The Resurrection and Our New Life

Categories: Life Christian › Sanctification and Holiness

The last time I used this illustration, I gave the wrong author. Maybe it was because I didn't want it to be Mark Twain. But Mark Twain wrote a book called The Prince and the Pauper. And in this story you have a beggar boy who has a terrible life. He lives in squalor, receives physical abuse, is beaten for any thoughts of escape from this place. There is also a prince who will receive the kingdom when his father dies; and his father is on his death bed. One night the prince is out walking and sees his guards mistreating the beggar boy. He comes to the rescue and plays with the beggar. The prince thinks it would be neat to switch clothes and play at being each other. He's never known what it's like to be anything but a prince. So they pretend to be each other. He blackens his face and finds to his surprise that they look like identical twins. As a precaution he hides the royal seal before fetching the dog for play. But when the prince is out looking for his dog, the guards catch him and mistaking him for the beggar throw him out into the street. He protests that he is the prince and receives a trouncing for his insolence. And so he wanders around being abused as a beggar. At the end of the story the true prince makes a challenge for the throne and produces the royal seal as proof that he is king. If you've never read the story or watched the video, its a fun story.

I. Why do we allow the world, the flesh and the devil to take dominion over us? ("by the one... death reigned ...through the One... [you] reign.")

A. The Old Man (our old identity that flows from Adam)

1. "death reigned through the one [Adam]" (v. 17)

2. "sin reigned in death" (v. 21)

B. The New Man (our new identity that flows from Christ)

1. "those...will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ" (v. 17)

2. "grace might reign through righteousness ... through Jesus Christ our Lord" (v. 21)

But Scripture presents a very similar description of us. Genesis 1-2 and Psalm 8 says that everything was placed under the dominion of man. Yet in Adam mankind lost it all. Adam could have evicted Satan out of the garden, but instead found himself evicted. He could have ruled over sin, but instead found sin holding him in bondage. He was given dominion over the earth, but instead found God's curse that to dust he would return. That's the irony: the dust having dominion over man instead of man having dominion over the earth. And by the way, that is one of many reasons why there must a literal resurrection of our bodies — to correct even that reversal.

So that's the first part of verse 17: For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one. Adam was supposed to reign, but now death reigns over him, Satan reigns over him, dust reigns over him. Verse 21 says that sin reigned in death. Paul says that even circumstances get the better of man. The rich prince Adam becomes a pauper.

But in Christ a change took place. Verse 17 goes on to say, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. In Christ, because of His resurrection; because He conquered death; because He reversed the Prince-Pauper tragedy, God made it possible for us to reign over absolutely everything that overthrew Adam's dominion.

God told Cain. If you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it. God told Cain that he should rule over sin. In Christ we have that ability. And yet often we walk around without any of the resources of a king. We live like paupers, look like paupers and feel like paupers when by all rights we should have the authority of kings. Revelation 1:5-6 says, To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests. He has already made us King's and priests in Christ. Those who put their trust in Jesus to save them, are treated by God as having legally died when Christ died, to have risen when Christ rose, to have ascended to the right hand of God — so that Ephesians 2 says and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

So verse 17 is describing something that we have by right, yet we many times fail to live in terms of. Paul wants us to experience the lifestyle that he experienced. Beck translates it we live and reign like kings through the One, Jesus Christ. This is in the present tense: right now we live and reign like kings. Phillips paraphrases it this way, should live all their lives like kings. The Amplified Bible says, shall reign as kings in life. A tremendous picture! Yet why is this description so foreign to what many believers experience?

Some Christians are constantly being overcome by anger, lust, gluttony, materialism, fears, or the taunts and persecution of others. Paul indicates that there is a reason for that. There are two dynasties in competition for our lives. In some passages they are referred to as the first Adam and the Second Adam; or Adam and Christ; in others they are referred to as the Old Man and the New Man. The Old Man is our old identity with Adam and the pull that this has on our life. Your genes came from Adam, your soul came from Adam; before you were a believer your legal status was wrapped up in Adam. He was your representative, your power and your weakness. But when God regenerated you, He gave you a new spirit. In Ezekiel 36:26 God says, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. Eventually we will even have a new body so that our relationship with the Old Adam will be completely broken. But until resurrection day we still have the connection to the old Adam; we have an old nature; an Old Man and can be influenced by the habits and the energies of our old identity with Adam.

