Romans Lesson 70 - Know...Consider...Present
When you hear the word 'theology,' do you think of a stodgy old professor sitting at a candlelit desk with a dusty manuscript in his hand?! Theology just sounds, well...boring. But in this message, Stephen shows us why the study of God can and should be the most exciting study in the universe.
Know . . . Consider . . . Present
A seminary student was visiting our church last Sunday and he came up to me afterward and said, “This morning as you preached, I want you to know that you preached exactly the opposite from the way my professor is telling us to preach.”
I didn’t know what he meant of course, I thought perhaps he was talking about my weak outline, or forgetting to repeat my main thesis; I thought maybe he was going to tell me that I used to many illustrations, or not enough of them; or perhaps I used humor where he was being taught, as many are, that humor should never be brought into the pulpit.
So I asked him, “What is your professor teaching you to preach that I so obviously violated this morning?” He said, “My professor has been adamantly telling us all semester that you should never use theological language in the pulpit. That people are not interested in theological language . . . it’s boring . . . you need to try and be more relevant and contemporary.” He then went on to say, “And I want to thank you for again proving this morning that people are, in fact, not only capable of understanding theological truth, but interested in learning more about things with theological terms, like justification and sanctification.”
I was relieved he was on my side! We talked a while and then I encouraged him that there might be some classes that he would need to remember to forget. . .and that class was one of them.
I can remember one of my professors, correctly challenging me with the truth that we, as people of God, cannot behave what we do not believe.
That acting biblically was the direct result of believing biblically.
He often said that the average Christian did not behave correctly because they do not think correctly.
I believe he was telling the truth simply because that happened to be the pattern of the early church where they were continually devoting themselves to the Apostles teaching (Acts 2:42).
It also happens to be the pattern of the Bible’s most prolific author, the Apostle Paul.
His letters usually begin by telling us what to believe, before telling us how to behave.
How to think . . . then, how to walk.
And the letter to the Romans has followed that pattern as well.
Paul has spent 5 ½ chapters telling us how to think . . . teaching us the rudiments of so many major doctrinal issues.
Thus far we have studied:
-the Sonship and deity of Jesus Christ;
-we spent time learning how the literal resurrection of Christ authenticated the gospel
-we discussed the special revelation of God through His inspired word – the canon of scripture
-we’ve studied the general revelation of God through creation and the human conscience
-we studied the nature and definition of the Gospel
-we’ve explored the total depravity and rebellion of mankind
-we spent time noting the consequences of man’s depravity in all sorts of sexual perversions and aberrations
-we discussed the lost condition of mankind and their inexusability before God, whom they consciously and unconsciously denied
-then we studied the downard digression of society at large when God is abandoned and His word ignored
(that was all in chapter 1)
In chapter one alone we studied the doctrine of:
General and Special revelation
The deity of Christ
The literal resurrection of Christ
The unspoken attributes of God through creation
The depravity and digression of man
And the coming judgment
At first, I thought I’d review all the doctrines we’ve touched on or studied at length up to this point, but I soon realized that would take all my time.
The truth is, you cannot grow as a believer without studying the word of God; and you cannot study the word of God without studying theology. For theology is the study of God – and the Bible is the revelation of God.
As you can tell, I’m still upset about the fact that a seminary professor somewhere, which will remain nameless, is teaching his students not to speak the very things their audiences are in need of hearing.
What wonderful truth uncovered last Lord’s day as we arrived at that magnificent doctrine of the believer’s position in Christ Jesus at His death, burial and resurrection.
Incarcerated in the prison built by our father, Adam. Yet, by faith in Christ, the Second Adam, we were delivered from the kingdom of sin.
In Adam – condemned.
In Christ – freed to walk in newness of life.
Does the Apostle Paul want us to learn anything?
Yes! In fact, there are three words that I believe form the outline of Paul’s instruction over the next few verses.
The word “Know” (k n o w); the word “Consider”; and the word “Present.”
Notice in verse 6 where we left off last Sunday, 6. knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7. for he who has died is freed from sin.
Again, it goes back to the original question that launched this chapter of study – “Can we live in sin, now that we’ve come to Christ?”
