ROMANS 5 & 6
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3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
A character without patience is a character without use to God or man. Patience with impulse subdued and penetration tempered by tribulation. It is patience that God is working in you by all the tribulations that you endure. In this sense you can join with Paul when he said,
"We glory in tribulation also."
You CAN glory in it as an experience which-though painful for the time being - is working out for you unspeakable sweetness in the day of the perfected work. Therefore, beloved, bear up under it. Do not be destroyed by it. It is only for a season, and that a short one. A few years more at the worst, and it will be all over, and God's work in you accomplished for the endless ages.
Bro. Roberts, 1885.
The human mind is naturally given to shallowness and folly and the infantile, characterless pursuit of pleasure and excitement. Very few ever get beyond this stunted stage.
Tribulation, if we are rightly exercised by it, forces us to come face to face with the sober realities of life, and intelligently adjust our purposes and characters to them. This is the teaching of the Scripture, and the wholesome experience of any with any sense and maturity.
Some run away crying, vainly seeking solace in animal emptiness, and gain nothing from their sorrows. This is tragic.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
God does not ask us for great accomplishments. He is not an exacting Master -- He is a loving Father. What does a Father ask but love, and what else can we give Him? He asks us to love Him with our whole heart and mind and soul, and to let that love pervade and direct our every act and thought and word. That is all -- but that is everything.
Bro Growcott - Holy and Blameless in Love
11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
The sacrifices of the Bible were not to pay for sins; nor were they a substitute to suffer and die in the place of the sinner, as orthodoxy teaches. True, pagan sacrifices doubtless were this, for they were a corruption and perversion of the true - the true, revealed Divine conception being far above the comprehension of the mind of the flesh.
The sacrifices of the Bible were a humble recognition that the only condition acceptable to God is purity and perfection; that sin is filth and uncleanness; and that sinful man can be reconciled to God only by being covered by, and washed in, the blood of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
"Atonement," then, as it occurs in the AV, does not mean an external payment or compensation or expiation: that is, something done outside of ourselves; something substitutionary. This is a corrupted, orthodox meaning.
It means an internal covering, cleansing, purging, purifying, and putting in a right condition: something done not so much for us as to us. (Of course, it is all "for" us in the sense of "for our sakes," "on our behalf.")
Bro Growcott, - The 'Purifying of the heavenly'
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
'...before sin entered into the world by Adam, the economy was "very good;" and God was "the all things for all" the living souls he had made. In this state of being there was no adversary, and no death, because there was no sin, and death being absent, there was no viceregal kingdom to make war upon hostile powers, for the purpose of subduing them, and substituting the power of God instead.
All was peace and harmony between God and man upon earth'.
But when sin entered into the world, and death by sin, a rebellion commenced against God which has never been put down effectually from that day to this. It has ever gathered strength, and is at the present crisis more defiant of his authority than ever.
15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
The great point of Paul's argument is, that if death justly entered the world by Adam's one act of disobedience, how great is the Divine favour which offers to pass by the myriad offences that have since submerged his descendants as in a hopeless sea of death. This is lost sight of in the treatment that deals with the chapter as if it were a lawyer's treatise on Edenic pains and penalties.
The Christadelphian, Oct 1896. p381
18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
Question: "Was Jesus born under condemnation?"
Answer.-"In the scriptural sense of hereditary condemnation, the answer is yes; but this requires to be fenced against the misunderstanding natural to the terms employed. Condemnation in its individual application implies displeasure, which cannot be affirmed of Jesus, who was the beloved of the Father. But no one is born under condemnation in its individual application. That is, no one is condemned as an individual until his actions as an individual call for it. But hereditary condemnation is not a matter of displeasure, but of misfortune.
The displeasure or wrath arises afterwards when the men so born work unrighteousness. This unrighteousness they doubtless work 'by nature,' and are therefore 'by nature children of wrath'-that is, by nature they are such as evoke wrath by unrighteousness. It was here that Jesus differed from all men. Though born under the hereditary law of mortality as his mission required, his relation to the Father as the Son of God exempted him from the uncontrolled subjection to unrighteousness."
- Christadelphian, 1874, page 526.
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Now this sacrifice of Jesus becomes sin-destroying in every one who believes the gospel of the kingdom preached in his name; and is sprinkled with his blood in being baptised into him.
