If you did the work yesterday, trying to restate or reframe your own use of this language, today might be more fun!
What if Paul had a sense of humour? Gaston, a puckish academic, enjoyed delivering oral variations, of the rhetorical negative responding to the rhetorical interrogative: ‘Of course not’
‘Hell no!’ ‘By no means!’ ‘Perish the thought!’ his students ventured into cruder vernacular
Imagine parallels: ‘If feels so good when I stop, that I do it again’ ‘The dirtier I get, the better it feels to get clean’ ‘I can quit anytime – I’ve done it a thousand times!’ ‘He’s been born again, again’ – ‘cheap thrills’.
From bitter experience, the moral frame for infant baptism (my baby is a sinner?) is easier than this metaphysical and mythic one here: (you want to drown and resurrect my baby?)
The coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave but one? Surely this is about more than facing our fears!
The hint about this kind of thinking is that you can’t turn it into a Disney movie – or a horror flick, or a cartoon.
What does resurrection look like, let alone participation in resurrection? As I preach it, ‘organism needs environment’!
Does any death put us right? Does a crucifixion do it better? How does overcoming the power of death differ from immortality, eluding mortality? What does the phrase ‘you’re dead to me’ mean? How about the phrase ‘you’re not the boss of me’?
Freedom from slavery appeals to us – What do we serve, and seek to escape?
Spiritual warfare is less comfortable talk – We’ve likely all been hurt by the righteous.
When Paul talks about members – Does he mean fingers of my body, or individual humans from our collective body, Or both?
The chapter ends with a phrase “The Wages of Sin is Death”, popular on billboards in rural fields. Does that really mean ‘Break the rules, you go to hell?’ I think that trivializes the faith –
and hopefully, the intention of the signs!
Once more, God forbid that ‘wages’ and ‘free gift’ returns us to commercial models for moral measurement when Paul was up to something far more not just ‘Jesus paid the price for us.’
Our language about time and money is bad enough: What does anybody really mean by ‘saving, wasting, making, losing’ either? Our language, if any, about salvation is worse:
What is the meaning and purpose of our lives or souls, ‘saving, wasting, making, losing’ either?
1 What shall we say then? Should we remain in sin in order that grace might abound?
2 Of course not! We who have died to sin,
how should we still live in it?
3 Or do ye not know that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized
into his death?
4 we were buried with him, then,
through baptism into [his] death, so that
as Christ was raised from among the dead
through the glory of the father, so also we might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united to the form of his death, we shall certainly also be [united to the form] of [his] resurrection.
6 We know that our old human being [Adam] had been crucified with him, in order that corporate sin might be abolished,
so that we might no longer be slaves of Sin –
7 for one who has died has been justified
8 If we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.
9 We know that Christ who has been raised
from among the dead, will die no more – Death no longer exercises lordship over him.
10 for the death he died he died to Sin
once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.
11 So ye also – consider yourselves to be
dead to Sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Let sin not reign in your mortal society
to obey it,
13 and do not ever offer your members to Sin as weapons of injustice but offer yourselves to God as being alive from among the dead and [offer] your members to God as weapons of righteousness.
14 For Sin shall not exercise lordship
over you, since ye are not [no longer] under law but under grace.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?
16 Of course not! Do ye not know that
when ye offer yourselves to someone
as slaves, to obey, then ye are slaves of the one ye obey?
[This is true] whether [ye are slaves] of Sin,
in the service of Death, or of obedience, in the service of righteousness.
17 But thanks be to God, that ye who were slaves of Sin have been given whole-hearted obedience to that pattern of teaching to which ye have been handed over.
18 Ye were liberated from Sin and have been made slaves of righteousness.
19 (I use this human analogy because of the weakness of your understanding.) Just as in the past ye offered your members as slaves to uncleanness and lawlessness – and that led to more lawlessness, so now [I urge you to] offer your members as slaves of righteousness – which leads to the sanctification [of God’s name].
20 When ye are slaves of Sin, ye were not subject to righteousness.
21 What fruit did ye gain then by it all?
Nothing but things of which ye are now ashamed,for their end is death.
22 But now that ye have been liberated from Sin, now that ye have become slaves of God,
ye gain your fruit toward the sanctification [of God’s name],and the end of that is the life of the age to come.
23 For the wages of Sin is death, but the free gift of God is the life of the age to come in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 So what do we do?
Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving?
2I should hope not! If we've left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there?
3 Or didn't you realize we packed up
and left there for good?
That is what happened in baptism.
When we went under the water,
we left the old country of sin behind;
when we came up out of the water,
we entered into the new country of grace –
a new life in a new land!
4 When we are lowered into the water,
it is like the burial of Jesus;
when we are raised up out of the water,
it is like the resurrection of Jesus.
5 Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we're going in our new grace-sovereign country.
6 Could it be any clearer?
Our old way of life was nailed to the Cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life - no longer at sin's every beck and call!
What we believe is this:
8 If we get included in Christ's sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection.
9 We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end.
Never again will death have the last word.
10When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us.
11 From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue,
and you hang on every word.
You are dead to sin and alive to God.
That's what Jesus did.
12 That means you must not give sin a vote
in the way you conduct your lives.
Don't give it the time of day.
13 Don't even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life.
Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time - remember, you've been raised from the dead! – into God's way of doing things.
14 Sin can't tell you how to live.
After all, you're not living under that old tyranny any longer. You're living in the freedom of God.
15 So, since we're out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want?
Since we're free in the freedom of God,
can we do anything that comes to mind?
You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom.
Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it's your last free act.
But offer yourselves to the ways of God
and the freedom never quits.
All your lives you've let sin tell you what to do.
17 But thank God you've started listening
to a new master,
18 one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!
19 I'm using this freedom language because it's easy to picture.
You can readily recall, can't you, how at one time the more you did just what you felt like doing – not caring about others, not caring about God – the worse your life became and the less freedom you had?
And how much different is it now as you live in God's freedom, your lives healed and expansive in holiness?
20 As long as you did what you felt like doing, ignoring God, you didn't have to bother with right thinking or right living,
or right anything for that matter.
21 But do you call that a free life?
What did you get out of it?
Nothing you're proud of now.
Where did it get you?
A dead end.
22 But now that you've found you don't have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise!
A whole, healed, put-together life right now,
with more and more of life on the way!
23 Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God's gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.