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Lesson 12: United to Christ *

Introduction: Let's review for a moment what we have learned in the past few weeks. Jesus came as a second Adam. Jesus succeeded where Adam failed. Just as we were swept into sin by Adam, so we are swept into righteousness by Jesus - if we choose. We can choose to be incorporated into Jesus' baptism, sinless life, death and resurrection by being baptized. Are we together so far? Last week we began to consider what is next: living life according to our spiritual, not human, nature. Let's continue to explore what it means to be united to Jesus in day-to-day living. Ready? Let's plunge into our Bibles!

  1. New Life

    1. Read Romans 6:3-4. What does Paul say we can have new? (A new life.)

      1. Do you like new stuff? I've got a friend who used to say to me, "I like my toys new." That is not how I look at life. "Open box," "refurbished," "scratch and dent," "second" are my "brand names." For me, part of the joy of ownership is paying less.

      2. What is the problem with getting used toys? (You inherit the problems of someone else.)

      3. If you are reading this, you have a "used" life. (Hopefully, you don't qualify as a "scratch and dent.") What is the attraction of the "new life" offered by Jesus? (Those things you regret, those problems you created are part of the old life.)

        1. Is leaving the old life behind really possible? Or, is this unrealistic talk?

    2. Read Romans 6:5-7. How does Paul describe our new life? Does it completely erase the old life? (The Bible says the "body of sin" is "done away with" and we are "no longer ... slaves to sin." The memory and the awareness of past sins may be there, but sin, at least the dominance of sin, is past.)

      1. Would it be best to completely forget our past sins? (For some people, getting burned by sin is an important aid for future conduct!)

    3. Read Romans 6:8-11. When does our new life begin? Is this future? Or, is this something we can have right now? ("Count yourselves" means to apply it now. This new life is something we can have now.)

  2. New Life Living

    1. Read Romans 6:12-13. When I become new, when I take on my new life in Jesus, is the sin problem, if not sin dominance, a thing of the past? (We still have to make the decision to "not let sin reign in us.")

      1. What does it mean to "offer" ourselves to God instead of to sin? (First, we have a conscious decision to make - and we need to be making it all the time. That decision is to choose righteousness instead of wickedness. Second, the word "offer" seems to mean be available, be willing. We make the choice for righteousness, but we let God make the decision on how we are used.)

    2. Read Romans 6:14. If you just had a twinge of anxiety about the idea of turning your life over to God for Him to make the executive decisions, what does this text suggest? (It suggests that our decision is to continually choose sides. Even if we chose selfishness we are not the master - sin is the master.)

      1. Can you remember (maybe short-term memory is all that is needed) when you were addicted to sin? (If the answer is "yes," then the reasonable conclusion is that we have more choice when we choose righteousness.)

    3. Romans 6:14 says something very interesting. It says that sin is not our master because we are under grace and not law. Let's try to paraphrase this: You will no longer have to worry about a traffic accident or a traffic injury because we have abolished all of the traffic laws. No more speed limits. No more pesky stopping for traffic lights or stop signs. It's your choice on which side of the road to drive. Would that make any sense to you? (I think "not under law" means a couple of things. First, it means "not under the condemnation of the law." Grace has set us free from the condemnation of the law. Second, it means that keeping the law is not the way we seek salvation. Grace is our new way of salvation.)

      1. Read the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:17-19. What does Jesus say about His role and the law? (If you think I'm going to teach you to break one of the commandments, you are not reading the text carefully!)

      2. Read Galatians 3:10-11. In what way does Paul say here that we are not under the law? (We are not depending on the law to be just before God.)

    4. Read Ephesians 4:22-24. What new part of our new self is mentioned here? (A new attitude.)

      1. Those of you who have been reading these lessons for years know that I like to refer to "righteousness by attitude." What do you think this "new attitude" means? (You love God. You are grateful to God. You want to please Him. From experience I know it is hard to turn away from wanting to please yourself, it is even more difficult to be honest about what pleases God and what pleases you. But, if you decide by the power of the Holy Spirit to develop this attitude, you are on the right road.)

    5. Read Romans 6:15-18. What does this say to Christians who argue that the law is done away with and that we can do whatever we want because we are under grace? (It tells us as clearly as possible that sin is not an option - even for those under grace. The reason why we should not (cannot) choose sin is because we will become a slave to it. As we mentioned before, anyone who has been addicted to sin (which is probably all of us) knows precisely what this text is talking about.)

    6. Read Romans 6:19. What encouragement do you find in this verse? (Paul confesses that we are weak. How I love to know that other people are weak - it is not just me who is weak.)

      1. What does Paul imply is the cure for human weakness? (Not to be in our "natural selves." He suggests we look to the Holy Spirit for power (against sin) beyond our natural self.)

    7. Read Romans 6:20-21. Be honest, when you were addicted to sin, what benefit did you reap? How did it work out? (There is no doubt that sin has its attraction. But the outcome is a train wreck. If your sin did not result in a train wreck, thank God for His mercy to you and consider how it could have worked out if Satan had his way.)

      1. Although Paul challenges us to consider the result of our sins here and now, he also directs our attention to the fact that the destination of the sin train is eternal death.

        1. Considering all of this, how dumb do we have to be to choose sin?

    8. Read Romans 6:22. Where does a life united to Jesus lead us? (Holiness and eternal life!)

      1. When the verse says "leads to holiness" what does that suggest about the times when we slip and fall into old habits? (We are on a path. If we have the right attitude, if we ask the Holy Spirit to lead, if we choose to be united to Jesus, we will keep moving towards holiness. It might be three steps forward and one step back, but we are on the move towards holiness.)

    9. Read Romans 6:23. What is within our power to earn and what is not within our power to earn? (We can earn death. Eternal life is a gift.)

    10. Friend, are you living the new life now? Do you have an attitude that desires to please God? Do you want to live a Spirit-led life? Do you want to leave the dirty feeling of your sin addiction? Will you, right now, confess your sins to God and ask Him to help you this day to enter new life-living?

  3. Next week: Atonement and Universal Harmony.
* Copr. 2008, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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