Bible Passage: Romans 6:1-14
Rise Up: Culture Change
3 Keys to Rise Up and Transform Your Culture
“A culture is a way of life of a group of people-the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.”
Culture Wins, William Vanderbloemen
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast”
One of the hardest things to break and turn around is a culture of losing.
Whether it’s a sports team that seems to always get new players but still can’t figure out how to win because the culture of the team is losing and therefore as soon as they get a new player it just sucks them into the culture.
Or it’s generational poverty where each new generation continues down the path of terrible financial decisions and unwillingness to do what is necessary to dig their way out of it.
Or it’s a marriage that just always seems to sit in at best complacency with one another but more normally frustration disagreement and dislike another.
Or it’s a life of moral decay and sin and a person just continues to live it.
When a culture of losing sets in it is one of the hardest most difficult things to break. It is an addiction that causes us to see ourselves, our paths, our life, our worth all through the window of losing, of standing there bleeding with no chance of anything else. Settling.
The Bible teaches us that we are stuck in a culture of sinners because we are born sinners. It is just handed to us right out the gate. Then we are educated on it every day of our lives!
So, how can we be set free from a culture of sinning that so defines us and seems to enslave us so that we are in a cycle of spiritual losing? How do we rise up out of a culture of sinning, of rebelling against God, choosing to obey ourselves rather than God, and of constantly viewing ourselves, our worth, and our purpose through the values of a culture that is addicted to sin!
How do we make that change? How do we rise up and shed the sinful cultural values we are born with, that we view ourselves and the world with, that leaves us stuck in the hole of sin?
Well, if you’re going to change the culture you have to be intentional with how you think and act. You have to force yourself to think and act differently. To think and act in a way that reflects what you want to become.
From the Christian perspective, it’s to think and act in the way that you ACTUALLY are and not how you used to be.
1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. (Romans 6:1-14)
The questions in this verse are rhetorical in their nature so far as Paul is concerned, and he raises them in order that he might introduce his subject of the God-ordained method whereby a saint can live a victorious life over sin. 1Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 2, p. 90). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.[\note]
Thus, in chapter six, Paul is not talking about what kind of a life the believer should live, but by what method or how he should live that life.2Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 2, p. 91). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.[\note] a total change of mindset. CULTURE! Specifically.
Romans 6:1-4 gives us 3 keys to rise up out of the sinful culture we were born in.
Stop settling for death. You have life as your standard. (6:1-5)
1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
The question now can be further interpreted to mean, “Shall we continue habitually to sustain the same relationship to the sinful nature that we sustained before we were saved, a relationship which was most cordial, a relationship in which we were fully yielded to and dependent upon that sinful nature, and all this as a habit of life?” 3Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 2, p. 92). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.[\note]
The fundamental question therefore is not with regard to acts of sin but with respect to the believer’s relationship to the sinful nature. This is after all basic, acts of sin in his life being the result of the degree of his yieldedness to the sinful nature.4Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 2, p. 92). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.[\note]
3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
The usage of the word as seen in the above examples resolves itself into the following definition of the word baptizō (βαπτιζω), “the introduction or placing of a person or thing into a new environment or into union with something else so as to alter its condition or its relationship to its previous environment or condition.5Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 2, pp. 96–97). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.[\note]
Now, remember that death is the absence of God. Eternal death is to be eternally without God in any way. The consequence of sin is death. This death is not just the physical death that all living things experience but also the absence of a relationship with our creator, the inability to know Him, and consequently the inability to even fully love and be loved by others. It is why there is so much internal loneliness and emptiness in mankind. So much effort to chase after the desires of our flesh to feel alive and why there is so much division in the world.
But, the baptism of Christ into His death was to alter our condition. Christ’s death on the cross made way for His resurrection. The inability to have a relationship with God died when Christ died. It was replaced by the life of Christ’s resurrection. He was raised from the dead so that we can be raised from death. Not just after our physical death but right now in the spiritual death that we were born into.
If you gave your life to Christ it was so you can experience life knowing and experiencing God’s love for you and through you. He was raised so that you can have life now!
