How can we who died to sin still live in it?

Friday night… no date.  ; )  No, my date is upstairs relaxing on the couch, the kids are all home – here and there about the house, and I’ve been sitting at my desk getting some study in for tomorrow morning’s men’s group.  The crowd has thinned some since we began, but I guess that can happen when the weekly menu is doctrinal study.  I’m thankful for how God is working this truth into my life and I’m also grateful to see it being worked in and out of the lives of those around me… evidences of Grace.  We’ve been in Sinclair Ferguson’s ‘The Christian Life’ for a while now.  Tomorrow we take on ch 13, Sin’s Dominion Ended… some really choice stuff here. 

One of the paragraphs he writes catches a thought that I really related to and I suspect many might or could take encouragement from it.  SF has been bringing Paul’s argument from Romans about ‘dying to sin’ and this paragraph is not so much about the doctrine, but rather the shallow wispy understanding of it that leaves us weak and unfounded in our own battle.

At this stage it is extremely important that we follow through the teaching Paul expounds in Romans 6 that the believer has ‘died to sin’.  This is a great and liberating truth.  That is why over the years a whole literature has accumulated around it.  I remember in my teens being thrilled by some of the biographical accounts and illustrations I read of it.  But often, at the end of the day, the whole wonder of it drifted into the mists because these shared experiences and illustrations were not based on a painstaking exposition of Scripture, so that I was left with no solid ground on which to plant my own feet and to build my own experience.  Hard work though it may seem, the primary need we all have is to try to master Paul’s exposition of this truth in the sure confidence that in this way the truth will soon master our hearts too.

Oh, how I want to know my God… to know what He has done to reveal Himself to me… to see His beauty and majesty in the workings of His grace, mercy, power and wisdom.  I think… no, I know this is what keeps me coming back to the Fountain.  Christ in me… the hope of glory.

Ferguson brings the chapter to a close after some solid teaching with the following…

We who are the kind of people who have died with Christ to sin.

We who are the kind of people who have been raised with Christ to life.

How can we, of all people, continue to live as though sin reigned?

And shall we then go on to sin,

that grace may more abound?

Great God, forbid that such a thought

should in our breast be found!


With Christ the Lord we dy’d to sin;

with him to life we rise,

To life, which now begun on earth,

is perfect in the skies.


Too long enthrall’d to Satan’s sway,

we now are slaves no more;

For Christ hath vanquish’d death and sin,

our freedom to restore.


During a brief study break, I happened on to this prayer/song by Bebo Norman… (there are other cd versions, but I like this acoustical rendering along with his comments on the how and why of the song)


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3 Responses to How can we who died to sin still live in it?

  1. cjbooth85 says:

    This is amazing that you posted this today….I just listened to John Piper on the very same topic just today.

    Weird eh?

    Here’s a part that stood out to me:

    With that stunning and unspeakably wonderful foundation laid, Paul has to ask in chapter 6, two times: Verse 1, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?” Verse 15, “What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace?” And all of chapters 6 and 7 is written to show that justification by faith alone apart from works does not and cannot lead a person to make peace with sin.

    Paul answers his own question in Romans 6:2, “How can we who died to sin still live in it?” We can’t. If we died to sin by being united with Jesus in his death, we can’t stay married to sin. The faith that unites us to Christ disunites from his competitors. The faith that makes peace with God makes war on our sin. If you are not at odds with sin, you are not at home with Jesus, not because being at odds with sin makes you at home with Jesus, but because being at home with Jesus makes you at odds with sin.”

    Wow. I also wrote on a sticky note, and carried in my pocket for the rest of the day: “Justified people do not -and cannot- make peace with sin. They kill it.”

    Anywqay, thanks for the good post Tim.

  2. TimWitten says:

    Amen! … I love Paul, Owen, Piper,… for their pressing into these incredible truths.

    and I chuckled at your comment about the sticky note… I do the say thing. Whether its a sticky note or the back of a business card, I jot down something that catches from the Word or a thought or whatever and carry it with me through the day.

    Owen nails it with his summary phrase, “Be killing sin or it will be killing you”.

    How are things in Boothland?

  3. cjbooth85 says:

    Yeah and Piper quotes a lot from Wilberforce in this sermon. I haven’t read any of him but this made me want to. I like it that Wilberforce had no theological training but had such big things to say about God.

    Anyway, we’re doing ok I guess…I suppose I really should post a ‘Janie Update’ but it would really read a lot like the previous one. Cough. Cough medicine. Chemo. Repeat.

    Thanks for your prayers!

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