.

The Lord assists us as we battle our way into Canaan. He helps us and makes victory possible. We do the fighting. Evil dwells in our mortal body. It is our responsibility to lay hold on the grace of God in Christ until the evil has been overcome. “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body.”

Verse thirteen.

And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. (Romans 6:13)

Romans chapter 6 speaks of yielding, of choosing whose slave we are. Human beings are not capable of being independent. We have been created male or female, a condition not true of the angels of God. We have been created to cleave to God in love, to worship and adore God. We are free only when we are God’s slave.

Satan, and Satan-filled people, desire and seek our adoration, our love. The demons desire and seek our attention and our compliance with their lusts. Sin is always clamoring for our attention and worship. Satan went so far as to request worship from the Lord of Glory (there is no end to the presumption of the wicked!). All humans are seeking someone or something to worship, to adore, an object of joy. It is our responsibility to ensure that we offer ourselves to the Lord God of Heaven. We are legally free to do so because we have risen from the dead with the Lord Jesus.

When we yield to Satan and his demons, who work through our bodily and soulish appetites, we gain a temporary, frantic pleasure. But we sin when we yield to the demands of the wicked. The members of our body become instruments of wickedness. We need to understand clearly that all sin is the worship of Satan. “He who commits sin is of the devil” (I John 3:8).

We are commanded to offer ourselves to God, to offer the members of our physical body to God until we are practicing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God.

The unsaved individual does not have the authority or the power to choose to yield the members of his body to the Lord. The unsaved is in the chains of Satan and can be compelled to sin. But the believer who has entered the death and resurrection of Christ has both the authority and the power to resist the passions of sin and to present the members of his body as an offering to the Lord, to become the slave of righteousness.

The Christian of today has a false model of salvation. He perceives salvation as a device to deliver him from Hell and to ensure his reception in Paradise when he dies. The truth is, salvation is the Divine deliverance from slavery to sin and the bringing of the worshiper into slavery to righteousness. The Christian salvation is not deliverance from Hell, but from the worship of Satan. Salvation is not admission to Heaven, but the power to be changed into Christ’s moral image and to enter union with the Father through Him.

Verse fourteen.

For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (Romans 6:14)

How does the Law of Moses enable sin to be our master? The knowledge of sin comes by the Law, just as in the case of Adam and Eve. They were living in nakedness, a shameful state. But because they were unaware of their nakedness, they had fellowship with the Lord with an untroubled conscience. When they partook of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which is the law of God, they became conscious of sin. The Law of Moses, an abridged and covenantal form of the eternal moral law of God, makes us conscious of sin but does not provide deliverance from sin.

We have a strong desire to please God, but there is much sin in our personality. The Law forbids us to act in a sinful manner, continually making us conscious that our appetites and behaviors are displeasing to God. Because of the condemnation the Law brings, sin keeps us from having fellowship with God. We are aware that much of our personality is opposed to God, just as Adam and Eve realized they were naked. It appears there is little we can do about it. The moment we have peace, some aspect of the Law reminds us we are sinning against God by our very nature.

New-covenant grace holds out to us total forgiveness as we enter the death of Christ on the cross. The perfect atonement has been made. God sees us as righteous in Christ. The veil is lifted and we enter before the Mercy Seat, there to obtain grace to help us as we begin to overcome sin by the Spirit of God. Sin is no longer able to govern us, to keep us from the Presence of God.

Now the process of re-creation begins. As we walk in the Spirit of God, being in a state of righteousness because of the righteousness of Christ imputed (ascribed) to us, the wisdom and power of the Spirit, combined with the Virtue of Jesus given to our new born-again nature, enable us to put to death the actions of our body. We no longer are forced to obey the dictates of the powers of sin that dwell in our adamic personality. The total forgiveness combines with the work of the Holy Spirit as He guides and empowers us, and together they release us from the rule of sin.

The ultimate deliverance, which is to come at the appearing of the Lord, will accomplish our total deliverance from the rule of sin. The ultimate deliverance has two phases:

  • The making alive of our mortal body (Romans 8:11).
  • The clothing of our redeemed mortal body with our “house from heaven” (II Corinthians 5:2).