But praise Jesus! In Christ we now have a new identity, a new legal status, a new nature, a new power. And Jesus is in the process of making all things new. Eventually, just as Jesus was given a new body, we will be given new bodies. But it is important to understand that what Paul calls the New Man is our new identity with Christ and the pull that Christ exerts in our life. Both Adam and Christ have powerful pulls upon us because we are related to both.

And I think Mark Twain illustrates this so well. When the prince identified with the beggar's life, and took on the clothes of a beggar, he lost power and was immediately treated like a beggar and came into the hardship and the bondage of a beggar. But when he went to the palace and demanded to be placed on the throne, all he had to do in order to claim the vast resources he had as a king was to produce the royal seal.

Paul commands us to produce the royal seal of faith and to begin appropriating what is rightfully ours. When we live in bondage to sin, Paul commands us, do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. Don't take orders from your fleshly desires. And don't let anyone convince you that you are not a king, or that you do not have the power. Christ has given you the power and the status and the resources of a king who is reigning with Christ.

What kind of resources do we have in Christ? Whose pull is stronger: the Old Man's or the New Man's? We might initially think that it is the Old Man, because OHHH do we feel it, especially when we are first converted. It is hard. Look at verse 20, last sentence. But where sin abounded [He doesn't deny that sin can have an incredible power and pull, or that sin does abound. But he says, "But where sin abounded"], grace abounded much more. Not just more; but much more. Your temptations may seem overwhelmingly powerful., and you might excuse your sins by saying, "I can't help it." And Romans 7 describes that frustrated experience in verse 15 — that what I hate, that I do. I'm almost finished reading the book off the back table — The Enemy Within, and I think that Kris Lungaard portrays the problem of our flesh so well, as well as the remedy. Sin's power is great, but the Spirit's presence within us even greater. And so verse 17 doesn't just talk about a small taste of our kingship that we can experience. It talks about overflowing grace that is more powerful than Satan's grip on our lives. Now that's encouraging!!

Chapter 5 and verse 17 again: For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, [get this phrase] much more... Christ doesn't just give grace to barely get you by. His power is much more than Satan's power; His grace is much more lavish than you even need. much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. We need not be pauper kings. We are kings who are fabulously wealthy in spiritual resources. That word "abundance" means to be more than enough, to have left over, to overflow. When we find ourselves in bondage to something, it is not because Christ's resources are not enough. Over and over Scripture assures us that we can have all that we need. Romans 8:32 we are more than conquerors. Not just conquerors, but more than conquerors. Ephesians 1:3: who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. 2 Peter tells us that He has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. We are not paupers. We are kings who are fabulously wealthy.

Well, if that is the truth, then why am I struggling like a pauper? At the end of the sermon we will be seeing that it is due to three things: 1) We are not driven by the knowledge of who were are, and consequently when people tell us we are not the king, and Satan puts doubts into our heads about our abilities, we start to believe them and give up. And so there is a knowledge issue that we must be driven by. 2) We have not exchanged our identity or taken off our rags as it were — and so our rags make us feel like paupers. We have a hard time believing it can be different. So there is the faith issue. 3) And then third, we submit to the wrong authorities and the wrong influences.

But for right now, it's important to realize that it is possible for someone who is wealthy to fail to utilize his riches. I read the story of the wealthiest business woman in America — at least at that time she was the wealthiest — Mrs. Hetty Green. When she died in 1916, she left an estate of 95 million dollars — which was an enormous sum back in those days. She was a brilliant financier and market player, making on the average $500 an hour. So she was fabulously wealthy, brilliant in making money, yet all her life she lived in abject poverty. Her children wore used clothing, and whenever she had health needs, she would dress in rags to gain sympathy in hospitals. When her son broke his leg while sledding, she tried to treat it herself. When it got worse, she went to a hospital dressed in rags. The surgeon thought she was poor and only charged a tiny percentage of what he normally would. But since she couldn't get the treatment for free, she left to find free treatment. Because of the delay, he got gangrene and eventually Edward's leg had to be amutated. She was brilliant at making money, but she lived like a pauper — and worse than a pauper. She wore the same dress for years, moved from slum house to slum house trying to evade the tax collectors. While her investments earned her $500 an hour, and she lent out millions of dollars at 6% interest, she would haggle with a shoe salesman over a $3 pair of shoes. She didn't have a nickel on the bus one day, and didn't want to give a dime or more, so she bummed a nickel from the bus man promising that she was good for her debts. When she went the next day to the bus station, she put a nickel down on the desk and wouldn't let her finger off the nickel till he would cut her a receipt. On her death it was discovered that she had tried to save money by sowing newspapers together and using these as slips; as undergarments. She was a strange, strange woman.