All the past sins of such a believer are cancelled, or forgiven; and there is engrafted in him a principle, even the word believed, called "the law of the Spirit of life," which in the remission has "made him free from the law of sin and death;" so that sin no longer reigns in his mortal body that he should obey it in the lusts thereof.
He is "made free from sin" as the sovereign of his mind and actions; and has become the servant of God, whose will it is his study to learn and obey in all things; thus bringing forth fruit unto holiness, the end of which is everlasting life, when he shall be planted in the likeness of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
HERALD OF THE KINGDOM AND AGE TO COME - AUG 1852
Baptism is not a law, but an action commanded to be submitted to by believers of the gospel of the kingdom, and by none else. It is the act by which the obedience of faith is rendered. Baptism is essential to justification by the law of faith; for without baptism a believer cannot obey the gospel, because the immersion of a true believer is the obedience of the gospel.
Till that action is intelligently submitted to a believer is to that same instant in his sins, or unjustified, which is the same thing. Justification by faith is through the name of Jesus; and immersion into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is the act of union to that name. It is the only formality, rite, or ceremony, by which a believer of the gospel of the kingdom can be married to the name of the Lord Jesus.
If such a believer refuse to be thus united to his name, in so doing he refuses repentance, remission of sins, and eternal life through that name, for these blessings come to the justified by faith only through his name. A believer is no more united to Christ's name without true baptism than a woman is united to the name of a man without the legal marriage ceremony. This simple rite gives her a share in all that pertains to her husband's name, be they riches, or honour, or both; so after a like manner does baptism into the name of the Lord give the true believer all spiritual blessings communicable through his name, and a title to share with him in his glory.
If it be asked, then, "At what instant is a believer of the gospel of the kingdom justified by faith in the kingdom and name?"-the answer is in the words of Peter, "Having purified your souls in the obeying of the truth through the Spirit," which is synonymous with in the being baptised, in the being united to the name, &c. When a believer goes into the water, he becomes passive in the hands of the administrator, who pronounces the formula divinely prescribed, and having ended them, he buries him in the watery grave, from which he raises him to walk in newness of life.
In being buried in the water, his renewedness of heart is granted to him for repentance, and his belief of the promise made to the fathers, and in Jesus as Lord and Christ, is counted to him for righteousness or remission of sins; for he is then introduced into the name of Christ, through which name repentance and remission of sins are conveyed to him. An unimmersed believer is not united to the name; he is therefore not in it, but exterior to it; and can no more have the things contained in the name, than a man can have access to things in a house when he is in the street without its door.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Oct 1853.
9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
Thus it is the apostolic definition and declaration that death once had dominion over him. Surely, there is no need for being shocked, when the meaning of the matter is perceived.
On the contrary, the spiritual understanding can see and admire and bow down, and worship through Christ, at the spectacle of God's love advancing without the compromise of God's dignity.
The Blood of Christ - No Need For Being Shocked
Our Old Man Is Crucified With Him
By G.V. Growcott
"We are buried with him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."
The predominant characteristic of this occasion is joyfulness. We are told that the awakening of a son of Adam to the love of God and the decision to become united to Christ is a cause of great joy in heaven. One more is added to the family of the sons of God, all knit together in the beauty of holiness.
While an occasion of great joy, it is also an occasion of great seriousness and solemnity. We are here to witness both a death and a birth. The whole background of baptism is death. The act of baptism is a recognition that the end of natural man is death -- that all are subject to the power and lordship of the great enemy -- that death casts an ever-present shadow over all life's hopes and joys -- that the highest and noblest and sweetest of this life's activities all end in the darkness of the tomb.
But this is only part of the picture. This is the natural side. While baptism is a recognition of this state, and all the vanity and sorrow surrounding it, its principal purpose is to manifest the great deliverance from it that the love of God has, through Christ, provided. Baptism is a death whose purpose is to make way for a glorious new birth.
The chapter just read (Rom. 6) is a strong, intense exhortation to holiness, based on this death-and-new-birth symbolism.
Symbols are but shadows -- it is the reality they symbolize that counts. The act of baptism itself is only a symbol -- it is upon the fulfillment of the reality of the newness of life it portrays that life and death depend.
Paul shows that the reality symbolized is death to the old natural way of the flesh and rebirth to the new way of the Spirit of holiness. His conclusion in chapter 5 is this, that --
"As sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 5:21).
