June 26, 2012 – Devotion Sharing (Romans 6)

Submitted by Naomi L. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

Romans 6:  Reflection Questions

Romans 6:1-14

  • Reflect on the promise (vv. 5, 8) that in our ultimate destiny, we have been united with Christ.  How does this amazing fact impact my life today?

The ultimate destiny of those who have died to sin and baptized into Christ is that we have been united with him and we will live with him.  I am struck by the fact that the only condition for being united with Christ is that we have been united with him in his death.  This was done when my old self, which was a slave to sin, was crucified with Jesus on the cross.  It’s not based on merit or performance or deservedness.  But, only because I have made the simple but life altering decision to make Jesus the Lord and Savior over my life.  Nothing can take away the fact that my destiny is united with Christ.  Though my heart at times seems so hopeless wayward, or though I may go through times of struggling – my destiny is assured by God, who is good to his promise.  Paul uses the word “certainly” to describe this ultimate destiny.

This is indeed an amazing fact that brings overwhelming gratitude and freedom to trust in God.  Being a naturally fearful person, I have felt keenly the pressure to do well in order to “control” my destiny – and naturally what follows is immense guilt and sense of failure when I cannot keep up or perform up to expectations.  In the world, for example at work or school, my destiny is directly tied in with how well I do, how hard I work.  But even as a parent to my children, or in my relationships to my family members or friends, to being a spiritual leader over younger ones, or struggling against my sinful self, I can wonder, am I doing enough?  Am I adequately keeping up?  And often times, though I try hard, I feel myself failing, coming up short.  So, what good news this is indeed that my destiny is set and is sure.   I don’t need to try to secure for myself because my destiny is already set.  I no longer have to live in fear, in trying to measure up.  I can be free to be myself, my faults and all because God, and this community of faith, are committed to me – as ones who are united together with Christ.

Furthermore, it gives me immense motivation today to continue to fight against my sinful self, knowing that it’s not all in vain.  Not only for myself – but for those I minister to as well.  I can keep fighting because I know the fight will end in victory.  Sin, my shame, my failures, my guilt no longer have the last word on me.  My destiny is that I will certainly be united with him in his resurrection.

  • Reflect on the words “in the same way” and “therefore” in vv. 11-12.  What is the motivation and source of strength for carrying out these exhortations?

The motivation and source of strength is that I am now dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.  I am no longer a slave to sin and it no longer has mastery over me.

  • What is now available for Christians to fight with against sin according to vv. 13-14, which was unavailable to unregenerate man?

God’s grace is now available for Christians to fight against sin because we are no longer under law, but under grace.  Under law, there is fear, judgment, punishment.  Under grace, there is undeserved forgiveness and unmerited favor.

Without grace, I would be doomed to failure and despair because I know in me, I do not have what it takes to fight against my sin, let alone conquer it.  I have experienced time and time again how grace is an essential component of my own fight against sin.  When different aspects of my sinful and selfish nature were exposed and I was overcome by shame and sense of hopelessness, a strong desire to throw in the towel. It was the grace of God, the grace of my spiritual leaders and relationships in this community that brought me back, that allowed me to continue to fight against my sin.  The words truth about God and God’s promises, God’s forgiveness and their forgiveness for the hurtful things I had done unto them, the reminder of God’s steadfast love, and their embracing me at those times when I felt the most unlovable.   I have experienced the grace of God who brought to mind different passages from his Word that broke through my stubborn pride, to indict my sinful heart only to assure me that though I am wretched, he loves me and nothing could separate me from his love.  Because of the grace I have received, I don’t have to listen to the voices that speak cynicism and sense of failure.

  • How have I experienced being “alive to God in Christ Jesus?”  In what ways have I been able to offer myself to God as an instrument of righteousness?

I have experienced being “alive to God in Christ Jesus” when I have died to myself by obeying God, trusting in God’s word.   At times, like on mission trips, where I’ve died to my need for comfort, or my space, my time, my pride and experienced God working around me and in me.  Feeling alive and overcome with gratitude when someone I’ve been praying for or ministering to makes steps toward God, toward repentance.  Feeling alive in my spirit – knowing there’s nothing in this world I’d rather be doing early Sunday morning, when I see Joyland/Impact children get such a clear gospel message spoken to them in a creative, captivating way.  The sense of renewal, hope that injects new life, new strength when God’s word hits me, speaks personally to me.  Those times when I have died to myself, when I have killed my pride, held my anger and sharp words, put to death my natural self – full of grumbling, resentment, and greed – and seeing God shape some of those areas to bear fruit of the spirit.


