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.