2.31 The Lord Jesus Christ Died to Achieve Freedom from Sin
2.31 Despite being saddled with our nature, the Lord Jesus Christ died and rose again for me, for my justification and salvation, and won freedom from sin. His life and death were a surrender of all to the cause of my redemption, to God's glory.
Freedom From Sin
And so I too must surrender all, I will willinglystrive to do this, for the glorious wonder of knowing this Man who died for me to enable such great salvation. He died and rose so that He might be made Lord of His people (Rom. 14:9); if we believe in His resurrection and subsequent Lordship, He will be the Lord of our lives, Lord of every motion of our hearts. We are yet in our sins, if Christ be not risen (1 Cor. 15:17). But He has risen, and therefore we are no longer dominated by our moral weakness. Because baptism united us with His resurrection, we are no longer in our sins (Col. 2:13). Therefore the baptized believer will not " continue in sin" if he really understand and believes this (Rom. 6:1 and context). Ours is the life of freedom with Him, for He was and is our representative [note that He represents us now, in His freedom and eternal life, just as much as He did in His death].
We died and rose with Christ, if we truly believe in His representation of us and our connection with Him, then His freedom from sin and sense of conquest will be ours; as the man guilty of blood was to see in the death of the High Priest a representation of his own necessary death, and thereafter was freed from the limitations of the city of refuge (Num. 35:32,33). Because Christ really did rise again, and we have a part in that, we must therefore abstain from sin, quit bad company and labour with the risen, active Lord (1 Cor. 15:34,58).The representative nature of the Lord's death means that we are pledged to live out His self-crucifixion as far as we can; to re-live the crucifixion process in our imagination, to come to that point where we know we wouldn't have gone through with it, and to grasp with real wonder and gratitude the salvation of the cross. " As one has died for all, then all have died, and that He died for all in order to have the living live no longer for themselves but for Him who died and rose for them" (2 Cor. 5:14,15 Moffat). It has been powerfully commented: " To know oneself to have been involved in the sacrificial death of Christ, on account of its representational character, is to see oneself committed to a sacrificial life, to a re-enactment in oneself of the cross" (1).
Such is the power of a true, lived-out baptism and faith that we have found freedom from sin. If we have really died and resurrected with the Lord, we will be dead unto the things of this world (Col. 2:20; 3:1). This is why Paul could say that the greatest proof that Christ had risen from the dead was the change in character which had occurred within him (Acts 26:8 ff.). This was " the power of his resurrection" ; and it works within us too. The death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth aren't just facts we know; if they are truly believed, there is within them the power of ultimate transformation.
Nearly everyone in the first century believed in the God-idea. There were very few atheists. Hence the radical nature of statements like 1 Pet. 1:21: we " through him [Jesus] are believers in God" , because God raised Jesus from the dead. The resurrection of the Lord inspires faith in the Father to such an extent that anyone whose faith in 'God' is not based on the risen Jesus does not actually count as a believer in God.
Paul in 1 Cor. 15 lists ten serious consequences of failing to believe that Christ rose. One of these is that there was no reason for him to constantly risk his life to preach the Gospel if Christ was not risen. It stands to reason that the fact Jesus has risen is an inspiration to risk and give our lives, time and again, in an all out effort to spread that good news of freedom from sin to others.
The wonder of the resurrection would totally affect our attitude to asking for things, the Lord taught in Jn. 16:23,26. In that day [of marvelling in the resurrected Lord], ye shall ask me nothing
if ye shall ask anything of the Father, he will give it you [RV]
in that day you shall ask in my name
. What are we to make of all this talk of asking and not asking, in the day of the resurrected Lord Jesus? My synthesis of it all is this: Due to the sheer wonder of the resurrection of the Lord, we will not feel the need to ask for anything for ourselves. The gift of freedom from sin is enough. Because if God gave us His Son and raised Him from the dead, we will serve for nothing, for no extra perks in this life; and yet, wonder of wonders, if we shall ask, in His Name, we will receive. But we must ask whether the implications and wonder of the fact of the Lords resurrection have had such an effect upon us
(1) W.F. Barling, The Letters To Corinth.