If we have been faithful to sow to the Spirit of God, that is, to follow the Spirit as He leads us in the walk of holiness, there is an increase of resurrection life in our new reborn personality. Our thinking, speaking, and acting increasingly are guided by the Spirit into the righteous ways of the Lord. The body and blood of Jesus are continually fed to our inner man as we learn to live by Christ as He lives by the Father.

When the Lord appears, He will look for His own Substance and Nature in us. If He finds them, He will adopt us as sons of God by gathering our mortal remains wherever they have been interred, ridding them of all vestiges of sin and rebellion, and filling them with the Holy Spirit of God. This is the redemption of the mortal body.

Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)

We have been completely forgiven, we have overcome the sinful tendencies of the body, and finally the body itself has been filled with the Spirit of God in place of flesh-and-blood mortal life. Sin no longer is able to govern us because of the grace of God given in the new covenant.

If we have been totally faithful in our discipleship, during our preliminary steps toward righteousness, then when the Lord appears, we will be furnished with an even more aggressive righteousness, a crown of righteousness. As we have been brought down to death by painful and weakening circumstances and have been raised again by the Lord, a “house from heaven,” an eternal weight of glory, has been formed before the Throne of God in Heaven.

When the Lord returns, He will reward those who have overcome sin through the Spirit of God by clothing their redeemed mortal body with their house from Heaven, their white robe, their body of glory, their crown of righteousness and life. This is the “gold upon the wood” of the Ark of the Covenant.

For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (II Corinthians 5:1)
“And they shall make an ark of acacia wood; two and a half cubits shall be its length, a cubit and a half its width, and a cubit and a half its height.
“And you shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and shall make on it a molding of gold all around. (Exodus 25:10,11)

The wood (humanity) is overlaid first on the inside and then on the outside with pure gold (Divinity purified in the fire of tribulation). Today our inner nature is being overlaid with the Divine Nature. When the Lord comes, our outward nature (our body) will be overlaid with the Divine Nature.

The Law of Moses enabled sin to be our master by condemning the sinful tendencies of our personality while providing no means of deliverance (except for forgiveness from animal sacrifices—a temporary, partial solution).

The grace of God under the new covenant removes the rule of sin by (1) forgiving us, and (2) empowering us to overcome sin in this life. It then redeems our mortal body at the appearing of the Lord, crowning us with a body that has been fashioned in Heaven as we have been changed each day into the death of the Lord and raised in newness of life in union with His resurrection. Sin shall not have dominion over God’s sons!

Verse fifteen.

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! (Romans 6:15)

Because God has so freely forgiven us through Christ, does this give us the liberty to live as we choose? Absolutely not! If new-covenant grace were a license to sin, then we would know there had been a change in God. God always has desired that man behave justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. Any change in God would be the very worst of all possible calamities. If God changes, it would be best we never had been born. If the holy city, the new Jerusalem, is to be filled with people who have not been delivered from sin or self-will, but are abiding in a continual state of forgiveness, it would be better we never had existed. Relationships would continue for eternity as they are in today’s miserable state.

Contrary to the current teaching and preaching, new-covenant grace is not the Divine excuse for the sins of mankind. New-covenant grace is the inscribing of the eternal moral law of God in the minds and hearts of people, transforming them into the image of Christ and bringing them into complete, restful union with the Father through Christ. For us to continue to walk in sin after receiving Christ is for the dog to return to its vomit.

But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.” (II Peter 2:22)

Verse sixteen.

Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? (Romans 6:16)

Slavery has been practiced from the beginning of history. Of late, as human beings have sought to place human rights above all other values, slavery is being viewed as one of the greatest of all evils. Social slavery has been abolished in the democratic nations. But the so-called “free nations” are in the worst moral chains of all time. The slavery to the powers of darkness of the so-called “free” people must be a continual source of amusement to Satan and his followers.

Angels are spiritual entities. Man has not been created to be an entity. It is not good for man to be alone. He is male or female, that is, designed to be completed by union with another. The trait of love, found in people but perhaps not in the same manner in angels, causes us to seek union with God and with other people. We are not content to be independent beings. It also is true that, whether we like it or not, we will always be governed by someone or something. It is impossible for us to be free in the sense of being independent, of not being ruled.

