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Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 03/07/10
Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin asinstruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members asinstruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! (ROM 6:6-15)
Grace is never increased by any function of the old sin nature, whether sin or good or evil. Grace originates from the justice of God and is the policy of the justice of God in providing blessings for mankind. Grace does not motivate the sin since grace is from God, so then grace is the policy of God.
There is a lot of animosity towards the doctrine of grace. Many refuse to admit that they are spiritually bankrupt, that admission has to precede any understanding of grace. To the legalist grace appears as a license to sin. The legalist looks for some law to follow, and by this they think they can better their relationship with God. To the antinomian, grace always appears as an excuse for sin. Neither of these positions is correct. In fact, both legalism and antinomianism are distortions of the grace of God. Such distortions can only be corrected through cognisance of such doctrines as we have noted in the basic imputations and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Neither legalism nor antinomianism can break away from the ruling power of the old sin nature over life because both are distortions. Only the divine provision and the divine support of logistical grace can exploit the positional victory over the old sin nature.
Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? (ROM 6:16)
Verses 16 - 23 of Rom 6 are a presentation of options in the Christian way of Life. We have options, through our volition to submit ourselves to one of two systems: The PPOG under the policy of grace, or the kosmic system under the policy of arrogance. So there is the challenge by Paul: “do you not know,” but in this case he is challenging their understanding of authority. This is the basic concept of life. You must understand authority in life, and the extent that you buck authority in life is the extent to which life destroys you. The first option you must exercise in life is to believe in Christ as your Savoir. The next option you must exercise, if you are to experience true freedom and happiness in this life, is to submit to the Word of God and the filling of the HS. Therefore, true freedom is submission to a system, God’s system. The systems that mankind has been able to develop always results in more slavery and bondage. God has designed a system for the Church-age called the PPOG, which is the interruption of the age of Israel and the dispensation of ultimate grace. We have the freedom to gather together and to learn important truths that will set us free in this dispensation of ultimate grace. You must exercise your option to submit to your pastor teacher and learn the awesome truths about your position in Christ. That’s what Rom 6 is about.
At salvation the Church-age believer receives a double portion. The first portion comes from God the Father, the second portion from God the Son through the agency of God the Holy Spirit. All believers in history receive the first portion at salvation, the righteousness of God the Father and the eternal life of God the Father. In other words, the moment that you believe in Christ there are two imputations which comprise the first portion. The first of these imputations: The justice of God imputes as a judicial imputation divine righteousness to every believer, and then God imputes His eternal life to the regenerated new creature. This is a part of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, this is not water baptism! Being dipped in water could not satisfy the justice of God so that He could do such a wonderful thing for us. Human life was imputed to the soul at physical birth. At that new birth eternal life is imputed to regeneration prepared by God the Holy Spirit. This is the first portion from God the Father. The second portion given at salvation comes from God the Son through the agency of the Holy Spirit. Only believers in the Church-age receive the second portion, the righteousness of God the Son and the eternal life of God the Son.
All believers of the Church-age are a part of the royal family of God, and at the moment of salvation God the Holy Spirit enters us into union with Christ, seated at the right hand of the Father. This is current positional truth which is in contrast to retroactive positional truth which deals with the old sin nature. Current positional truth deals with the Lord Jesus Christ.
At the point of entering into union with Christ we receive His life, that is eternal life. We receive His righteousness, that is perfect righteousness. Romans 3,4, and 5 describe the righteousness of God the Father that is imputed to us at salvation. 2CO 5:21 (and others) describe a righteousness that results from being entered into union with Christ. No believers in any other dispensation was, or is, in union with Christ.
He made Him who knew no sin to besin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2CO 5:21).
We have something no one ever had before the Church-age began, a double portion of divine righteousness. This is very significant because it means that our blessings are concentrated. The O.T. believer is the recipient of 4 unconditional covenants that will be fulfilled during the Millennial reign of Christ. We are also recipients of those covenants as children of the God of Abraham, but to a greater degree. During the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ we will rule with Him. Royalty always has privileges. We have privileges based upon the fact that we have a double portion of divine righteousness. More than that, we have the eternal life of the Lord Jesus Christ, and then we have the eternal life of the Father which was imputed. This tells us that there is no excuse for any believer not reaching the stage of spiritual maturity.
This double portion results in a challenge to submit to the authority of doctrine, to find one who communicates it, and to abide in it until we have broken the maturity barrier. Cognizance of the double portion results in a challenge to submit to the authority of doctrine, especially the mystery doctrine of the Church-age as the code of the Royal family of God.
Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone asslaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? (ROM 6:16).
When man became independent from God at the fall man accumulated the OSN. Christ came into the world to crucify that OSN so that we could chose to reject the slavery of sin, and become dependent upon Him. True freedom is found in surrender to the source of all life and blessing. All of us are slaves because we are all under some type of authority. The one you are a slave to is the one you obey, whether it is the yoke of the OSN, or Omnipotent God the Father through the PPOG. If your choice is the authority of the OSN then the result is temporal death, which is life out of fellowship with God. If your choice is the authority of the Father, which was the choice of the humanity of Christ, then the result is experiential righteousness, which is application of position to life.
When sin makes its appeal, we must refuse to recognize it by reckoning that we died to it in Christ, and at once it will go, its power is then broken. We can recognize this during temptation and then to resist, or we can recognize this after we have sinned, and rebound. The first way is better of course, but either way breaks the power of the OSN. In the same way, when we long to be holy, we simply reckon that we are alive to God in Christ, and as we reckon this to be true the power of God’s grace will flood our souls. Then we shall see that the Christian life is not a constant battle, but rather a constant victory.
