Our old history ends with the Cross; our new history begins with the resurrection. "If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold they are become new" (2 Cor. 5.17). The Cross terminates the first creation, and out of death there is brought a new creation in Christ, the second Man. If we are 'in Adam' all that is in Adam necessarily devolves upon us; it becomes ours involuntarily, for we have to do nothing to get it. There is no need to make up our minds to lose our temper or to commit some other sin; it comes to us freely and despite ourselves. In a similar way, if we are 'in Christ' all that is in Christ comes to us by free grace, without effort on our part but on the ground of simple faith.
But to say that all we need comes to us in Christ by free grace, though true enough, may seem unpractical. How does it work out in practice? How does it become real in our experience? As we study chapters 6, 7 and 8 of Romans we shall discover that the conditions of living the normal Christian life are fourfold. They are: (a) Knowing, (b) Reckoning, (c) Presenting ourselves to God, and (d) Walking in the Spirit, and they are set forth in that order. If we would live that life we shall have to take all four of these steps; not one nor two nor three, but all four. As we study each of them we shall trust the Lord by His Holy Spirit to illumine our understanding; and we shall seek His help now to take the first big step forward.
OUR DEATH WITH CHRIST- AN HISTORIC FACT Romans 6.1-11 is the passage before us now. In these verses it is made clear that the death of the Lord Jesus is representative and inclusive. In His death we all died. None of us can progress spiritually without seeing this. Just as we cannot have justification if we have not seen Him bearing our sins on the Cross, so we cannot have sanctification if we have not seen Him bearing us on the Cross. Not only have our sins been laid on Him but we ourselves have been put into Him.
How did you receive forgiveness? You realized that the Lord Jesus died as your Substitute and bore your sins upon Himself, and that His Blood was shed to cleanse away your defilement. When you saw your sins all taken away on the Cross what did you do? Did you say, 'Lord Jesus, please come and die for my sins'? No, you did not pray at all; you only thanked the Lord. You did not beseech Him to come and die for you, for you realized that He had already done it.
But what is true of your forgiveness is also true of your deliverance. The work is done. There is no need to pray but only to praise. God has put us all in Christ, so that when Christ was crucified we were crucified also. Thus there is no need to pray: 'I am a very wicked person; Lord, please crucify me'. That is all wrong. You did not pray about your sins; why pray now about yourself? Your sins were dealt with by His Blood, and you were dealt with by His Cross. It is an accomplished fact. All that is left for you to do is to praise the Lord that when Christ died you died also; you died in Him. Praise Him for it and live in the light of it. "Then believed they his words: they sang his praise" (Psalm 106.12).
Do you believe in the death of Christ? Of course you do. Well, the same Scripture that says He died for us says also that we died with Him. Look at it again: "Christ died for us" (Romans 5.8). That is the first statement, and that is clear enough; but is this any less clear? "Our old man was crucified with him" (Romans 6.6). "We died with Christ" (Romans 6.8).