Because the Divine Nature has been given to us in the form of Christ, we now have the authority and ability to choose to be a slave of God, an obedience that leads to righteousness. We are required, under the new covenant, to make a choice between:

  • Obeying sin and becoming the slave of sin, or
  • Obeying God and becoming the slave of God.

We do not have the alternative of being the slave of neither. If we do not actively become the slave of God, we automatically continue as a slave to sin. He who sins is always the slave of sin. No person can be the master of sin, he is always the slave of the sin he practices.

Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. (John 8:34)

Verse seventeen.

But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. (Romans 6:17)

Before we came to Christ, we were a slave of sin. Because we decided to obey the teaching of the Apostles, we have become the slave of righteousness.

This verse reveals how important it is that we obey the teaching of the Apostles. The concept that we cannot possibly obey the doctrine of the Apostles because of our sinful nature comes from Satan. As we seek the Lord’s Presence and help, we can do what the Scripture commands. The Christian doctrine of today does not set us free from sin and bring us into slavery to righteousness. Rather, it promotes the idea that while we are in the world, we are compelled to remain in slavery to sin.

The Christian Gospel has become one of forgiveness alone.

  • The Lamb of God no longer takes away the sin of the world (it is maintained); He merely forgives it.
  • The Son of God no longer destroys the works of the devil; He forgives them.
  • Instead of release from sin, we are forgiven our sins so that when we die we can go to a better land where it is not possible to sin. Even in this we have been mistaken. The truth is, it is always possible to sin in Paradise. Sin began around the Throne of God in Heaven.

The Gospel has been grievously corrupted in our day. The believers continue in slavery to sin. Imputed (ascribed) righteousness has been emphasized to the virtual exclusion of created righteousness. The Lord no longer is our righteousness by impartation and union, only by imputation and identification. False teaching has destroyed the Kingdom of God. The blind are leading the blind, and all are in the ditch as far as an understanding of the new covenant is concerned.

Verse eighteen.

And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. (Romans 6:18)

The current teaching is that we are free from the Law of Moses to do as we please, and Christ will keep on forgiving us. It is an eternal amnesty that cannot be abrogated whether or not we serve the Lord. Grace has become a sovereign viewpoint of God that operates independently of our life on the earth. The current teaching is a snare to our feet and a delusion to our mind.

The truth is, we must pass from one slavery to another—not just out of slavery, but from one slavery to another, from one master to another. We were the slave of sin. Now we no longer are the slave of sin, but the slave of righteousness. We were divorced from Moses that we may be married to Christ, not that we might kick up our heels as an unattached entity.

Righteousness is our master. Whatever we think, say, or do is to be governed by righteousness. The law of righteousness is fulfilled when we love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. Love does not harm his neighbor. Righteousness commands that we act justly, that we love mercy, and that we walk humbly with God.

We are not free to do as we please. We no longer are in slavery to the lusts of the body, but we are in slavery to the power of righteousness that proceeds from the Throne of God in Heaven.

Verse nineteen.

I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. (Romans 6:19)

Our spirit is willing, but our flesh is weak. Paul uses the practice of slavery to make clear to our weak flesh that we are required to cease offering our body as a slave to moral filthiness and ever-increasing evil. We are required, under grace, to offer the members of our body as slaves to righteousness. Slavery to righteousness leads to holiness. Holiness in its purest and ultimate form is Christ. There is nothing found in Christ that is not found in the Father. There is to be nothing found in us that is not found in Christ. There is to be nothing of Satan in us, only what is of Christ.

The Divine redemption is Christ. When our adamic personality has been crucified and our new nature has been raised with Christ, then it is true that Christ is our Life. Every aspect of our personality is to be in Christ and of Christ. The life, righteousness, holiness, love, joy, peace, self-control that we seek—all is Christ. The Presence of Christ is release from slavery to sin.

The new covenant is Christ. By becoming part of Christ, we become the new covenant. We become righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God. Such union and possession are the highest form of the Kingdom of God. They are the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the total fulfillment of the eternal law of God. Such union and possession are the only true and eternal holiness.

Verse twenty.

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. (Romans 6:20)

Paul makes a very strong point of comparing slavery to sin and slavery to righteousness, and the results of each form of slavery. It would be helpful today if God’s preachers and teachers would stress this comparison with equal intensity.

