Jesus said that, in order to have a right relationship with God, a person must be ‘born again’ (John 3:3). In Romans 6:4, Paul too spoke about a new life. That is a very beautiful way to describe the change in a person’s life when that person becomes a Christian.
The problem is that we all have former lives. At that time, we did not do what God wanted us to do (3:23). Perhaps we preferred to please ourselves; perhaps we did some very evil things. We like the idea of a new life; but the end of our former lives may seem a less attractive subject.
However, there was nothing attractive about our lives without God. In other words there was nothing attractive about our wrong habits and evil behaviour. Those evil things controlled our lives as if we were slaves. We are so grateful that Christ died to free us from those things (5:6-8). So we are glad to share in the benefits of his death (Isaiah 53:4-6; Romans 6:3-5). We are even glad to read about the end of our former lives; our new life with Christ is so much better.
Of course, Paul is not describing here the death of our physical body. Rather, he is describing how completely God changes people’s lives (2 Corinthians 5:17). God does this wonderful thing whenever people turn from their evil deeds to invite Christ into their lives.
Those are the people that Paul describes as ‘dead people’ in verse 7. He means only that their former lives, without God, have ended. He explains that their sin (evil thoughts, words and deeds) no longer controls their life. Instead, God has given them a right relationship with him. Therefore, they have a new life; they are ‘born again’.
Next part: The defeat of sin and death (Romans 6:8-10)
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© 2017, Keith Simons.