We were . . . buried with him. Romans 6:4
For twenty-nine years after World War II ended, Hiroo Onoda hid in the jungle, refusing to believe his country had surrendered. Japanese military leaders had dispatched Onoda to a remote island in the Philippines (Lubang) with orders to spy on the Allied forces. Long after a peace treaty had been signed and hostilities ceased, Onoda remained in the wilderness. In 1974, Onoda’s commanding officer traveled to the island to find him and convince him the war was over.
For three decades, Onoda lived a meager, isolated existence, because he refused to surrender—refused to believe the conflict was done. We can make a similar mistake. Paul proclaims the stunning truth that “all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death” (Romans 6:3). On the cross, in a powerful, mysterious way, Jesus put to death Satan’s lies, death’s terror, and sin’s tenacious grip. Though we’re “dead to sin” and “alive to God” (v. 11), we often live as though evil still holds the power. We yield to temptation, succumbing to sin’s seduction. We listen to lies, failing to trust Jesus. But we don’t have to yield. We don’t have to live in a false narrative. By God’s grace we can embrace the true story of Christ’s victory.
While we’ll still wrestle with sin, liberation comes as we recognize that Jesus has already won the battle. May we live out that truth in His power.
How are you tempted to believe that death and sin still hold power over your life? Where can you see Christ’s victory already present in the world?
Jesus, I know You’ve won the battle over evil and darkness. Would You help me to live this out?
Paul’s question in Romans 6:1—“Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase”—flows from his observation in the previous chapter that when sin increases, grace increases “all the more” (5:20). So Paul asks if grace is a license to sin. Not if we value being in the gracious care of Christ rather than in the custody and condemnation of the law (v. 21). Not when we see that what we lost in Adam now overflows in the life, love, peace, and hope that comes in the awareness of what it means to be united in and with Jesus (chs. 5–6).