The comparison made today is between “accepting” and “not accepting” Christ. Salvation is viewed in these terms. The concept is: “Once you accept Christ, the sin problem has been solved. You now are on your way to Heaven. While you ought to try to do good in order to please Jesus, or to show your appreciation for His love, your behavior is not critically important.”

In our day, we have not only numerous demons to resist and a humanistic society to contend with, but in addition, there are newly arrived lords of the spirit realm that have been driven from the heavenlies. Some people are “channeling” these ancient potentates. They have been tricked by them and are permitting the fallen lords to use their bodies.

With such titanic forces arrayed against us, combined with the false assurance that our mansion in the spirit realm is secure no matter whether or not we please Jesus, our feeble and fleshly attempts to “please Jesus” are overpowered, leaving our adamic, animal personality, with its body of sin, intact. No redemption will take place, no release from slavery to sin, no yielding to the control of righteousness.

God has made provision for the titanic forces arrayed against us. The Divine provision is union with the atoning death of Christ and union with His triumphant resurrection. These two aspects of our union with Christ are supremely powerful and result in the destruction of our adamic, animal nature and the bringing forth of a son in God’s image who is totally obedient to the Father—perfectly righteous and perfectly holy in and through Christ. This does not mean we are righteous and holy because Christ is righteous and holy, but that the very righteousness and holiness of Christ have become our personality as we live by His body and blood instead of by our own wisdom and energy.

Verse twenty-one.

What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. (Romans 6:21)

What was produced by our slavery to sin? Every form of corruption, humiliation, pain, sickness, destruction of all that we value, the loss of the respect of our family and loved ones, and spiritual death. Sin is a hard master, and pays off in misery and spiritual death. In several instances in the book of Romans, Paul tells us that obedience to the body of sin results in death. Precisely what is spiritual death? Spiritual death is the absence of the eternal Life of God.

There are two kinds of life. One kind is physical life. The other kind is eternal life.

  • Physical life is produced as the body burns cells, providing the energy and heat the body needs to operate. The body thus is able to grow, think, move, change its environment, speak, reproduce, and perform all other acts we associate with living. Physical life is corruptible and temporary.
  • Eternal life comes from Christ and is Christ. Eternal life also provides energy to perform the functions of living. Eternal life is different from physical life in that it is without sin and is in union with God. Also, eternal life is neither corruptible nor temporary.

The term resurrection refers to the animation of the body of a human being by spiritual force. All of the dead at one time or another shall stand before God in a spiritually-animated body.

“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice
“and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. (John 5:28,29)

There is a resurrection that is not to life but to judgment. In this case, the body is animated by spiritual life but not the eternal Life of God. Satan and his angels are animated by unclean spiritual life rather than flesh and blood life. The spiritual life that animates the wicked is not the Holy Spirit of God.

The bodies of the righteous dead will be animated with the eternal Life of Christ. Eternal life had been available to mankind in the garden of Eden. Access to eternal life was lost because of the rebellion of our ancestors. The goal of the redemption that is in Christ is to attain to the first resurrection, the resurrection that animates the body with the incorruptible resurrection Life of Christ.

if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection [Greek: out-resurrection] from the dead. (Philippians 3:11)

Let us keep in mind that eternal life is not a legal state in which we live forever. All spirits live forever in one form or another. Eternal life cannot be imputed (ascribed) to us, it is an actual Presence, virtue, substance, energy, and wisdom that are given to us. When we first receive Christ, we are given a portion of His Life. God’s intention after this initial gift is that we become the slave of righteousness, thus entering ever-increasing eternal life. Our Christian discipleship is a continual warfare as death and life struggle for supremacy over our personality. The objective is to keep pressing into eternal life until we attain to the resurrection to eternal, incorruptible Divine life. The Lord Jesus came that we might have abundant eternal life.

Each day a portion of evil confronts us in the form of lust, unforgiveness, rage, doubt, fear, discouragement, drunkenness, sorcery, or some other aspect of spiritual darkness and death. Each day we choose either to call upon the Lord to help us put down the evil and live in His eternal Life, in His body and blood, or else to yield to the invitation to dwell in the darkness of sin. If we choose to live in Christ’s eternal Life, a portion of our adamic personality dies and is replaced with eternal life. If we choose to yield to the invitation to continue in sin and rebellion against the righteous ways of the Lord, no change occurs in our sin nature and the eternal life we received in the beginning is weakened.