Submitted by Peter K. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

Romans 6:  Key Verses

Romans 6:4-5

 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.

Baptism symbolizes what happens to us when we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior.  When we get immersed in water during baptism, this represents burial and death of our old sinful nature just as Christ died on the cross.  V. 6 explains this really well, “for we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin–because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.”  When we are raised from immersion, this represents that we will be raised from death “just as Christ was raised from dead.” Moreover, we will live a new life.  The meaning of baptism is very powerful and a true hope of this world.  As Apostle Paul emphasized in 3:10, “there is no one righteous, not even one.”  And 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” This is the reality of people in this world.  Every one of us sinned and deserves death as a result of sin.  However, putting faith in Christ reverses this destiny completely.  We were destined to death but through the blood of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice on the cross we will be saved from this condemnation and raised from death.  We will live a new life.  This is such good news that we should appreciate again and again and share with other people who don’t know this.   Whenever there is a baptism, I get to reflect on how this message is true to my life.  Before believing in Christ, I lived in such darkness.  I was very selfish, jealous, insecure and greedy.  I was very self-centered and did not care for people around me.  I was very driven for success in this world, so I did not like anyone getting in my way.  I was destined to condemnation and punishment of God.  However, through God’s grace the Gospel came to my life.  The word of God especially from Romans helped me see my sinful nature and realize that I was completely heading for eternal condemnation and judgment.    The cross of Jesus Christ was the only hope.  I repented of my sins and accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior.  Since then, I have been living in a completely new life that is full of rich and abundant relationships, meaning and purpose, joy and happiness.  I have never imagined this life before, but I am just so thankful that God has lead me and given me an opportunity to experience this new life.   First, my life’s purpose has completely been changed.  Before Christ, my dream was to be rich and live a comfortable life.  After Christ, God gave me a mission to love people that he had entrusted to me and to minister to them.  This purpose brought tremendous meaning to my life.  This has helped me live a God-centered and other-centered life.  Loving, praying and caring for them are my first priority in my life.   When I see them grow in their faith and become co-laborers for Christ, I just become full of overwhelming gratitude and meaning.  I realize how amazing and awesome God that I am serving, and indeed He touches people’s heart and transform their lives from darkness to beautiful workers for Christ.  Secondly, I have gained a life of community!  I am very grateful for the community where we can fully trust and rub against our lives together.  I have leaders who genuinely care for my spiritual life, give guidance and wisdom and have shown good role models how to follow Christ with sacrifice and commitments, peers who inspire me and become a source of strength and encouragements, and younger brothers and sisters who are precious to me.  Sometimes I just get amazed at how this is possible with true, genuine, trusting, rich and abundant relationships.  It is possible because of Jesus Christ who saved us from sin and death.  When I think about the body of Christ, this is a precious gift from God for those who believe in Christ.

Romans 6:11

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

“Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” can be a powerful motivation to overcome sinful desire that keeps occurring in our minds.    We should remember that we are dead to our old nature, sinful desires and selfish motives.   When we think that we are dead to these and don’t have any option to indulge in them, we would resist to temptations of these sinful desires.  Instead, we should remember that we are “alive to God in Christ Jesus.” This means that we should devote ourselves to love, care, discipline, prayer, kindness, gentleness, endurance and so on.  Remembering this truth will help us focus on our identity as a child of God and how we ought to live in our daily lives.   There have been some temptations in my life.  As I grow older, I tend to seek for a comfortable life and a desire to settle down with my family.   This thought occurs once in a while and is very tempting to me.  I am dead to these temptations.  A calling and mission from God is very clear that I should actively serve God’s church and people whom God entrusted in my life.  These temptations should not be even an option in my life because I am dead to them.   Another big temptation is to focus on career success rather than following God’s call.  I still have a desire that I want to prove myself and become a more influential person at work. Again today’s text clearly addresses this temptation.  I am dead to this temptation.

I should give fully myself to minister to people to whom God entrusted in my life and give myself to be available for needs of the body of Christ.  This means being alive to God in Christ Jesus.  Especially as Joyland is gearing up for Joy Camp and Camp Gracepoint—summer Bible camps for elementary students, I should give full priority on preparing for these camps where our kids can make a decision for Christ. I should give my all to love and care for kids that God entrusted to me in Joyland.