But how does grace "reign through righteousness unto eternal life?" Paul has said that --
"Where sin abounded, grace -- that is, the gentle unmerited goodness and kindness of the glorious love of God -- did much more abound" (Rom. 5:20).
And also he has said that God had included all under sin, that He might have opportunity to extend His grace, mercy and kindness to all.
"What shall we say then? -- (he asks) -- Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" (Rom. 6: 1).
Put in this blunt way, the thought seems self-evidently absurd, but actually it is the unconscious presumption that lies behind any carelessness or complacency about any form or evidence of sin.
Sin is a terrible, destroying disease -- highly infectious -- infinitely more deadly than any physical disease. When we are not straining every effort in the war against this evil thing, we are in practice saying, "Let us continue in sin so grace may abound."
"God forbid! -- Let it not be! -- How shall we, that are DEAD TO SIN, live any longer therein?" (Rom. 6:2).
What does he mean: "Dead to sin?" How does a man become dead to sin?
"Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?" (v. 3).
That is, do you not know that the act of baptism is an act of recognition of the necessity of a DEATH -- a death in order to end a certain state of affairs -- to create a complete severance and separation and termination (v. 4) --
"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."
We note the words, "by the glory of the Father" -- "like as Christ was raised by the glory of the Father, even so we also . . ."
Ours, too, must be "by the glory of the Father" -- there is no other way -- no other possible way of walking "in newness of life." We cannot do it of our own weak, mortal, sinful selves. "Newness of life by the glory of the Father" is the great thought that gives baptism its beauty and significance. A new life, a completely new beginning. What a wonderful occasion it is!
A natural son of Adam, an earthy creature born under the shadow of death and bound by the dominion of sin, reaches a stage of development and enlightenment wherein he is drawn by the power of God to voluntarily choose that which is good, and holy, and divine, and reject all that is related to the kingdom of sin and the wilfulness of the flesh -- not from fear of consequences -- not even just from desire for reward -- but rather from pure, transforming love for a glorious divine Benefactor and Father -- from an overwhelming sense of His infinite goodness and the transcendent joy of His friendship and love --
"Iove is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God."
"He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love."
"He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him."
"There is no fear in love: perfect love casteth out fear."
When we look at the beautiful picture John draws of divine love -- of its holiness, and purity, and fearlessness, and perfection -- we are apt, like Peter, to draw back into the thought --
"Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!"
But the beloved apostle allays our fears, and gently draws us onward, teaching us that this beautiful picture is a matter of development and growth, though at first only dimly perceived --
"I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven";
"I write unto you, young men, because ye are strong";
"I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him from the beginning" (1 Jn. 2:12-13).
And he shows us the way --
"Whoso KEEPETH HIS WORD, in him verily is the love of God perfected; hereby know we that we are in Him" (1 Jn. 2:5)
Paul tells us (Rom. 10:17) --
"Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the WORD OF GOD."
That is the beginning. When hearing has brought faith, and faith -- belief -- has moved to thankful and humble obedience in the waters of baptism, then the joyful course of life and love reaches higher and higher toward the perfection of the divine ideal. This is expressed in many ways. Paul speaks of it as --
"Coming in the unity of the Faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13).
He speaks of it as being --
"Rooted and built up in him ... unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding of the mystery of God and of Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. 2:7, 2).
He speaks of it perhaps most beautifully and deeply in this way --
"We all, with open face reftecting as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory by the Spirlt of the Lord" (2 Cor. 3:18).
This is the glorious and exciting spiritual experience that leads upwards in ever-increasing joyfulness from the waters of baptism to the eternal radiance of the day of the Lord.
Baptism, while only the beginning, is the great turning-point in life. The act of baptism is unquestionably the greatest and most important single act and moment of one's entire lifetime.
"IF we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection."
It is clear that Paul is speaking, not just of the literal act of baptism which all professed believers pass through, but rather he is thinking of the full significance of being "planted in the likeness of his death," for the parallel thought -- "likeness of his resurrection" -- does not just mean coming out of the grave, but the resurrection of life in its fullest and most glorious sense.
Resurrection as such -- just the coming out of the grave does not, we know, depend on baptism, but on responsible knowledge of God. Therefore the "likeness of Christ's resurrection" to which Paul refers cannot just mean emergence from the grave, for he makes it contingent upon a being "planted together in death."