It is entirely possible to lose the eternal life given when we received Christ. It is entirely possible to slay our own resurrection to life.

“But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.
“Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. (Luke 8:13,14)
“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. (John 15:2)

“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away.” Well-intentioned teachers make plays on words and draw analogies to “prove” that once we have eternal life, we cannot lose it. The Scripture clearly states otherwise.

Eternal life is not a legal state or an intangible we cannot perceive. The mature Christian will know of people who began in the way of righteousness and then drew back into the pleasures of the world. The difference in their personality is noticeable. The glow of the Lord has departed. The “oil” has gone from their lamp. Eternal life has slipped away. That which would have raised them at the appearing of Jesus has departed. By choosing sin they have died spiritually.

Today’s teaching that we cannot lose our eternal life by sinning is a deadly error, a destructive teaching. As we have said, the blind are leading the blind and they both are in the ditch of spiritual death. The Word states “the end of those things is death.” Are we to claim that these words are addressed to the unsaved? Is it not indisputably clear that the Apostle Paul is warning believers that if they choose to be servants of sin, they will die spiritually?

For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13)

“If you [believers] live according to the flesh you will die [spiritually].” “You will die.”

Let us recognize that the teaching of today, including the footnotes in the Christian editions of the Scriptures, are promoting deadly error. It is time for a reformation of Christian thinking. The overemphasis on grace and mercy is no trivial theological error. It comes directly from Satan and creates moral havoc in people. Dispensationalism is a destructive model of interpretation. The lawless-grace-rapture-Heaven model of salvation is erroneous. We have been deceived. Salvation is not from earth to Heaven but from death to life, and these two goals are not the same.

Verse twenty-two.

But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end [result is], everlasting life. (Romans 6:22)

We have been set free from the guilt of sin by entering the crucifixion of the righteous Jesus. We are being set free from the force of sin by the power of the Holy Spirit.

It is of supreme importance that we not stop at this point. We must choose to become the slave of God. When we do not turn from slavery to sin and choose to be the slave of God, the freedom we have received through our union with the crucifixion of Jesus loses its intent. We abort the purpose of our release from the Law of Moses.

The benefit we receive from being the slave of God is holiness. Slavery to God results in our holiness.

The result of slavery to God, and the resulting holiness, is eternal life. Eternal life is our goal. Eternal life cannot be imputed (assigned to us as a legal state apart from actual possession by us); it is a kind of life that results from slavery to God and holiness of behavior.

Verse twenty-three.

For the wages of sin [practiced by the Christian] is death, but the gift of God [to the Christian who chooses to be the slave of righteousness] is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

Sin pays off in loss of the Presence of God (which is loss of eternal life), every conceivable distress, agony, corruption, futility, and finally physical death.

The gift of God is the eternal Life that is the Presence of God in Christ.

The word “gift” must be defined by all that Paul has written in Romans chapter 6. Eternal life is not a gift handed to us that requires no action on our part. The gift of eternal life is like the gift of a piano. The gift of a piano does not enable us to play Beethoven and Bach. Rather, the gift of a piano opens a window of opportunity so we may learn, after numerous hours of disciplined practice, to play Beethoven and Bach.

To receive the fullness of eternal life at the coming of the Lord requires that we sow our body to the death of the cross and our inner nature to the resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus.

The approach to eternal life is not one of mental orientation to correct facts of theology, but of sowing to the Spirit of God.

So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.
It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. (I Corinthians 15:42,43)
For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. (Galatians 6:8)

Galatians 6:8 parallels Romans 6:23 and Romans 8:13. If the Christian chooses to live in the appetites of his flesh, he will reap corruption in the Day of the Lord. Grace and mercy operate now, not in the Day of the Lord. What we reap in the Day of the Lord depends strictly on what we sow today.

The believer who spends each day seeking to follow the Holy Spirit of God will grow in eternal Life today, and in the Day of the Lord he will be crowned with eternal Life, with the Presence of God in Christ. Think of living in the holy, glorious, joyous, peaceful Presence of God for the eternity of eternities!

