Romans 7:1-13 – Paul warns Christians not to back into our former way of living. As far as Christians are concerned, a life “controlled by the sinful nature” belongs to our past. The law not only reveals sin, it also stimulates it. The natural tendency in man is to desire the forbidden thing – death. Physical death and beyond that, eternal death - final separation from God – are the fruit of our “union” with the law.
Paul tells us what exactly happened to us. "Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God" (Romans 7:4). Remember, "we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him." (6:5–8)
This truth is so crucial to the believer's daily walk with Christ that Paul reminds us to "consider (reckon, count upon the fact) yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:11). God's solution to our sin problem was to crucify us with Christ. As far as the Father is concerned we were there in the grave with Christ and we rose into newness of life with Him. This happened in Baptism. Now we are joined in an intimate union with our Lord and Savior.
Remember, in Baptism you died to sin. Christ bore the penalty of the law on our behalf, and rose from the dead. The moment you were born again in Baptism you were identified with Christ's death and resurrection. You are no longer under the law, but under grace.
Luther observed, "It is impossible for a man to be a Christian without having Christ; and if he has Christ, he has at the same time all that is in Christ. What gives peace to the conscience is, that by faith our sins are no more ours, but Christ's, upon whom God has laid them all; and that, on the other hand, all Christ's righteousness is ours, to whom God has given it. Christ lays His hand upon us, and we are healed. He lays His mantle upon us, and we are clothed; for He is the glorious Savior, blessed forever."
Merciful Father, through Holy Baptism You called us to be Your own possession. Grant that our lives may evidence the working of Your Holy Spirit in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, according to the image of Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Baptism copyright © Ed Riojas, Higher Things
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
History of the Great Reformation of the Sixteenth Century in Germany by Jean Henri Merle d'Aubigné