But you know what? Paul thinks that we are strange, strange Christians when we do not conquer our sins and live by God's grace. And like Mrs. Green, we often live on a scale far below our spiritual resources. Look at chapter 6:1. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Shall we wear newspaper slips so that the riches can abound even more? And we think, "No Mrs. Hetty Green. That's not the point of that wealth." But she speaks back to us and by way of parable says, "No Phil Kayser, No Tom Brainard, No Jonathan Kayser, we don't give in to sin so that grace may abound. The purpose of grace is to rescue us from the poverty of our sins." We have the resources needed to reign in life. Though there is the pull of the Old Man (our old identity with Adam — and we can feel it strongly), the pull and the resources and the legal authority of the New Man (our new identity with Jesus) is even stronger. So that too is an encouraging point.

II. The Subjects Of Our Reign?

A. The Great Reversal (vv. 12-21)

1. In Adam's Sin - Creation's Dominion Over Man

2. In Christ's Righteousness - Man's Dominion Over Creation

B. What We Must Reign Over

1. Sin (Rom. 6:14)

But let's look next at what Christ's death, resurrection and ascension on our behalf enables us to reign over? Verse 17 just says that we will reign by grace. But how extensive is our reign? Well, there are several things that we are called to rule over as those who have been raised with Christ. The first is sin.

Look at chapter 6:14. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Earlier Paul had given the law's demand: do not let sin reign in your mortal body. But here Paul gives grace's promise that sin shall not have dominion over us. This is not a command; this is a promise. Grace enables us to rule over sin. And I would like to give a couple of messages on some of the practical ways in which we are called to reign over sin. And I would encourage you to buy Kris Lungaard's book. But we are called to reign over sin — to get the upper hand.

2. Enemies & Other Circumstances of Life (Rom. 8:31-38)

Look at Romans 8. This chapter gives a whole litany of things that we have been called to triumph over by God's grace. Beginning at verse 31: What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? [We don't need to be in bondange to Satan because we have the resources of a king. We don't need to be overcome by the evil of our enemies, because our life is hidden with Christ in God. Enemies can take your things, your health and your physical life, but they can only overcome your spirit if you let them. You have the resources to conquer anger, bitterness, hatred, malice. And I would encourage you to read chapter 12 of Romans which gives you step by step a whole litany of things that can help you to overcome evil with goodness, rather than letting yourself be overcome.] But Romans 8:32 continues.

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? But then He begins to list the types of opposition we receive and shows how we need not be overcome by any of it. He lists tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword and says in verse 37: Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Do you feel like your circumstances conquer you and rule over you? Do you take dominion of time, or does time take dominion of you. Time is not you enemy. It is working together for your good. No matter how badly things went for Christ, He never lost control. Christ promises us resources to enable us to rule over our circumstances. Richard Wurmbrand and others have shown how jail cannot imprison the soul unless we let it. We can be kings even when we are under the boot of the persecutor.

3. Fear (Rom. 8:15)

Look at Romans 8:15. This gives another thing that we have the resources to rule over — fear. He says, For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out Abba, Father. When we identify with the Old Man we can become very subject to the bondage of fear. But Christ has given us His Spirit and says that it is foolish to be ruled by fear. Now there are steps you need to follow — and this sermon can't delve into the steps of victory for each and every enemy. I'm mainly wanting to stir up hope in you that it can be done. Christ has guaranteed that we can get the upper hand; that it's worth persevering like that prince did to regain his throne. We can reign in life because of something that [Christ]{.underline} has done in 30 AD.

4. The body (9:27)

Look at 1 Corinthians 9:27. Perhaps some of you are ruled by your bodies. Everytime your body says "feed me," you give in. Every time your body says, "Be lazy," you obey. Your body rules your spirit. Well, Paul says it is possible to reverse that. 1 Corinthians 9:27 says, But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. He was in control of his body; he disciplined his body. He was acting as a king, not a pauper. And he didn't say that out of pride. He said that to encourage us that we can do it too. Reigning sometimes can be hard work — but let me tell you — it's better than being a pauper and living in slavery.

