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Romans 6:1-14: Jesus' Resurrection Conquers Death
Lesson 11: Luke 24:1-53: Jesus’ Resurrection
What is something that is basically nonfunctional without something else? A couple examples I thought of were a car without gas or electricity, or a pile of wood for a campfire without a flame. The same is true of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Without the resurrection, Jesus’ death doesn’t hold as much power. Jesus’ resurrection is what gives Jesus the final authority over sin and death. In this week’s bonus lesson, you can revisit the story of Jesus’ resurrection. Then read the new lesson for this week to learn more about the significance of the resurrection.
Lesson 12: Romans 6:1-14: Jesus' Resurrection Conquers Death
Individuals: Take time to think back about your past week. Where have you seen God work in your life or answer prayer? Write down any prayer requests you have.
Group: Open the study by sharing life updates, reviewing highs and lows of your past week, or sharing prayer requests and praises.
Icebreaker: What is something in your life that you feel controls you that you want to be set free from?
All: Begin the study with a word of prayer, asking God to open your heart for today’s study. You can also pray for any prayer requests now, or save that for the end.
Read today’s passage: Romans 6:1-14.
1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 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. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
What is the context for this passage?
In the book of Romans, Paul has been explaining basic Christian theology to the people in the Roman church. One focus of the first few chapters of Romans is that people are sinners and have a natural desire to sin. This sin is what separates us from God and what earns us God’s wrath and judgment. On our own, none of us can be righteous, but if we have faith in Christ, we can receive Christ’s righteousness, which justifies us before God.
Then in Romans 5, Paul describes how Jesus’ death was the one righteous act needed to bring justification for all people. This allowed God’s grace to flow to all people so that their sins were no longer counted against them. But this brings up a conundrum: If God will forgive me for my sin because of Jesus’ death on the cross, why can’t I do whatever I want and sin as much as I want? God will forgive me anyway. Paul argues against that type of thinking in our passage today.
Read the passage again.
Explore a different version if you have one available. If you are online, here is Romans 6 in NIV through Bible Gateway. You can change the version by using the dropdown menu at the top right of the page.
Try to summarize the passage in your own words.
Answer these three questions about the passage:
1. What does the passage say about God?
God gives grace to sinners (vs. 1, 14). For those who are in Christ, there seems to be a direct correlation between sin and grace. When we sin, God gives us grace because of Jesus’ death on the cross.
Jesus suffered death, but he was also raised from the dead (vs. 3-4). We’ve looked at Bible passages relating to Jesus’ death, but we must not forget that he was also raised from the dead. Jesus is no longer in a grave, powerless to do anything. He is risen, and he has all power over sin and death.
God’s glory provided the power to raise Jesus from the dead (vs. 4). I think it’s interesting that both times in this passage where it talks about Jesus rising from the dead, it uses passive voice—he was raised. Jesus didn’t raise himself. So how did he rise from the dead? He did it through the glory of God.
Jesus is no longer controlled by death (vs. 9). Because Jesus was raised from the dead, death no longer has power over him. We usually think of death as the final act and irreversible. But as a part of the all-powerful triune God, Jesus has control even over death.
Jesus lives his life to glorify God (vs. 10). If Jesus died for our sins and was resurrected in full power, but then he went his own way and lived for himself, that would be fairly pointless. Instead, he lives his life to bring all glory and honor to God.
2. What does the passage say about people?
If we have accepted Christ, we are dead to sin (vs. 2, 6-7, 11, 14). The Bible tells us that we can only serve one master (Matthew 6:24). If we have accepted Christ as our master, we can no longer have sin as a master. Through God’s grace, we become dead to sin, symbolically crucifying that part of ourselves on the cross with Christ. Sin no longer controls our lives. We are set free from it’s power, just as a slave is set free from bondage.
If we have accepted Christ, we are united with him (vs. 5). Just like two people who are united in marriage, when we choose to follow Christ, we are united with him. The Bible even calls the church Christ’s bride (Ephesians 5:25-33). This is a covenant union between us and Christ, sealed with Christ’s blood.
If we have accepted Christ, we will live with him (vs. 8). Accepting Jesus’ death for our sins comes with a huge reward—this passage promises that we will live with him. What does it mean to live with him? When we have died a physical death here on earth, we will live with Jesus for eternity in heaven.
If we have accepted Christ, we are alive to God (vs. 11). Not only are we promised eternal life with Jesus in heaven, which is a great reward in itself. We are also promised that if we choose to die to sin, we will be alive to God. We will experience a freedom in this life that we never knew before, and our relationship with God will thrive. We will be aware of who he is and what he has done for us, which will cause us to experience life in a whole new way.
We are commanded to not participate in evil or wickedness (vs. 12-13). We learned earlier that there is a correlation between sin and grace for those who follow Christ. Even if we sin, that sin is covered by God’s grace. However, that doesn’t give us the freedom to sin as much as we want. Instead, we are dead to sin, and we should not participate in sin any longer.