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (I Timothy 6:12)

“Lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called.”

We are called to eternal life, and we must fight the good fight of faith in order to lay hold on it. Eternal life is not just handed to us because we say “Jesus is Lord.” The concept that eternal life is handed to us because we say “Jesus is Lord” comes from taking one or two verses from the Gospels or from the writings of Paul, removing them from their contexts, and using them as “key verses” from which we deduce a formula. As a brother once explained, every verse of the Scriptures must be interpreted in the light of the entire Scriptures. Every verse of the Scriptures has an assigned weight, a specific value in the equation that equals eternal life. When we give a verse or passage a value different from its assignment in the entire Scriptures, the equation is no longer correct.

All men are dead spiritually because all have sinned. But God, through the Lord Jesus Christ, has made it possible for us to turn from death and embrace the ways of eternal life. The unsaved have no choice. Only those who are of Christ have the choice to continue to yield to darkness and spiritual death, or to turn away from the darkness and become the slave of righteousness, thus attaining to eternal life.

As we began our discussion of Romans chapter 6, we quoted Paul as stating we are “dead to sin.” Then we gave three possible interpretations of Paul’s statement:

  • The sin nature is dead in us and we no longer have sinful desires.
  • It does not matter too much if we sin because God does not regard what a believer does as being sinful.
  • Sinful behavior is not appropriate, reasonable, expected, or desirable because we have taken our place with Christ on the cross and in so doing have declared our adamic personality to be dead with Christ and our new nature to be risen with Christ.

From our comments above, what do you believe would be the likely interpretation?

Ministry by Means of Death and Resurrection

We have just studied how we are set free from the authority of the Law of Moses, from the guilt of sin, from the force of sin, and from slavery to our self-will.

As we grow in eternal life, the time arrives when we are ready to influence other people. The resurrection life that is releasing us from slavery to sin has become strong enough to reach out and release others. The crucifixion of Christ, into which we have entered by faith in order to gain release from sin and self-will, now becomes more of a reality. Things happen to us that conform us to the death of Christ, that bring us continually down to weakness and death.

We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—
always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. (II Corinthians 4:8-10)

We now are sharing the sufferings of Christ. We actually are experiencing the kind of death He died. We are speaking of the saint who has grown in eternal life until he is ready to bring the Divine Life to others. We see the pattern in the book of Ezekiel. The portrayal is that of the person who comes to the Door of the house (Christ—the Door of the eternal Temple of God) and then looks eastward to the coming of the Lord.

Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east; the water was flowing from under the right side of the temple, south of the altar.
He brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me around on the outside to the outer gateway that faces east; and there was water, running out on the right side. (Ezekiel 47:1,2)

Immediately the seeker is faced with judgment (the man with the line in his hand) and with the waters of eternal life. Judgment and eternal life always go together, as we noted in Romans chapter 6. The flaming sword of the judgment of God still turns in every direction to guard the way of the tree of life. Eternal life is given only as we choose continually (make a judgment) to turn away from wickedness and to yield to the righteous ways of the Lord.

And when the man went out to the east with the line in his hand, he measured one thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the water came up to my ankles.
Again he measured one thousand and brought me through the waters; the water came up to my knees. Again he measured one thousand and brought me through; the water came up to my waist.
Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross; for the water was too deep, water in which one must swim, a river that could not be crossed. (Ezekiel 47:3-5)

As we move toward the Day of the Lord, toward the fullness of eternal life, there are waters to the ankles—the beginning stage of redemption. Then waters to the knees—the Spirit of God is beginning to affect our walk, that is, the Holy Spirit is enabling us to live a holy life. We press into waters to the loins—the place of strength and reproduction, dominion and fruitfulness. If we keep moving forward there are waters to swim in—the fullness of life lived in the eternal Spirit of God.

What is next?

He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this?” Then he brought me and returned me to the bank of the river. (Ezekiel 47:6)

We are brought back to the “bank of the river” in order that we may grow there as a tree of life. Then out from our belly flows the river of life that brings eternal life to the dead sea of mankind. With the greatest joy we bring forth water from the wells of salvation so whoever chooses to do so may drink freely of Divine Life.

