While driving to my office yesterday morning I was listening to the late Dr. Adrian Rogers on my car radio. He was preaching from Romans chapter 6 verses 5-11:
“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. 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. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
He used the following illustration which was very powerful and helped to make clear the meaning of the text.
In January of 1863 President Abraham Lincoln’s “Emancipation Proclamation” was made law. Instantly, every slave in the named states and territories were legally free. Every one of them had the legal right to walk out of the master’s house and off the plantation.
Many of the freed slaves did leave the plantations to afford themselves of the rights and opportunities other citizens had enjoyed for many years. What a wonderful thing that people, some of whom had never known anything but slavery and serving others at the expense of their own well being and freedom, were suddenly free!
In spite of this wonderful historic event, many slaves continued in their servitude and their lives did not change at all. They either did not know they were free, or heard the news and it seemed too good to be true, or they were afraid of losing the security they had as slaves.
How sad to be legally free and yet still living and working on the plantation for the slave owner, living every day as a slave just as before.
How many Christians are still living on the plantation? Before we became Christians every one of us were enslaved to Satan, to do his bidding. But, when we became Christians, just as the American slaves, we were instantly legally free from the slavery of sin and the devil. How?
The reason we are free is found in the passage above. A dead man is not bound by any law and is not under the rule of any authority. When Christ died as our representative, we died with him.
“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. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.”
We were “crucified with him” so the truth “One who has died has been set free from sin”. When he died, we died, and when he was raised we were raised with him, and because he lives forever, so shall we.
Believer’s baptism is the perfect picture of the reality. In the watery grave we are saying publically that the old man is dead and is buried and the new man is raised to live the new life Christ gives. It is not baptism but what baptism pictures that is most important. Exactly in the same way it is not the power and blessing of the bread and wine in communion but what they picture that gives life to the dead and frees from the law of sin and death.
There is no reconciliation without representation. Just as “In Adam all die”, “In Christ all are made alive”. “By one man (Adam) sin entered the world and death by sin so that death has come upon all men.” In the same way, those who have Christ as their representative are made eternally alive.
The Truth has set us free and we are free indeed! Don’t stay on the plantation.
His spirit united with my now alive spirit just leaped for JOY and kicked my soul into rejoicing to prompt my flesh to praise Father, Son, and Spirit! Thank you God for your Covenant of Mercy and Grace and for your servant/son Royce.
Great example. Helps it come to life very well. One thing many people don’t realize about the E.P. is that it only was in force for southern slaves and not for at least 4 states in the North that still had slaves when it was issued. Northern slaves were still slaves under the law until the 13th amendment. At least, that is how I understand it.
Your are correct Matt. The so called “border states” were not effected. Abe Lincoln made a great contribution to our country but I’ll bet you a cup of strong coffee that many people who talk in glowing terms about him, and even compare themselves to him, are unaware that his work on behalf of slaves was more motivated by politics than love for mankind. On the slavery issue he was a fence sitter much like our elected officials are today.
Thanks for your fellowship and friendship. This is only the dress rehersal.
It may be a good illustration, but it’s flawed historically. The Emancipation Proclamation originally freed slaves only in states “in rebellion” against the United States. In a place like East Tennessee, where the Union had taken control by 1863, the proclamation would have meant something (had Tennessee been one of the 10 named states, which it was not). But in places like Alabama, Georgia, and most of the Carolinas and Florida, the slaves may have been legally free according to the laws of the USA, but they were very much still in servitude by the (very much in force) laws of the CSA. Sorry to take issue with an otherwise helpful illustration, but history does matter. Peace.
Black slavery – phaw!!!!
We are ALL slaves to the “almighty” dollar! Want to REALLY debate me? Then quit you job right now.
Don’t want to lose your house, the car(s), the vacation(s), the “lifestyle”…then shut the hell up and accept the fact you ARE a slave to SOMEONE (the boss, the congregation, the community, the sports stars, the Hollywood crowd, the….etc., etc., etc….
Sorry to be the one to inform you, but ALL of us – both white and those of color – are enslaved to SOMETHING.
If you are reading this, you at the very least have a cable/Internet bill you pay every month. Is it free? Don’t think so, slave! Get back in that damn line for you top-loader washing machine and high-def TV. Ain’t for all y’all – jus the smartest slaves.
I am a slave…to Jesus Christ, and I am constrained by His love to in turn love knuckleheads just like you.
I wish you well,