In this section of the epistle to the Romans, three verbs center in the will and choice of the believer, they are the plan of battle drawn up by the Lord for our Christian living. We are to reckonourselves dead to sin and alive to God (6:11), we are to  forbidthe reign of sin in our mortal bodies (6:12), and we are to yieldin obedience to righteousness (6:16). Each action involves acceptance by faith of a divine principle: we believe that we are united to Christ; we act by faith on the work that was done; we yield in obedience to righteousness.
In ROM 6:11 we have the word consider, it is the present middle imperative from the Greek verb logizomai which means to calculate, take into account, evaluate, estimate, think, consider, ponder, have in mind, to be of the opinion. It is a verb of application. Notice the present tense which means that we are to have this reckoning on a daily basis. It is to be a continuous attitude and action. There should never be a time in our Christian lives when we do not consider that we are dead to the OSN and alive to Christ. This is the believer’s personal responsibility. Because of what Christ is to us as believers we are not to allow the one He defeated, our OSN, to be our Lord.
Make no mistake though, the one you submit to has the power over you to either promote you, or to demote you. Promotion from the OSN is a lie that only makes for further cosmic involvement resulting in further slavery. This was the life of Solomon. After his frantic search for happiness, under the authority of his OSN, he finally, after much heart-ache and misery came to this conclusion:
The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies toevery person. (ECC 12:13)
This applies to every person in every dispensation, but how much more should it apply to a Church-age believer who possesses a double righteousness? The unbeliever has no choice in this. He is under the authority of his OSN. For him the only hope of some measure of happiness in life is submission to divine establishment laws. But that’s not enough for the believer. The new creature is a supernatural creature which has been designed by God to live in the perfect environment of the PPOG. The Church-age believer cannot live under divine establishment only and be blessed, if he does so he will be cursed. The believer must live under the authority of the Word of God, the Spirit of God, and the PPOG.
For the believer to do this is an ultimate tragedy. It’s like being under the power of a vicious tyrant who has oppressed you, stolen your possessions, and forced you to work for him. This goes on for years, but then suddenly, one day he dies, but no one tells you. You continue to live under his bondage even though he is dead, and you are actually free. What if this went on for the rest of your life, and not long before your death you realize that the tyrant has been dead for years and you have wasted decades living in fear of a dead man. That would be an ultimate tragedy.
Promotion in the plan of God is promotion from the source of all blessing, God the Father, who has blessed you in eternity past with blessings that stagger the imagination. The knowledge of this produces in us a relaxed mental attitude. Abiding in the plan of God relaxes the mind since it is understood that you don’t have to strive for promotion and blessing. Abiding in the plan of God produces faith in the perfect timing of God and this relaxes the mind. The relaxed mind is not stressed and so there is mental energy that is free to pursue the abundant life, which is the imputed eternal life of Christ.
Remember the principle: If God doesn’t promote you, you are not promoted. If God doesn’t provide the success, you are not successful. If God doesn’t provide the happiness, you are not happy. So relax and wait on God’s timing, fulfilling your responsibility to be inculcated with the word of God under the filling of the H.S. Before you can develop capacity for blessing you must develop capacity for authority in order to be teachable. Humility means your are teachable. Arrogance is stupidity. That’s why ignorance and arrogance always go together. True freedom lies in submission to the one who is the source of all blessing and whose policy is always grace. It is important to note here that we have options.
Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? (ROM 6:16)
You can submit to the OSN or put yourself under the orders from God, which is submission to His plan for the Church.
But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed.
The first part is an idiom which points to the reader’s gratefulness and thanksgiving to God. God is the source of all grace and the believer who understands what Paul has been writing to this point should be grateful to God for His amazing grace.
As Paul is writing this the Roman church does not have positive volition, that’s why Paul keeps challenging them with the phrase:“do you not know?” You don’t see a phrase like this in his writings to the Philippians.
Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. So then if, while her husband is living, she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress, though she is joined to another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God. For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were arousedby the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. (ROM 7:1-6)
We have the first husband. The husband is the lord and master in marriage. The old sin nature is the first husband. The wife is the unbeliever. The marriage counselor is the Mosaic law. In the second marriage which occurs at salvation we have a second husband, the Lord Jesus Christ. The wife is the believer and the marriage counselor is God the Holy Spirit. The culprit is the old sin nature and as unbelievers we are, in the role of the wife, slaves. Before salvation all of us were married to sin nature, all of us were under the lordship of the sin nature as the ruler of life. It rules through spiritual death.
Paul sets up a contrast in verse 17 between our status quo as unbelievers and our status quo as believers at the moment we believed in Christ. The spiritual birth gives us a new relationship. The emphasis in this passage is going to be on the new marriage. We did not make a mistake when we believed in Christ! If we are married to Christ and divorced from the old sin nature, that immediately becomes the basis of everything we do in life - we are motivated by grace. Under our first husband it was bondage. The OSN and the Law brought that bondage with only one hope, the Pascal lamb. But under our new husband we are no longer under the law but under grace (ROM 6:14). When you are divorced from your first husband that is the end of the line.
Human good and evil are a part of the angelic conflict, so you have to say no to good and evil, and you can’t say no until you are smart enough to say no. You are never smart enough to say no until you know the doctrine of reversionism, the doctrine of good and evil, the doctrine of retroactive and current positional truth, etc.
How do we obey the second husband, the Lord Jesus Christ? We obey Him by pleasing Him by the daily intake of Bible doctrine. Being a bride to Jesus Christ should illicit action in you in the form of response to His call to maturity and to live the resurrection life - the eternal life of Christ. You obey your husband not by works, but through the content that is in the heart.
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