Romans 6:23

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This verse gives perspectives to our lives how we ought to live.  It summarizes the true reality of our lives very well: death or eternal life.  Sometimes our lives seem to be so complex with desires for this world.  However, Apostle Paul defines the reality of our lives in these two simple contrasting words.   This is totally true because in the end people will face either of destinations.  If a person is heading toward the first, it is very scary.   At work, I sometimes get intimidated by people with power and position. Yes, they can decide whether they can keep me as an employee or not.  They can let me go any time. They seem to be so powerful. However, to God’s eyes they are heading for death unless they believe in Christ Jesus.   This give me a sense of urgency in that I should share the Gospel and live my life based on the word of God.  When I think about loved ones in my life who are not Christians, I feel tremendous burden for them.  I should do my best effort to share the Gospel with them.  Secondly, I have to remember that in the end nothing matters except a relationship with God.  Investing my life to deepen my relationship with God is a wise thing to do.  Taking a risk and willing to take sufferings for God’s call and challenging myself to grow deeper in my faith are ways to experience God who is at work.  I commit myself to come out of my comfort zone and challenge myself to experience God more deeply.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank you that I get to reflect on my salvation and your amazing grace in my life through Romans 6 today.   It is very amazing how I am a part of our church where I experience true trusting, genuine and caring relationships.  I am grateful for people that you placed in my life: leaders, peers and younger brothers and sisters.  I commit to cherish our relationships.  Father, whenever I am tempted with sinful desires, I pray that I would remember that I am dead to them but I am alive to Christ.  Please help me very clear with this truth so that I can overcome temptations of sin.  Lastly I am thankful that I become more clear about the simple truth of reality of this world: death vs. eternal life.  Sometimes I get entangled with many worldly and selfish desires, but I pray that today’s lesson of the very simple truth about two destinations makes me have a sense of urgency to share the Gospel and motivate me willing to take sufferings for Christ.  Amen.

Submitted by Dennis C. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

Romans 6

There is one thing that I’ve learned about Christian life in the past year that has helped me to grow. It is that being a Christian means that I am “with him.” This simple perspective has made a world of difference for me in the past year. Having made my decision to place my faith in Christ in 2001, I have learned that life may not get any easier. I still have my temptations that I fight, sometimes daily, sometimes hourly. I still have my emotions that I try to steady when I get agitated or something unexpected happens. I still have some of my old inadequacies, weaknesses and fears. There are even new fears with life’s transitions. There are relational conflicts too. (There is also the patch of white hairs on my head that keeps on growing.) These challenges seem to simply exist because that’s life. But more than anything else, the most important perspective I have is that I am “with him.”

Romans 6:4-5 talks about being “buried with him,” being “united with him” and that through this choice that “we too may live a new life.” When life drags me along, and I just reacted to something or I just said something I should rather not have, I do not have to go much further than Romans 6:4-5 to remind me once again of a precious truth that I get to respond to. Am I going to be “with him” once again and to hold onto the reality of being “buried with him,” of being “united with him” in his death, and of one day being “united with him in his resurrection,” and of the “new life?” Quite frankly I have lived life enough to know of the bondage and captivity of a life of sin – this I was saved from, and I never want to go back. That life of sin takes away my options and traps me. V. 12 warns to “not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.”  When I let sin reign in my mortal body, I become captive to my default anger and bitterness and even hatred. These are the very things that result in me when sin reigns. It is only when I choose that “with him” life that I too may live a “new life.”

Paul offers this roadmap of freedom for me. Again v. 12 said, “do not let sin reign in your mortal body.”  V.13 says, “do not offer the parts of your body to sin.”  V. 13 says,“but rather offer yourselves to God” and “offer the parts of your body to him….” It is up to me to figure out how to apply this concretely. For me there is the choice to focus on relational hurts, and thereby increase the negative emotions that results. Or there is the choice to come back to be “with him” and for me this option often means to journal about and sort out my emotions, to come back to truths about my relationship with my heavenly father, that I am his child, that I am “united with him” and that I have eternal life to look forward to. And through this, I am healed from past hurts, find freedom again, and once more can look beyond my own boundary to give and be generous to others once again. When Paul speaks of ‘the wages of sin is death” and “the gift of God is eternal life,” the choice is so stark. Heavenly Father, thank you for your precious gift. I receive it and ask for your help, that I may live my daily life “with you,” and that I may offer myself to You.

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