In this brief, three-part sermon audio series, we lay out:
- Paul’s argument for justification by faith in Christ alone because of God’s grace alone, in Romans 5:1-11.
Justification by faith alone. Sola Fidei. Just what does this mean? Who is it for? Why is it so? Why is this a most necessary doctrine to grasp?
In this tender handling of Romans 5:1-11, Jason Molher of GBF gives us the vital context of Paul’s discussion of justification, and shows us why it is so necessary for us to receive this free gift of God’s grace and to stand in it with confidence.
Paul’s view of the purpose of the Law of Moses in relation to His grace displayed in Christ’s death on the Roman cross, in Romans 5:12-21.
O Felix Culpa! – Oh Happy Fault! The universal domination of sin and death. The glorious freedom of God’s grace in the shed blood of His Son.
Felix Culpa: Not the name of a rock band or movie star.
It is Latin for, “Happy fault!” – and it says that even though Adam’s fall into sin – and thus, ours, brought the horror of death and the domination of sin into human experience, it also brought the greater grace of God in redemption from those, through Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, by faith. What we are becoming spiritually and emotionally, and shall be, in physical, mental and social glory because of God’s grace alone is orders of magnitude greater and freer than Adam was before his fall!
- Paul’s solution to the problem of Sin as the reigning Master over the life of the unbeliever, and how the Spirit-wrought union with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection is God’s gracious solution for those whose faith is in the Son of God.
We’re used to hearing that Christ died for our sins (plural) – the evil things we do and think. But Romans 6:1-14 deal with something altogether different: That Christ died TO Sin (singular). This is the concept that he died to sin as the ruling/reigning Master, and we (the Old Man, the man identified with Adam) were co-crucified with Christ – we died. Because the gracious Holy Spirit identifies us, (our Old Man, who we are in Adam) with Christ in the cross death, our Old Man who was alive to and obligated legally to Sin as his master is therefore co-crucified with Christ. As a result we no longer owe allegiance to Sin as our master, because we’ve been set free by our death with Christ. Here is a great key to the sanctified life: We are to recon, to logically count as a fact, that we are no longer under obligation to obey our deposed old master, we’re now alive to the grace of God as our new master. And this is because we were co-crucified with Christ and we are now dead, utterly dead, as a legal/ownership obligation, to Sin as our Master. We are now alive only to God in Christ, and this by the grace of God in Christ and enacted for us by the Spirit!
Therefore, I don’t kill Sin, it’s already dead to me, because… I died with Christ at the moment Christ died TO Sin! There’s no “me” there for Sin, as my old master, to issue commands to anymore!
That’s the grace of us being co-crucified with Christ! Now, I am to reckon (logically recognize) this as true, because, well, it is! Until I gain a glorified body in the rapture I do go about dealing with and putting off the sins (plural) that still arise from my mortal flesh as a justified man, a believer in Christ. I am to mortify the deeds of the flesh, the sins (plural) that arise from the flesh (Romans 8:13). But that’s not “killing/mortifying sin” Itself!
So reckoning myself as already dead to Sin (singular), legally, as my master (because the “I” that was alive to Sin is now dead – Gal 2:20) is the first and key part of this walk of sanctification from sins as they arise from my yet unredeemed flesh. Our only communication with Sin as our deposed master, is to hold up our death certificate to him and remind him that his commands and wooing are to a man long dead and buried! Go away!
Lack of precision in teaching and use of terms on this critical issue is the cause of much confusion, frustration, lack of progress, and grief for believers. John Owen’s classic work, Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers, though wonderful and helpful in so many ways, has also led to some confusion on account of his imprecise use of language in this case, and his lack of a comprehensive grasp of reckoning of our co-crucifixion unto Sin.
Because Christ already successfully mortified us as believers to Sin on the cross (Romans 6:2, 6-10, and “I have been crucified with Christ” -Gal 2:20), once and for all, for us as believers to continue to attempt to mortify Sin reflects a misunderstanding of Paul’s meaning and instruction in these and related passages. It risks ignoring a key, necessary benefit of Christ’s powerful work on our behalf! v6 is clear that “our body of sin” is dead and done away with. It is helpful as one reads Owen’s work to repeatedly ask, “Does he really mean “Sin” here, or does he actually mean “sins” which arise from the flesh? (Two very different things!) Look at the verses he quotes and the answer is usually found there. In fact, Owen states quite correctly and strongly in chapter 1, (3.) “To mortify“, that our Old Man is in fact dead, crucified with Christ and is therefore dead to Sin! (Praise God!) At the end of that paragraph, however, he retreats back into language that is confusing (or confused). And Owen never really does come to firm grips with Paul’s claims or their proper application and power found in our text, Romans 6:1-15. Chapter 14 (XIV) of Mortification of Sin contains a muddled and not quite satisfying section that deals with this passage briefly. Owen understands so very much! Yet one yearns for him to point the believer clearly, concisely and definitively to the power of reckoning what is objectively true about ourselves because of our identification with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection. Caveat Lector!