If you gave your life to Christ, you were baptized into a different life. A different standard. So stop mentally settling for anything less than that!
Have life as your standard and accept nothing less!
Stop viewing yourself as a slave. You are a favored child of God! (6:6-11)
6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin.(you were a slave as long as you were alive BUT IN dying with Christ means we are literally DEAD and thus FREE from the slavery of sin! We have been set free from being terminally ruled by sin to being eternally ruled by CHRIST!) 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
God’s end-purpose, he tells us, is our freedom from sin’s tyranny: that we should no longer be slaves to sin. That is plain. 6Stott, J. R. W. (2001). The message of Romans: God’s good news for the world (p. 175). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.[\note]
KEY ACTION WORD is “Consider” – “The common ground in these two uses of the word is that logizomai has to do with reality, with things as they truly are. In other words, it has nothing to do with wishful thinking. Nor is it an activity that makes something come to pass or happen. It is an acknowledgment of or an acting upon something that is already true or has already happened. In bookkeeping, for example, it means posting in a ledger an amount corresponding to what actually exists. If I “reckon” in my passbook that I have $100, I must really have $100. If not, “reckoning” is the wrong word for me to be using. “Deceiving myself” (or others) would be more like it. It will also help us in our understanding of Romans 6:11 to recognize that logizomai has already been used several times in Romans and that in every case it has referred to recognizing something that is factual. In fact, logizomai has appeared fourteen times before now, and it will occur again (in Romans 8 and 9). The chief use has been in chapter 4 (eleven occurrences), where Paul employed it to show how our sins have been reckoned to Christ and punished there, and how his righteousness has been reckoned (“credited”) to us.7Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: The Reign of Grace (Vol. 2, pp. 675–676). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.[\note]
We have to stop seeing ourselves as slaves. Why? Because we are favored children of God and not slaves to sin. Let me flesh this out for you.
Slaves see no hope in the future, but children see an inheritance.
Slaves have no reason to try harder because there is nothing for them to gain in life. No matter how hard they work they will still be in the same condition they were in tomorrow that they were in today.
However, we have been brought out from the slavery of sin and made to be children of God!
A child knows his efforts will be rewarded with the love and adoration of his parents. And a child knows he has an inheritance that if he will not defame the name of the family he will be able to share in one day!
As a Christian, you have to stop thinking like a slave to sin who has no future.
A slave to sin doesn’t. They have nothing to work for. No reason to fight the temptations of the flesh. No reason to not live for the values of this world.
But we have an inheritance that is not of this world. It is greater than anything this world has to offer. We are children of God, not slaves of sin and satan. Therefore we have every reason to strive to be faithful.
So stop viewing yourself as a slave and see yourself for who you are!
Slaves see themselves as property, but children see themselves as the priority.
Property is replaceable. A car, a tv a house, and even land. Likewise, Slaves know they are dispensable because they are replaceable. They can be traded.
Children know they are one of a kind and totally irreplaceable! They know they are the highest priority of their parents. That they will never be forgotten or replaced! They know they are unique and loved as an individual.
As a Christian, you are not a dispensable slave to sin.
The world will disregard you faster than you can blink. It will replace you faster than it can say your name. But God will never forsake you. He doesn’t even think of replacing you. He adopted you as HIS CHILD! He sent His son to die for you. He sought you out. He prepared a place for you. He is your Father and He loves and treats you in every way as a father is to treat His child. And He’s coming for you!
So stop viewing yourself as a slave and see yourself for who you are!
Slaves see themselves as unworthy, but children know they are worthy.
A slave can’t look his master in the eye. He isn’t allowed to eat with his master or even sit at the same table. A slave is never introduced as family, but always a slave. A slave is left behind. A slave is forgotten.
But a child is worthy of being known. A child has every right to walk the home and the land. A child can dine at the table, eat the food, sit on the furniture, and is always announced as one of the family! They are worthy of the family name.
So stop walking around as if you are not worthy. CHRIST has made you worthy to be a child of God. Stop viewing yourself as a slave and start viewing yourself as who you are! A favored child of God!
