Text: Rom 5: 1-21, 6:1-11
Of the many small things fitted in our vehicles to assist us to drive, is the rear view mirror. The rear view mirror when correctly positioned helps us to see what’s behind us at a quick glance. But of interest is when we come across a road accident or situation and safely begin to drive off, we glance at the rear view mirror as we drive away from the scene. I usually imagine, what a long day it’s going to be for those people involved in the accident behind me, but sometimes I imagine, that could have been me? No one left home to get on the roads anticipating an accident.
But another reason I find it interesting is when I am driving especially my family, and I glance at the rear view mirror and see my two sons or my wife sleeping. There is a deep sobering sense and reminder that I am responsible, as they sleep and move around care-free at this point their safety is squarely in my hands. Or think of the matatu driver who carries the passengers; Sometimes they do not know or do not even care what you have gone through, but you know deep down that you are responsible to get them to safety, while they chat away, or sleep away or even complain away- you know that you are responsible. It’s even sad when a police man arrests the matatu…we all walk away and leave the driver alone in trouble.
We continue with our Easter series- The Cross Over- And our mantra is lets talk about Death, so that we can know how to LIVE? Last week we looked at the significance of the Blood of Christ. The Blood of Christ deals with our sins in totality. We said that The Blood of Christ has satisfied God as an atonement for our sins, Now God does not condemn us, but also the Blood cleanses us from our conscience so that we do not condemn ourselves and finally the blood also speaks on our behalf against the enemy so that He too cannot condemn us.
Today we look at the Cross of Christ.
During Easter we are reminded that our Salvation is Free but it did not come cheap. We are reminded that because of the way of the Cross, our way of life can be significantly be changed. A careless view of the Cross leads to a careless gospel and as a result a careless faith with empty emotions for and to the one who gave his life for us. In the words of Muggeridge “it is the Cross, more than anything else that has called me inexorably/unrelentingly/unwavering to Christ.
The phrase ‘Jesus died for me’ is sometimes too familiar that we miss the significance and value for it. As believers the Cross of Christ is our rear view mirror, where Christ took my place and I can drive away from the condemnation scene, because Christ took the hit for me once and for all. But also a reminder that while Christ took my place, I will still under go persecution especially for the sake of those behind me. How I steer my faith in tough times is a key testimony of the work of the Cross in our lives.
Our text today is part of a well explained discourse in the Book of Rom 5:1-21 and also a bit of Chapter 6.
Last week, we established that “For All Have Sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. Again we are all a bunch of sinners. We said that we sin because we are sinners and we are not sinners because we sin. In other words we are sinners by constitution not just by our actions.
In our immaturity, sometimes our Christian life is concerned more with our doing than our being, we think that if we could only rectify certain things we should be good Christians and so we set out to change our actions. Our solution to better marriages, better people is to do better, is to our change our actions, but sooner or later we slip back into old behavior and we judge each other harshly when we fail to live up to the change of actions we promised.
We discover the problem is not in the outside, but in the inside, when we try to please God, there is something in us that does not want to please God, we want to Love but something in us that does not want to love, we want to forgive, but something in us does not feel like forgiving- This is the power of Sin, Our sinful nature- a natural rebel to God and all that is godly. It is much easier, rather the default for us to rebel. No one teaches a child how to do bad things, they just pick them naturally, it takes a lot of energy to teach us how to do good and very little effort to teach us how to do evil.
It’s not only what I have done that is wrong, we must discover that it is who I am? I am all wrong! Everything in me and about me needs to change, I need a new me.
Last week we said – The Blood of Christ deals objectively with our Sins, it washes us from our guilt and condemnation. The blood can wash away my sins, but it cannot wash away ‘my old man’, It takes the Cross to crucify the old man, the Adam in me. The Blood deals with sins but the Cross deals with the sinner.
The Blood procures our forgiveness and pardon, but the Cross procures us our deliverance from what we are.
But the Question is- Where did this fallen state come from (Vs. 12- 15)
When Adam sinned/Rebelled or denied God’s LIFE, He brought death into us. He brought that rebellion to all of us and everyone therefore born of Adam is a rebel. Now that may sound a little unfair.
How can we be declared guilty for something Adam did thousands of years ago, this may feel unfair. The truth is we are members of a race of people who are constitutionally rebels. How is this possible?
My Name is Aluma, I did not chose this name, I am an Aluma because my father was an Aluma, If I act like an Aluma I am still an Aluma, if I act like Mwangi I am still an Aluma, If I become a president or a poor man I am still an Aluma, Nothing I do can change that fact.