5. The good gifts of God (1 Cor. 6:12-13)

Look at 1 Corinthians 6:12-13. There are perfectly good things in this world that God has given for us to enjoy. But we can become controlled by those things, in which case we are acting like slaves, not like kings. There is noithing wrong with alcohol in moderation, but you should drink any of it if you haven't learned self-control. Anyway, Paul says, All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. And then he goes on to give examples of food and sex as good things that can control a person and become bad. Do you take dominion, or does something in creation take dominion and control over you? It could be as simple as gluttony, or it could be some other form of addiction. It could be computer games which control your life or some other form of entertainment. The amount of television that some people watch, it is obvious to me that they are not taking dominion. Their whole schedule is being robbed and usurped by creation and is keeping them from achieving what God wants them to achieve. There is nothing wrong with entertainment, but God wants us to plan it, and rule over it.

6. Anything else that overcomes our reign through Christ (2 Pet. 2:19)

2 Peter 2:19 describes unbelievers as slaves of depravity - for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.

Now I have read all of those Scriptures because I don't want there to be any excuse in your minds as to why you are not reigning. You might say, "It's not my fault that I'm bitter. That person has been so evil to me that I can't help it." And Paul says in Romans 12, do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. He is saying, use your resources as a king; quit thinking like a beggar. Reign; use your spiritual authority in Christ; claim your bank account. No matter how evil others are, you don't need to be overcome or controlled by their behavior. No matter what persecution you might have, you can become more than conquerors through Christ. It is true that there are steps to the overcoming, but today I am emphasizing the reception of Christ's power by faith. Too frequently believers become so accustomed to being princes dressed in rags that they see the beggar's life as the normal one. They have given up. But it is not normal for us to let sin reign over us. And God assures us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that there is no circumstance that makes it impossible for you to reign. Guaranteed.

III. The Royal Resources We Possess

A. Possessed In Christ ("through the One, Jesus Christ")

Well, back to our launching off pad in Romans 5:17, there is another point that this verse brings up, and that is that it is only through Christ that we can have resources. Verse 17 says,we will reign [through]{.underline} the One, Jesus Christ. We are not talking about Christians doing this on their own. We are talking about the resources that we have in Christ. It is because He is reigning at the right hand of the Father right now that we can have the power to reign. Ephesians 1 says that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. If you look within you, you won't find it. Paul says, I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwells no good thing. We reign over the flesh, but we don't derive any strength from the flesh. It is possessed in Christ.

B. Possessed In Abundance ("abundance of grace"; cf. Rom. 8:32; Eph. 1:3; 1 Cor. 3:21,23; 2 Pet. 3:1-4; 2 Tim. 3:16-17)

Point B — it is possessed in abundance. Romans 8:32 says, He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? It's possessed in abundance. In fact, it is because He has given us all things that He guarantees that all things will work together for our good. 1 Corinthians 3:21-23 says, all things are yours; whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come — all are yours, and you are Christ's and Christ is God's. We don't have to wait till the second coming to be in circumstances that will serve us rather than fight against us. He has given us resources in abundance.

C. It Surpasses The Resources Of Satan's Kingdom ("much more")

And (point C) they surpass the resources that Satan has at his disposal. Verse 17 says, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ... That phrase "much more" occurs five times in this chapter. And so this point assures us that we have all the resources that we need to reign in life.

IV. The Secret To Being A King ("those who receive" cf. ch. 6)

A. Receive by Knowing (Rom. 6:3-11)

Finally, there is a hint of how we start to reign as kings. Back to chapter 5:17. It says, those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign... "those who receive...will reign..." There is a receiving that needs to take place. It starts when we cast our sins and our self-efforts upon the cross as worthless, and that we receive Chrsit's legal, imputed righteousness as being sufficient to save us, and we receive His imparted rightesousness as sufficient to sanctify us that we start our Christian walk. But throughout the Christian life, this receiving is a constant, ongoing reality. Galatians 3 tells the Galatians that they are foolish to think that they can start by grace but get sanctified by self-effort. All must flow from Christ.

According to Romans 5:17, those who receive will reign, and no one else. Those two things cannot be separated. Without receiving you can't have reigning. What God has joined, no man can put asunder. If some are spiritual giants and others are spiritual pigmies it is because some have been receivers and others have let their wealth go largely unclaimed. We will probably amplify on this in a later sermon. But let me summarize for you now.