Stop laboring for shame; you have glory as your opportunity. (6:12-14)
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. (Paul puts it another way in verse 13.) 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness (what is unworthy of GOD!), but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness (what is WORTHY of GOD!).
As we talked about in week two in Philippians 3, when your god is your belly, when you are being ruled by your fleshly passions and desires, the end result is shame!
Anytime I do something unworthy of who I am or who I’m associated with there is a sense of shame. In the same way, sin leaves us feeling shameful for a reason. It isn’t worthy of who you are or who you are part of – JESUS!
Shame is the natural feeling of sin for that very reason. We know we have something better than that for us. A life we can live that is filled with glory and not regret. Glory instead of shame.
If you are an elite athlete then you are totally dissatisfied with an average performance. You knew you should have been on the podium getting the prize for winning but you didn’t put the effort in that was needed, or the preparation or the focus. Whatever it was, you knew you made choices that kept you from winning and feel frustration and shame in that.
As children of God winning is what we have been gifted to do! You and I can live a life that is worthy of the calling. That is worthy of the price paid. One that God will honor and bless as opposed to curse and condemn!
But that requires submitting to His leadership and not our flesh that is still filled with sinful desires. We must give ourselves to Him as instruments instead of giving ourselves to our sinful desires!
But, what about when we fail?
I mean I try, but I know I’m going to fail. So why try? Check out verse 14.
14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
“The key to the mystery,” he goes on to say, “that the doctrine of redemption, although not demanding good works, produces them, is to be found in the fact that love excites love and the desire for holiness. Hence obedience is no longer slavish. We strive to obey, not in order to be saved or to please God, but because God saves us without works or merit of our own, whom, because he is reconciled in the Beloved, we delight to serve.”8Hodge, C. (1882). A commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (New Edition, p. 320). Grand Rapids, MI: Louis Kregel.[\note]
In verse 14, Paul says to do this with confidence knowing that if you fall short or miss the mark (sin) you are under grace! Sin will not have dominion over you. It has no right to rule over you because you are under grace. You are no longer under the covenant of law so therefore not under the eternal consequence. You don’t experience the harsh consequence of any failure being a total failure. Under the law, a failure of one thing fails you totally in all things!
But, if you are a Christian you are not under the Law anymore. You are no longer under the curse that punishes one failure as a total failure, but rather you under grace where Christ has paid for all the failure, and God is now ready to reward all your success!
We are saved because of His gift of Grace and we are rewarded for our efforts of living in submission to Him by His grace! We will never meet the standard, but God blesses the broken spirit and contrite heart that strives to love and obey Him! He blesses our flawed love and blesses our flawed obedience. Not so we don’t feel the need to labor in it, but so we know it is worth the effort!
“So Paul calls us to rise up in rebellion against sin. ‘Precisely because we are “free from sin”, we have to fight against it.’ The Roman Christians ‘must revolt in the name of their rightful ruler, God, against sin’s usurping rule.’9Stott, J. R. W. (2001). The message of Romans: God’s good news for the world (p. 180). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.[\note]
How diligent are you in demanding of yourself to think and act as the person God has made and redeemed you to be?
You don’t win a war by tossing an occasional rock, by shooting a few arrows, or by attacking the enemy on a day off. A day you just don’t have anything better to do!
To win a war you have to be all in!
Sin is raging against us. It is crouching at the door like a lion looking to devour us! If we don’t rise up and rage back we will be destroyed! If we don’t rise up with the weapons and strategy He’s given us then we will be devoured.
Most importantly, if we don’t rise up with the right mentality and values, the right cultural mindset of a victor and winner, as children of God, then it won’t matter that we rose up at all!
So is there a diligence to rise up and fight? To fight the battle of the mind that drags us back into a sinner’s culture?
Is there a diligence, urgency, and flat-out effort to think and act in a way that reflects the culture of the Kingdom of God? Are we living as victors or giving in to the culture of the Kingdom of the World where we are slaves!