We are not sinners because we do sin, but because of our heritage. It is because I was in Adam when He sinned. Do you see how human life is so connected? If My grand father had died at a young age, where would I be, but because he did not, His experience has become part of who I am by nature.
So the law does not make us sin, but the Law only reveals the sinners we are? If you put a sign here that says ‘DO NOT CROSS’ that’s when we want to Cross.
So the Case here is that – The problem is in our Heredity, Damu yetu ni Chafu, not just our behavior. Unless we change our parentage there is no deliverance for us?
But 15- God has provided a new Man in Christ. That if in Adam we receive everything that is of Adam, then if we are in Christ, we now receive everything that is of Christ. Vs 19-21, If our despair is in Adam, then our Hope is in Christ.
But how is this Possible?
We were born sinners, How then can we be cut off from our sinful heredity? If we are born in Adam, How can we get out of him? Again the blood cannot take us out of Him, There is only one way- If we came in by birth- then we must go out by DEATH. If bondage to sin came by birth, then deliverance from sin comes by death.
In 1 Cor 15:45-47 Christ is referred to as the Last Adam, and also the second man. Note carefully that He is not the second Adam, but the last Adam, nor is he the last Man, but the second man.
As the last Adam, Christ is the sum total of humanity. As the last Adam He gathered all into himself all that belonged to Adam and took it to judgment and death. As the second man, He is now the beginning of a new Race. In Adam the Old has gone, in Christ A new man has come.
Scripture says that God has dealt with us in Christ as the last Adam. How then do we get in Christ, we can’t. This is simply the act of God. He has divinely put us ‘in Christ’ and so when HE was crucified all of us were crucified there with Him. In Christ we really died.
Listen to 6: 1-11
What is the result then- Because of the Cross, we are now in Christ – New creations, the old man (Adam) has gone and the New Man has come. We have been reconciled back to God , We have peace with God. 5:1-2
We can drive away from the scene of condemnation, because we are now new people, He died our death, so that we can live His life. What does this mean? Not only are your sins forgiven but the power of sin in us has also been dealt with. Oh how often we need to look into our rear view mirror. It is not a feeling, it is a fact!
We are not about doing Christianity or acting like Christians, but now we are about being Christians.
But secondly, how does the Cross of Christ help us to face persecution and hardship (Vs 3-5)
Because of the Cross, when we look into rear view mirror- We are reminded of the one who has taken it all for us and that He overcame and so if He conquered we too will conquer.
We can rejoice when we run into problems and trials, in another place scripture says- Rejoice when they persecute you for the sake of Christ, in another place count it a great blessing to suffer for Christ.
Persecution and suffering then is the sure test of son ship. Trouble in Christ confirms that we are His and He is ours and everything that belongs to Him belongs to us, including persecution. But also the glory that belongs to Him also belongs to us.
Christ likeness in us is brought about more in persecution. The quality of the work of the Cross in us comes out in persecution. Because Persecution is a daily reminder that I no longer live but Christ lives in me. Persecution is a reminder that I am living someone else’s life.
Paul puts it in another way- For me to live is Christ to die is gain.
The product of Persecution is more of Christ and less of me- Because Persecution puts us to death again and again until Christ is fashioned in us.
When We celebrate the Lord’s table, or Easter It’s that time we look into our rear view mirrors and See the Cross of Christ as the only basis for us to drive away safely, but also as our only basis for strength and motivation in times of Persecution and hardship.
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”
With these words, Jesus welcomed death. He did not die of exhaustion, or pain or merely murder, but he willingly gave up his spirit. John 10:17-18 (read). Remember again Stephen said these very words when He died. These words teach us the art of dying and the art of living.
The art of dying is not a painful struggle to hold on to life, but a peaceful surrender of oneself into the hands of the father, not in insults and anger but in peace. It is well with my soul. This is the model we have in Christ on how to embrace persecution.
The art of living then becomes a daily rehearsal for the art of dying. Not holding on to this world and it’s wealth, not holding on desperately but daily surrendering oneself to the Lord. Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to thee. Lord, Not my will but your will be done.
Read Rom 5 and 6 again
- What is the basis of our peace and reconciliation with God according to these scriptures
- Share what areas of sin you have struggled with by trying to live right? How does this highlight the Sinful nature and power of sin over us?
- What new insights about the old and the new man in reference to Christ and Adam in this Scriptures
- Shall we go on sinning so that grace may abound? How do we answer this question in the light of Christian living
- How then should a Christian approach sin and the power of sin
- How does the Cross address generational sins, curses, histories and failures?