JC Ryle, the great Anglican theologian wisely said that “He who would make great strides in holiness must first consider the greatness of sin.” As we study the verses read for us this morning my hope is that we would do so by considering the greatness of sin. And by greatness I mean the serious nature and gravity of our sin.
It's incredibly easy to gloss over our sin. We become skilled at rationalizing our sin so that we don’t really have to deal with it. But if sin is an offense to God’s very character, then why would we ever want to minimize or ignore its destructive power? Every time a believer comes face to face with their sin, from the depths of their should they should say, “I want to be done with this.” Have you been there? Do you ever think “Why do I keep doing the things that I do?” Do ever long to rid yourself of some habit, thinking, “If I could only be free from this!” Do you ever hope that some day that you will begin to see the fruit of righteousness outweigh the pattern of sin in your life?
As much as I desire for us to come to grips with the severity of our sin, I’ve been praying this week that we would come to know and experience freedom from those things that enslave us most. I want you to know this morning that not only is this passage calling us to make a decisive break with the sinful tendencies we have carried into the Christian life - but it is possible. Think about the one sin that you simply wish you could be done with. I want you to know that Christ has made it possible for you to have freedom from that sin.
Union with Christ
And we’re reminded that we can have freedom because of one word in verse 5. “Therefore.” The term “therefore” points us back to the description of union with Jesus that we talked about last week in verses 1 through 4. When a person becomes a Christian, instantly their life is intertwined with the life of Jesus. We become one with him. And because of that, we live a very different life than before. Why?
because you have died with Jesus Christ
because you have been raised up with Jesus Christ
because Jesus Christ is your life
because you have the hope of glorification with Jesus Christ
You see, our union with Christ gives us a whole new identity. As Christians, we’ve died to the old world and have now been raised with Christ into a heavenly world. And it's only because we have this new identity that we can live out the divine commands of Scripture. And not only are we enabled to see our sin put aside, but we must deal with it. If you’re a believer, it is impossible for you to be content with running from God’s will for you life - which is your holiness.