Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again begins with the Greek word for knowing, which is “oida.” This Greek word means doctrine that is learned in the past but it emphasizes it as a present reality. And the Greek tense assumes that the readers are thoroughly cognizant of what has been taught in verses 1-8. Paul continued with the doctrine started in verse 8 of union with Christ from the standpoint of the Resurrection. We know that we have been buried with Him into His death by means of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Now Paul shows his readers that we are also raised with Him to a new life.
Christ was resurrected from the source of two things which held Him. One held Him for three hours — spiritual death; one held Him for three days — physical death in which His body was in the grave, His spirit was in the presence of the Father, the soul was in Paradise. Christ is never subject to death, He cannot die either spiritually or physically again. The resurrection body is a guarantee against death.
Death no longer is master over Him refers especially to physical death since, until the Cross, Christ was never subject to spiritual death, and then voluntarily. He received the imputation of our personal sins from our sin natures and therefore the emphasis at this point is on the fact that physical death has no claim over Him, the sin nature never had one. Physical death is the result of spiritual death or the possession of a sin nature, along with the imputation of Adam’s sin. Spiritual death equals the imputation of Adam’s sin to Adam’s trend – the sin nature. If physical death no longer has any control over the resurrection body of Christ, neither does the sin nature have any more sovereignty in the life of the believer who is identified with Christ in His resurrection. Physical death no longer has any control over the resurrection body; neither does the sin nature have any more sovereignty in the life of the believer who is identified with the resurrected Christ, positionally speaking. So, positionally, not only has the power of the sin nature been broken through retroactive positional truth, but the power of physical death has as well (all believers will receive a resurrection body).
The Greek verb for master is “kurieuo,” which means to be lord, to be in control or to have dominion over. It has the connotation of rulership but it isn’t as strong a word as the Greek word “basileuo,” which is used for the ruling power of the sin nature. “Basileuo” is used for a king ruling, absolute authority ruling; “kurieuo” is used for a husband ruling his wife, but the husband himself is subject to a higher authority. The sin nature is the absolute authority over human life from the point of physical birth because of the imputation of Adam’s original sin to the genetically-formed sin nature. So from the very start in life we have an absolute ruler — the sin nature.
Instead of being ruled by the sin nature located in the cells of the human body and influencing our souls toward sin, human good and evil, we now have a new sovereign: the Lord Jesus Christ. We are identified with Him in His deaths, in His burial, resurrection, ascension and session.
Before salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit our lives were under the absolute rule of Satan who is the ruler of this world system. We were under the rule of the sin nature which was the ruler of life, and under the limited rule of physical death. We were in slavery to every category of evil that could exist, and as such our lives could never have any great happiness or richness of blessing. All of that, of course, has been changed.
Remember that the baptism of the Holy Spirit which occurs at salvation is not an experience, but is the ministry of God the Holy Spirit entering us into union with Christ so that we are intimately united with Him in His spiritual death, physical death, burial, resurrection, ascension and session. The baptism of the Spirit has two directions: identification with Christ in His deaths and burial, and identification with Christ in His resurrection, ascension and session.
For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all begins with the Greek verb “apothnesko,” which is referring to the spiritual death of Christ when all personal sins were judicially imputed to Him and judged on the Cross. Then we have the Greek word for sin “hamartia,” meaning “with reference to the sin nature.” Then Paul used the Greek word “ephapax,” for the phrase “once for all.” The payment for sin was a one time act that will never be repeated. The sin of the entire human race was paid for – past, present and future. No one can add to the payment that Christ made on our behalf.
But that He lives, He lives to God is better translated, “he lives with reference to the God.” Due to the resurrection, ascension and session of Christ He is alive with reference to God the Father in the realm of His humanity. The deity of the Lord Jesus Christ is not an issue. He has always co-existed and been co-eternal with God the Father. There never was a time when God the Father and God the Son did not live together, always, forever, and eternally. Current positional truth demands that the believer live with reference to (the one and only true) God and walk in newness of life because we are in union with Jesus Christ.