Paul has already answered, “How can you live in sin when you’ve been immersed into the Body of Christ by the Spirit of God and clothed with Christ and then have been publicly identified with Christ through the living illustration of water immersion?”
Paul says, in effect, “if you didn’t get it the first time, let me repeat myself using slightly different language.”
True believer’s will sin, but they don’t live in sin without guilt and misery and discipline.
The most miserable people on planet earth are a sinning Christians. They can’t truly enjoy their sin because they knows what it cost Christ; they knows how it grieves the Spirit.
Whenever they do sin, guilt outweighs temporary gain.
Whenever they rebel, discipline outlasts temporary delight.
Guilt outweighs temporary gain.
Discipline outlasts temporary delight.
But what about the person who says they are a believer, but they live in sin and are perfectly comfortable and at home in violating the word of God . . . here’s what I believe is happening:
Un-repentance is unmasking their temporary profession.
John answered this way, in 1 John 2:19; “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they were not of us.”
Unrepentance unmasks unbelief.
You ought to circle the two times Paul uses the word, to know, in this paragraph. He already used it in verse 3; Do you no know…” Again in verse 6, “knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him,” and again in verse 9, “knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again.”
He says, “I want you to know certain things!”
Thinking correctly will bring about living correctly.
Now what does Paul want us to know when he writes in verse 6, “our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away.”
Some believe this refers to our “old nature;” our sin nature. I believe it simply refers to what Paul has already been talking about; we were in Christ at the cross. If anything, this “old self” could refer to our old way of living.
Alva J. McClain writes, “The “old man”: means the old self; what we were in Adam. That “old man” was crucified with Christ at the cross, and the task if finished in the mind of God. [People talk about] crucifying the old man.” Paul says the old man has been crucified [past tense] . . . Christ has already won the victory.”
Alva J. McClain, Romans; The Gospel of God’s Grace (BMH Books, Winona Lake, IN), 1973, p. 144
If Paul is thinking about the “old nature, or the “sin nature,” which is certainly not eradicated at salvation, as Paul will illustrate in chapter 7, he is probably referring to the “sin nature” further along in verse 6 where he writes, “our body of sin might be done away.”
Again, some would say, “There, a Christian lives a perfect life – if he is truly born again he will never sin. . .Paul says so – “the body of sin is done away . . . your translation might read, “destroyed.”
Sounds eradicated to me!
The Greek verb translated “destroyed” or “done away” is from katargeo. It literally means, to be rendered powerless – to be unnecessary – you could translate it, “put out of business.”
It’s the same word used by Paul in I Corinthians 13:8 where Paul says that the gift of prophecy will be “katargeo” – put out of business . . . rendered unnecessary . . . made inoperative.
Now Paul doesn’t mean that all prophecy is going to be eradicated or destroyed; but simply that the specific gift of prophecy will be rendered useless once the word of God is complete.
In other words, we don’t need to hear from some prophet today – for we have the completed revelation from God in our hands.
Likewise, as Paul uses the same verb here in Romans 6:6, Paul is not saying that our sin nature is destroyed . . . in fact, sin, for the believer becomes a greater struggle after salvation than before salvation.
Paul says, our body of sin has been made inoperative (katargeo). Then, you ask, how come I still have trouble with it?
Let me illustrate with an event I use to illustrate the meaning of katargeo in our GreenHouse class.
Sometime when my wife and I first moved here to the area, we were shopping on Glenwood Avenue up beyond the mall – you know where the road goes up a very long and steep hill. Several times my wife had said, “Honey, we need to stop and get some gas.” I said, “No, we’re fine . . . we aren’t going to run out of gas.” So we shopped here and there, got something to eat and headed back home. She said again, “Honey, we’re gonna get stranded if you don’t stop and get gas.” Why do our wives do this to us? Don’t they know we’re trying out best to be stubborn and hardheaded. . .well, we were coming back and just as we crested that hill and began our descent toward the mall area, guess what happened? We ran out of gas! My wife said, “Uh huh!” I instinctively put the car in neutral and didn’t say a word. We began coast down that long hill – we actually picked up some speed. We neared that stoplight that stays red for 5 minutes, and just before we got to it, it turned green; we went through it, the old Sears building used to be the corner store of the mall; and they used to have a gas station in what is now the parking lot; it turned into the parking lot and coasted right up to a gas tank! God is so good. He rescues the foolish man from calamity.