If we have accepted Christ, we are to be instruments of righteousness for God (vs. 13). In place of being an instrument of wickedness, like we were when sin was our master, we are now instruments of righteousness if we decide to make God our master. God has intended us to do good in this world, not evil, to be a witness for him (see Ephesians 2:10).
3. What does the passage say about God’s plan?
God’s plan is that forgiven people will not be slaves to sin (vs. 1-3, 6-7, 11-14). God’s desire for people is that they will submit to his authority and not be slaves to sin. For those who choose to follow Christ, that freedom from sin becomes a reality. If God has forgiven us, if we live under his grace, sin no longer has any power in our lives.
God’s plan is that those who believe in Jesus join in his death (vs. 3-6, 8, 11). Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. In return, we join in that death by giving up our sins and willingly crucifying them on the cross with Christ. Take a minute to picture this in your mind. Think about the burden of sin that you carry. Imagine that it is a weight on your shoulders. As you look up at Christ on the cross, paying the penalty for your sins, you place that burden of sin on his shoulders instead, giving it up and letting it go. Christ has paid the price for those sins. They are no longer yours. In this way, we join in his death.
God’s plan is that those who believe in Jesus receive new life (vs. 4-5, 8, 11). The picture of Jesus on the cross, bearing the weight of all our sins, can be a heavy thought. Thankfully, that’s not the end. Just as Jesus was raised from the dead, once we join in his death, we also join in his resurrected life. God’s plan is that we should live in freedom—freedom to live the life that God intended us to live, including living with him for all eternity.
God’s plan is that baptism is a symbol of being dead to sin and alive in Christ (vs. 3-4). God has given us a symbol that allows us as humans here on earth to physically represent the picture that we see in this passage. When we are baptized as believers, we are physically dunked* under water—the picture of being dead to sin—and then we are raised out of the water—the picture of being alive in Christ.
*Some denominations do baptism in different ways. Ours typically uses full immersion baptism for those who have professed faith in Christ. Your church may do it differently. The important thing is that you recognize baptism as a symbol of being dead to sin and alive in Christ.
God’s plan is that Jesus’ death was once for all people (vs. 10). As we’ve seen in other passages in this study, Jesus’ death was one time for all people. He does not have to offer himself as a sacrifice time and time again like they did with animals under the old covenant. He was the perfect sacrifice, and his sacrifice was enough to cover the sins of all people for all time.
God’s plan is that those who are in Christ Jesus will offer themselves to God (vs. 13). When we realize the enormity of Christ’s sacrifice for us and the freedom we now have from sin, that causes us to respond. How do we respond? We offer ourselves to God to use as he pleases. Instead of living a life full of sin, we respond by living a life of righteousness. This is only possible by God’s grace.
How does the passage fit into the overarching story of the Bible?
Sometimes it’s easier to understand a passage if you have a little outside knowledge from other passages in the Bible. This section will help provide that outside perspective.
This passage brings up one of the major battles we see in the Bible: sin and death vs. grace and life. If we reject God, we are slaves to sin, and that sin brings death. If we accept God and Jesus’ sacrifice for sins on the cross, then we receive God’s grace and forgiveness for our sins. From that time on, we are to live as if we are dead to sin and alive in Christ.
This passage also highlights a major victory: Jesus’ resurrection conquers death. If Jesus had died on the cross and stayed dead, then his death would have no ultimate purpose. Death would still have the final victory. However, because Jesus was raised from the dead, death no longer rules over him. And because Jesus’ sacrifice and death was once for all people, that means that his resurrection also applies to us—if we believe in him, we can have eternal life with him.
The point of this is that if we truly understand and accept what Jesus has done for us on the cross, and the ultimate victory this brings, we realize that we can no longer pursue sin. It brings about a total heart change that desires to live for God rather than for ourselves. If we live for ourselves, our reward is wickedness and death. If we surrender to God, our reward is grace and life. Which will you choose?
Individual: Answer the following questions thoughtfully for yourself.
Group: Pose these questions for discussion.
All: If you are willing to share, I’d love to hear your thoughts to these questions. Feel free to use the comment section to start a discussion about this passage.
What else strikes you about this passage?
How does the passage affect how you view God? How you view yourself?
How does this passage affect how you will live your life?
For additional study related to this topic, read Galatians 5:13-26.
For Bible Essential studies, you can use my thoughts as your devotional, or you can download and use the journaling sheet to work through the passage on your own. If desired, you can then compare your thoughts to mine. Journal sheets can be downloaded and used now or later. They can be printed and filled in by hand or saved and filled out electronically. Journal sheets are available for individual or group use.
If you plan to lead a group study, a PowerPoint presentation is also available.
You can access these resources by clicking here: Romans 6 Resources