Dead to Sin, Alive to God (Romans 6:1-23)

Slavery… think with me about slavery:

Frederick Douglass grew up as a slave in Maryland in the early nineteenth century and experienced slavery’s every brutality. He was taken from his mother when he was only an infant. For years as a child, all he had to eat was runny corn meal dumped in a trough that kids fought to scoop out with oyster shells. He worked in the hot fields from before sunup until after sundown. He was whipped many times with a cowhide whip until blood ran down his back, kicked and beaten by his master until he almost died, and attacked with a spike by a gang of whites.

But even so, when Frederick considered trying to escape to freedom, he struggled with the decision. He writes in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave that he had two great fears.

The first was leaving behind his friends:

I had a number of warm-hearted friends in Baltimore, friends that I loved almost as I did my life and the thought of being separated from them forever was painful beyond expression. It is my opinion that thousands would escape from slavery, who now remain, but for the strong cords of affection that bind them to their friends.

His second fear was this: “If I failed in this attempt, my case would be a hopeless one it would seal my fate as a slave forever.”

Today, people who find themselves in slavery to sin, and who think about escaping to freedom in Christ, may have similar fears. They may fear leaving behind friends. They may fear they’ll fail in their attempt to break from sin and live free for God.

They should take heart from Douglass’s experience. On September 3, 1838, he remembers:

I left my chains, and succeeded in reaching New York without the slightest interruption of any kind I have been frequently asked how I felt when I found myself in a free State It was a moment of the highest excitement I ever experienced I felt like one who had escaped a den of hungry lions.[1]

So, I wonder, are you a slave?

Let’s read Romans 6:23:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in  Christ Jesus our Lord.

Please keep your Bibles opened I want to apply this passage and this chapter. I will point out key passages in order to show how we got to this place.

My theme:

We are dead to sin, alive to God


Live for Jesus, we no longer have to be slaves to sin.

  1. First, in this passage I see that we died with Christ to the old self; therefore, we no longer have to live in sin. (verses 2-3)
    1. Look at verses 2-3: We are those who have died to sin;how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
    2. How many of us have been baptized?
    3. This means that we are baptized into Jesus.
    4. Paul gives this analogy of dying with Christ in baptism.
    5. Think with me about the cross. On the cross Jesus died for our sins. He died for all of our sins. If He did not take care of all of our sins then we would still have a problem.
    6. So, in that manner, Jesus died for all of our sins, they are dead. He died for them. In this way when we are baptized into Christ Jesus the sins are dead. Our old slavery is dead.
    7. By the way, do you think Frederick Douglas ever wanted to go back to slavery? NO! So why do we go back to our sin slavery?
  2. We have risen with Christ (Verses 2-3)
    1. Jesus died but we know that He is not dead anymore.
    2. Also we have been risen with Him.
  3. We have been risen with Christ and Christ is not living in sin, so we must live for Christ. (Verses 4-5) Look at the next few verses: We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the deadthrough the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
    1. We are joined with Christ, Christ does not sin.
    2. We are joined with Christ, Christ can help us conquer sin.
  4. In verses 16-17 I read we will serve someone or something, it must be Jesus.

Look at verses 16-17: Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 

  1. Verse 23: sin has a wage and it is death, but God freely gives us eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. We can trust in Jesus freely and receive the eternal wage.

The guinea worm is a parasite found in certain areas of central Africa. It begins its life as a larvae and often hitches a ride in a millimeter-long crustacean called cyclops.

When a human drinks water from a stream, the cyclops enters the stomach where gastric juices make short work of the cyclops. The larvae of the guinea worm, however, are not destroyed. The worms poke holes in the human’s intestine and go for a swim.

After about three months, the male and female larvae get together. About one year later a full-grown guinea, the width of a paper clip wire and up to three feet long, begins to move through the body of its human host, causing tremendous pain. Finally, the worm pokes out of the host’s body—probably through the foot. If not removed, the parasite will eventually lead to its host’s death.

Once the worm exposes itself, it can only be removed a few centimeters a day. Otherwise the worm will pull apart and die, resulting in infection and possibly death for its host. Sometimes the painful process takes weeks or months.

The guinea worm is like sin in three important ways:

First, sin is easy to get involved in. Just like drinking the water from a stream seems simple and harmless, so often does sin.

Second, sin is difficult to get rid of once it has taken hold. When sin “pokes its head” out of our lives, and we recognize it has to be dealt with, we should act. Forgiveness comes quickly, but many times the process of getting free from its pull is slow and agonizing.

Finally, like the guinea worm, sin when left unchecked can kill you.[2]


In Decision, Karen R. Morerod writes:

I was in a store shopping for a sweater. The cost needed to be minimal, so I went to the clearance rack to start looking. As I flipped through the sweaters, one caught my eye. It was the right color and the right size, and best of all, the price tag was marked $8.00. Without much more thought, I made my purchase.

At home I slipped on the sweater. Its texture was like silk. I had made my purchase so quickly that I hadn’t noticed how smooth and elegant the sweater was. Then I saw the original price tag: $124.00!

I gasped. I had never owned any clothing of that value. I had come home with what I thought was a “cheap buy,” but the original price was quite high. I had been oblivious to its value.

Just as with my sweater, I have often treated the power of Jesus’ blood like a “cheap purchase.” His grace, though free to me, carried a high price tag the life of his very own Son.[3]

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)


[1] Kevin Miller, vice president, Christianity Today International, Wheaton, Illinois

[2] Kevin Bidwell; source: Men’s Health (December 1999)

[3] Karen R. Morerod, writer, “Lesson Learned from a Sweater,” Decision (November 1999), p. 39

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