It involves first of all knowing. Romans 6:3 says, do you not know...? Then he tells us some stuff to know. Verse 6: knowing this, and he tells us more stuff to know. Verse 9: knowing... and he tells us more stuff to know. One of the problems that many of us have is that we either do not have knowledge, or we are not driven by our knowledge. I read of a Texas farmer who was about to be evicted from his land because he couldn't pay his taxes. He was very, very poor. An oil company asked if they could drill a well on his property. Overnight he became a multimillionaire because it was one of the biggest producing wells in the nation. Now the question comes — when did He own the oil? Was it before of after he knew about it? And the answer is that he owned the oil before, but didn't know it. Until you know of Christ's riches, you can't enjoy them. They need to be tapped and exploited. And until your life is driven by the knowledge, it is irrelevant. In the Prince and the Pauper, it didn't seem like anyone believed the true prince, and even Miles Hendon thought he was crazy. But Prince Edward was driven by his knowledge, even as we must be driven by the knowledge of the Word whatever others might say or think.

B. Receive by Reckoning (Rom. 6:12-14)

Secondly, you must reckon what is yours to be so. Romans 6:11 says, reckon yourselves [or consider yourselves] to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Reckoning is taking doctrine and believing it is ours. Reckoning is filling in the amount on a blank check that someone has given to you. The poor farmer could have taken off once the oil company drilled and said, "It's too bad they get all the oil. It's too bad I'm just a farmer." He could have known about the oil, yet never applied that knowledge to the fact that he possessed it all. So you receive first by knowing, second by reckoning.

C. Receive by Putting Yourself at God's Disposal (Rom. 6:15-24)

And then thirdly, you receive by putting yourself at God's disposal. If you stiff arm God at certain areas of your life and say, "I am willing to be receptive here, but not here," you are not receiving, and you cannot reign by grace. It must be a total submission to God to be His slave. And by the way, slavery is inescapable — you are either a slave to the flesh or a slave to God.

Let's start at Romans 6:13: And do not present [literally pari÷sthmi means to yield, to offer yourself, to put yourself at someone's disposal, to surrender or to submit — those are all good translations from Greek dictionaries. So, "do not submit, or surrender"] your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present [or submit or surrender"] yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. Verse 16: Do you not know that to whom you present [or surrender or submit] yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that through you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented [or submitted or surrendered"] your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present [or surrender, or submit, or yield, or put at disposal"] your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.

This third component is often spoken of as prudence — the willingness to give God a blank check, and no matter what He puts on it, to deliver. When was the man with the withered hand healed? It was when He was yielded to Christ's command and he attempted the impossible while claiming God's grace. When did God part the Jordan River? It was when the priests stepped into the river in the obedience of faith. Too many of us wait around hoping God will part the waters, but we can't receive God's abundance of grace because we are not surrendered, yielded to Him. You must know your resources, reckon them to be yours and then submit your body to be used for God's pleasure, not your own. With those three components — you will constantly receive of Christ's grace and constantly know what it means to reign in life rather than to be reigned over.

This morning if you don't have what Romans says should be yours — if you are still begging like a pauper instead of living as a king, then ask yourself which of those three things are missing. If you simply don't know enough about sanctification to find victory, then buy books and learn. There is a wealth of knowledge that can help you get from defeat to triumph.

If your problem is with reckoning what the Bible says to be true for you, then develop your faith. And there are books that can show you how to grow and walk in faith.

If your problem is with the submission part — that you do the wrong thing just because you want to, then you need to start mortifying your flesh — putting it to death. And praying Ignatius' prayer of submission where he said, "Take, Lord, and receive, all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. You have given all to me. To You, O Lord, I return it. All is Yours. Dispose of it wholly according to Your will. Give me Your love and Your grace, for this is sufficient for me."

I read how modern engravers are able to do such detail work with granite rock. I don't know if this is the only way. But one way they can easily make deep cuts is through sandblasting. They coat the rock with rubber, write a design on the rubber, then cut the rubber out where the sandblasting needs to take place. Because the rubber is flexible and resilient, it can receive the shock with no damage. But the granite that is unmoving and unyielding is etched and cut by the blasting.

When we resist stubbornly, we will be worn out first. The one who is always looking for trouble will find it. The stubborn man is always getting harder knocks than the one who receives them with a submissive attitude toward the Lord. The hotheaded man has a harder time of it than the flexible man. The bottom line is that knowledge and reckoning is not enough. We must also be receiving God's grace through submission and a willingness to respond. May God grant us the ability to reign as we receive of His grace through knowledge, faith and submission. Amen.

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