International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday July 31, 2016
Purpose: To experience the freedom of new life in Christ
Bible Lesson: Romans 6:1-4, 12-14, 17-23
Background Scripture: Romans 6:1-23
Key Verse: Therefore, we were buried together with him through baptism into his death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too can walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
Romans 6:1-4 (CEB)
(1) So what are we going to say? Should we continue sinning so grace will multiply? (2) Absolutely not! All of us died to sin. How can we still live in it? (3) Or don’t you know that all who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (4) Therefore, we were buried together with him through baptism into his death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too can walk in newness of life.
Romans 6: 12-14 (CEB)
(12) So then, don’t let sin rule your body, so that you do what it wants. (13) Don’t offer parts of your body to sin, to be used as weapons to do wrong. Instead, present yourselves to God as people who have been brought back to life from the dead, and offer all the parts of your body to God to be used as weapons to do right. (14) Sin will have no power over you, because you aren’t under Law but under grace.
Romans 6: 17-23 (CEB)
(17) But thank God that although you used to be slaves of sin, you gave wholehearted obedience to the teaching that was handed down to you, which provides a pattern. (18) Now that you have been set free from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness. (19) (I’m speaking with ordinary metaphors because of your limitations.) Once, you offered the parts of your body to be used as slaves to impurity and to lawless behavior that leads to still more lawless behavior. Now, you should present the parts of your body as slaves to righteousness, which makes your lives holy. (20) When you were slaves of sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. (21) What consequences did you get from doing things that you are now ashamed of? The outcome of those things is death. (22) But now that you have been set free from sin and become slaves to God, you have the consequence of a holy life, and the outcome is eternal life. (23)The wages that sin pays are death, but God’s gift is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Some Thoughts by Burgess Walter
Paul uses the sacrament of baptism, to explain his and Jesus teaching. Christians are baptized as a symbol of what Jesus accomplished by his death and resurrection. Baptism signifies not only the death of Christ, as we are put under the water, but also the resurrection, when we are raised up.
Just as Jesus was transformed to a new realm, the realm of God the father, when he was resurrected into a new life. So also we are transformed into a new realm. A realm where sin is no longer in control of us, and we take on a new life, just as Jesus did, where grace abounds, and we can have victory over sin.
Paul goes on to explain it in a way the Romans could comprehend, be equating it to slavery. The Romans understood what slavery meant, and they understood what it meant to be free from someone or something having dominion over you.
Having faith in Jesus the Christ, enables us as Christians to be set free from the slavery of sin. Sin is the realm we are all born into, and it is the realm that Jesus entered when He became one of us. The good news is there is another realm, which is the realm of God, it is where Jesus went after his death and resurrection, sin has no power in God’s realm.
Paul now challenges the Romans to live differently, because they have put on Christ through the sacrament of baptism. They used to use their body and all of its parts in chasing the pleasures fleeting rewards of sin. Now, Paul expects them to change, what they use to use for personal pleasure and lust they should now use to live a righteous life dedicated to pleasing and serving God wherever and whenever they can. The new realm of a Christian is holiness, until they too, join Jesus in the Realm of God.
Until we receive “glory” through our own death, we can experience a life free from the dominion of sin until then. But it requires us to fight for righteousness with the same fervor that we chased after sin. We cannot do it in our own strength, but with Christ “all things are possible.”
There is a great old hymn that says it best, “Until Then.”