Salvation: Our Death With Christ Has Freed Us From Bondage To Sin

The glorious good news of the gospel is that, by virtue of our faith-union with Jesus, we have died, and so we have been freed from our sentence to live a new life.

The strange facts of this case do point to the wonder of our salvation in Christ. As sinners who have rebelled against our good creator, God handed us over the ruling power of sin in our lives, which the present manifestation of his just wrath against us (Romans 1v18-32). We are subject to a life-sentence without possibility of parole, which will only be ended when we die, in which case we will be condemned to eternal punishment.

 

One story that caught my attention in the news last week was the failed appeal of Benjamin Schreiber to be released from his life sentence. He was convicted of murder in Iowa in 1990 and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. In 2015 he was revived in hospital  after his heart had stopped. He claimed that he ought to be released because he had technically “died” and so served his sentence.

It is somewhat unsurprising that the Iowa Court of Appeals rejected his “original” bid for freedom. They decided that the sentence would not end until a medical examiner declared him dead. His case was not helped by the fact that he has signed the legal documents in the case, making it “unlikely” that he was dead!

However, the strange facts of this case do point to the wonder of our salvation in Christ. As sinners who have rebelled against our good creator, God handed us over the ruling power of sin in our lives, which the present manifestation of his just wrath against us (Romans 1v18-32). We are subject to a life-sentence without possibility of parole, which will only be ended when we die, in which case we will be condemned to eternal punishment.

However, the glorious good news of the gospel is that, by virtue of our faith-union with Jesus, we have died, and so we have been freed from our sentence to live a new life. Jesus has paid the penalty of eternal death for us and, because he is our representative and not just our substitute, we have been co-crucified, co-buried and co-raised with him. As a result, we have been set free from God’s sentence of bondage to the slavery of “Sin” so that we can live a new life.

This is exactly how Paul explains the effect of our faith in Christ in Romans 6. We have “died with Christ” and as a result we are “dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6v8 & 11). The glorious implication is:

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 16v12-14)

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