And likewise this "planting together" cannot just be the external form of baptism for that is no assurance of sharing Christ's glorious resurrection -- it must be the reality to which the act of baptism testifies and bears witness -- the death of the "old man" and the "walking in newness of life." He continues --
"Knowing this, that our old man is (in baptism) crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed" (Rom. 6:6).
"Our old man is crucified with him." We are all double personalities -- the old man of the flesh and the new man of the Spirit. Paul tells the Ephesians (4:22) that the old man is "corrupt -- decaying -- going to ruin -- through deceitful lusts."
He calls them deceitful because they never give the pleasure and happiness they seem to promise -- because they appear good and desirable to the blindness of the natural mind but actually only end in sorrow and regret and emptiness.
The "old man" is the natural man -- pleasing ourselves -- doing what we think we want to do -- following the ordinary way of the world -- everything that is contrary to the enlightened mind of the Spirit. We can most clearly see the distinction in contemplating the characteristics of the new man -- the fruits of the Spirit, as Paul gives them in GaL 5:22 --
Love -- that is, thinking, desiring and doing good to all, regardless of what they do to us.
Joy -- a consistent spiritual cheerfulness flowing from close and satisfying fellowship with God.
Peace -- calm, inward tranquility -- "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee." -- the mind resting at all times upon God.
Longsuffering -- inexhaustible patience and kindness toward all human weakness and waywardness, recognizing the frailty and sadness of natural man.
Gentleness -- no roughness, or hardness, or bitterness, or pride, or self-assertion -- all of which are manifestations of ungodly ignorance.
Now Paul says that in baptism the old man is crucifled -- everything in the flesh contrary to these Spirit-fruits is crucified in the act of baptism.
Crucifixion has two aspects: a putting to death, and a public holding up to condemnation and repudiation.
The natural Serpent nature must be put to death, and in its putting to death it must be publicly held up to condemnation on the Rod of the Spirit-Word.
Baptism is a public repudiation of all these things as a way of life -- a renouncing of allegiance to the old Master, Sin, whom we all serve from birth, and a pledging of allegiance to a new Master and a new way of life. It is a solemn covenant --
"All that the Lord hath said will we do."
Paul says (Rom. 6:18) that in baptism we are "made free from sin." What does it mean to be "made free from sin"? What does it mean in the actual realities of life?
It involves much. In the ultimate, if faithfully pursued until the end, it involves complete freedom from the sin-principle and its inseparable companion, death. This is the gracious, unreserved title of freedom and release that we are freely given in baptism -- freedom from sin, from sorrow, from pain, disease and death -- freedom from all the burdensome limitations of human frailty and corruption.
But primarily, at the present time, it means a great lifting of the burden of the consciousness of sin -- of natural ugliness and deformity of character.
Paul exclaims, as he describes the awakening consciousness of the vicious evil that runs through every fiber of human nature --
"O wretched man that l am! Who shall deliver me from, this body of death?" (Rom. 7:24).
Baptism is the loving and merciful provision for cleansing from this condition --
"Ye are washed,"
"Ye are sanctified" (made holy),
"Ye are justifted (made righteous and upright) -- in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and BY THE SPIRIT OF OUR GOD" (1 Cor. 6:11).
The baptized believer is one with Christ -- a part of Christ -- an accepted part of the triumphant perfection of holiness which in Christ trod sin under foot and held it powerless.
The baptized believer is a Brother in Christ -- he has a guaranteed part in the final and eternal victory of sin and death -- as long as he truly abides in Christ. Jesus said to his disciples, on the night before his death --
"Abide in me, and I in you. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit."
-- the glorious Spirit-fruits of holiness of character --
"These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full."
"This is my COMMANDMENT -- that ye LOVE ONE ANOTHER, EVEN AS I HAVE LOVED YOU" (Jn. 15:11).
It is an essential requirement of discipleship that we, as brethren, love one another in the same way he loved us. Of that love which he has given us as a pattern, he says, as he continues --
"Greater love hath no man than this -- that a man lay down his life for his friends" (v. 13).
This is the love and fellowship to which baptism opens the door. And the new brother, as he rises from the cleansing waters, says with Paul (Gal. 2:20) --
"I am crucifted with Christ. Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me."