He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. (Psalms 1:3)
Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:3)
And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17)
“And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes. (Ezekiel 47:9)

The Glory of the Lord shall cover the earth when the waters of eternal life make alive the dead sea of mankind.

This is the experience the Apostle Paul was having.

For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
So then death is working in us, but life in you. (II Corinthians 4:11,12)

Paul was always being brought down to the death of the cross. Paul was always being raised by the resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus. The overflow of the Divine Life was bringing release and eternal Life to those to whom the Apostle Paul was ministering. The eternal life that proceeded from the “death” of Paul continues to bring release and Life to this very moment.

But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. (Acts 16:25,26)

“Everyone’s chains were loosed” when the Apostles were released from prison. The overflow of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus always brings the dead out of their graves.

and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;
and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. (Matthew 27:52,53)

All true ministry comes from the cross. It is only as we are brought down to death and then raised by the Lord that we are able to bring His Presence and Life to other people.

who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (II Corinthians 1:4)

The crucifixion and resurrection that deliver us from sin and death are the only true source of resurrection life for those to whom we minister.

Conclusion—Obtaining a Better Resurrection

Women received their dead raised to life again. And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. (Hebrews 11:35)

The goal of the Christian discipleship is to obtain a “better resurrection” in the future. In order to accomplish our goal, we must not “accept deliverance” in the present hour; that is to say, we must deny ourselves now and press into the sufferings and resurrection of the Lord. We must put all of our treasures in Heaven. We must set our affection on things above, where Christ and we are seated at the right hand of God.

In the beginning, we sold ourselves to Satan to be his slaves. As a result, we were driven from the garden so we would be unable to partake of the tree of life and live forever. Now the Redeemer has come and paid the price for our release. But the wicked one will not permit his slaves to leave, even though the price of their release has been paid in full. The only solution is the imposition of force, of total war. God’s Israel now stands on the brink of Jordan, so to speak, ready to go across and seize the land of promise. The land of promise is the fullness of incorruptible Life in God’s Presence throughout the eternity of eternities.

The sons of God, the victorious saints, will be a firstfruits of the vine of the earth. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, they shall overcome the accuser of the brothers and enter eternal life. The last enemy to be overcome is physical death. The conquering saints will enter life and lead the way for the remainder of the saved creation.

We understand, therefore, that the heart, the mainspring of the new covenant, is union with the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus and union with His triumphant resurrection.

Because we have died and have been buried with the Lord, the Law of Moses no longer has authority over us. We are legally free to follow another Master, to be married to another Bridegroom.

Because of our union with the Lord in His death and resurrection, the blood atonement has enabled the God of Heaven to forgive all our sin so we are guiltless in His sight.

Because we have died with the Lord and have risen from the dead with Him, we can through the Holy Spirit put to death the deeds of our sinful flesh. We can gain the upper hand over the forces of darkness in us that would deceive us into behaving in a manner the Lord God does not accept.

Because we are one with the Lord in His death and resurrection, we will, if we faithfully abide in Him and continue to hide our life with Him in God, receive the redemption of our mortal body at His appearing.

Because of our union with the Lord in His death and resurrection, we will, if we have patiently endured tribulation and have consistently sown to the Holy Spirit of God, be given a glorified body from Heaven that will clothe our redeemed mortal body.

Because we have counted our adamic nature as crucified with Christ and our new inner nature as risen with Him to the right hand of the Father, because we have pursued the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being changed into His death by the tribulations of life, we have been set free from that worst of all monsters—self-will.

Because we have been willing to give over our first personality to the death of the cross and to live by faith in His resurrection Life and power, we have become a source of righteousness and Life for unnumbered multitudes of people.

We have set as the supreme goal of our life, attainment to the first resurrection from the dead, the resurrection found in the Person of the Lord at His appearing. Because He Himself is the Resurrection and the Life, dwelling in His Presence and Life for eternity is our eternal goal. All else is trash.

Let us not be lazy and careless. It is time to take the Kingdom. The Kingdom is Christ Himself—life lived in His Presence. The rewards go to those who, through the Lord Jesus, overcome all opposition. The prize is marvelous beyond all description. Whoever will choose to do so can gain the fullness of the inheritance.

(“Death and Resurrection—the Heart of the New Covenant”, 3281-1, proofed 20230604)

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