Union with Christ demands a new way of life for the believer in time, a way of life related to grace and doctrine. Positional truth demands a new way of life compatible with the relationship between the resurrected humanity of Christ and God the Father. Current positional truth establishes the principle that the Christian way of life is the supernatural way of life with a supernatural means of execution.
Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus refers to the fact that now doctrine and its implication had been learned it was time for application. Bible doctrine demands application. The Greek verb is “logizomai,” which means to calculate, to take into account, to evaluate, to estimate, to think, to consider, to ponder, to have in mind or to be of the opinion. It is a verb of application. The imperative mood is an entreaty rather than a command, and an entreaty which does not convey the finality of a command but has the force of urgency. It is always an urgent principle that we must begin to think in terms of doctrine and when we have a conflict in our soul between how we feel and what the Word of God says we must always go with what the Word of God says, rather than how we feel. Emotion must never destroy our ability to reason and to think. Doctrine means reason, thought, following a system of thought for spiritual growth, as well as for application.
The conclusion called for in this verse demands complete understanding of certain related doctrines, such as the baptism of the Spirit, retroactive and current positional truth. In this verse retroactive positional truth is in focus. Retroactive positional truth means identification with Christ in His spiritual death, His physical death, burial and in His resurrection. This opens the way for the experiential victory over the sin nature whose power has been nullified. Remember, you cannot apply what you do not understand.
The moment we believe in Jesus Christ, positionally we are divorced from the sin nature and positionally we are in union with Christ. Retroactive positional truth divorces us from the sin nature, positionally. Current positional truth enters us into union with Christ. The sin nature is still around, still seeking to regain its control over the believer. But union with the Lord Jesus Christ has broken the sin nature’s control over the believer.
Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body does not talk about the exclusion of the sin nature from the mortal body, but its rulership must be cancelled. Until the day that we die or we are raptured with Christ, the sin nature will continue to live in every cell of the human body. The positional victory over the sin nature through the retroactive positional truth of Christ’s death and resurrection sets up the experiential victory over the sin nature and the potential of Jesus Christ experientially becoming the ruler of your life. The Lord Jesus Christ is not necessarily experientially your sovereign. There is a vast difference between positional victory over the sin nature and experiential victory. The experiential factor deals with the filling of the Holy Spirit and your occupation with the Person of Christ. This comes only through maximum doctrine resident in the soul.
Positionally, the power of the sin nature is broken; experientially whether this becomes a reality depends upon the believer’s attitude toward doctrine. Paul is obviously speaking to believers who, in ignorance of Bible doctrine, are totally disoriented to God’s plan and have permitted the sin nature to rule in their lives. The command to “stop permitting” indicates that we have some control over the matter, that our volition is very definitely involved. The sin nature is located in the cell structure of the body. Therefore, we have control over who is allowed to influence and control our soul.
That you should obey its lusts recognizes that the sin nature dominates the lust pattern in its trends toward sin, human good, and evil. The trends are the means by which the sin nature functions as the sovereign of human life. Notice that this verse is a negative command. This is something that has to be shut down, turned off. This negative command of prohibition indicates that the believer has an option after salvation regarding the rulership of the sin nature.
As a result of the baptism of the Spirit at salvation and resultant retroactive positional truth, the sovereignty and the authority of the sin nature as the ruler of life has been broken positionally. This is true for every believer regardless of his/her spiritual status. The fact of the nullification of the sin nature’s power means that experientially there can be and should be spiritual growth. The option, then, is the issue. How and where do we exercise our options? The option lies on the experiential side of Christianity. The option is related to experiential Christianity, not positional Christianity. Positional Christianity gives us the opportunity to exercise our options, but the option is exercised in the field of Christian experience. This option is exercised in at least two ways. One of them has to do with an instantaneous recovery from sin nature control of the soul using the Rebound Technique to restore both fellowship with God and the filling of the Holy Spirit. The second option is to learn, believe and apply accurate Bible doctrine.
We should never forget the fact that logistical grace has provided everything necessary for obedience to this command to stop permitting the sin nature to have control in our lives and to stop obeying its lust pattern. The execution of divine commands would be impossible without the support of logistical grace. Therefore, we have to conclude that logistical grace makes it possible for experiential victory over the sin nature. This is one of the many reasons the believer needs to be grace oriented.