Now my car had experienced “katargeo.” It was chugging right along but was suddenly rendered inoperative . . . now suppose that car represented your sinful nature – it still exists. And you’re still in it. But what’s the last thing you want to do – make it operate again! Put some gas in it. No! Leave it on empty – don’t feed it something that might spark something into action. Leave it alone!
Paul will talk about that point later on.
The first key word is “know.”
You need to know that you died in Christ. Your old nature was stripped of it’s power – you don’t have to sin.
But be prepared to battle sin and sinful desires.
D. L. Moody, the evangelist who founded of Moody Bible Institute and what is now known as Moody Church and Moody Press once wrote in the late 1800’s, “When I was converted, I made the misstate of thinking the battle was over; that my old corrupt nature, the old life, was gone. But I found out, after serving Christ for a few months, that conversion was more like enlisting in the army – and that a battle was on hand.”
Citation: D. L. Moody, Leadership Magazine, Vol. 3, no. 3.
What’s out hope? In what we know! Look down at verse 9 – knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10. For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all – (that is, He died to the penalty of sin, once for all time).
Now here’s the second key word; CONSIDER
11. Even so, consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
This reminds us of the truth back in verse 7. He who has died to sin is freed from sin.
Paul summarizes in verse 11, “Consider yourselves to be dead to sin.”
That means at least two things:
First, it means you are freed from the control of sin.
The last part of verse 6 illustrates, “you are no longer a slave to sin.”
A freed slave can stand directly in the presence of his former master, look the master in the eye, and ignore every command.
That former slave no longer has to obey that master, because that master is been put out of business.
So you are not out of the reach of sin and you are still facing the reality of sin, but you are no longer under the reign of sin.
David Jeremiah, Romans, Volume Two (Walk Through The Bible Publishers, 1999); p. 73.
So Paul is saying in verse 11, “Think! Consider! Your translation might read, “Reckon!” That’s a great word; it indicates Paul was a southerner.
“Reckon yourself to be dead to sin.”
By the way, verse 11 represents a turning point in this letter.
James Boice made the interesting observation that this is the very first time Paul has asked his readers to do anything. This verse is an exhortation, and it is the first one in the letter!
James M. Boice, Romans: Volume Two (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI), 1991, p. 673
In other words, throughout 5 and ½ chapters, Paul has been teaching theological truth; now Paul commands the reader to do something for the first time in this letter and guess what he commands us to do . . . he commands us to think theologically!
Consider this! Think about this!
The Greek word is logizomai – from which we get our words, logic and logical; we refer to a ship’s or airplane’s log to check on its progress.
David Jeremiah writes in his commentary on Romans, “This has nothing to do with wishful thinking, nor is it an activity that makes something come to pass. It is an acknowledgment of and an acting upon something that is already true.
David Jeremiah, Quoting James M. Boice in Romans, Volume Two (Walk Through The Bible Publishers, 1999); p. 74.
Paul comes to this critical point in his letter and says, in effect, “Okay, you know enough about this theological truth – you are dead and your life is in Christ, your redeemer . . . now think like it as life unfolds.”
This has nothing to do with how you might feel – this has to do with the truth – consider it, reckon it true . . . think Biblically!
How does this work?
You’re tempted to say, “I feel unacceptable to God.” Consider the truth of Romans 15:7 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.
You say, I feel inadequate: consider the truth of 2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.
You feel alone. Consider the truth:
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39. nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38)
Think theologically – For God Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” (Hebrews 13:5)
You feel unloved; consider/reckon to be true the word of God which says, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2. and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. (Eph. 5:1,2)
Romans 8:32. He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33. Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34. who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35. Who will separate us from the love of Christ?
You think you are hopeless – well, think Biblically – for
God’s word says in Psalms 16:8. I have set the Lord
continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not
be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will dwell securely. 10. For You will not
abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy
One to undergo decay. 11. You will make known to me
the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In
Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
You say, I feel afraid of Satan; reckon the truth of God’s word to be true - You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. (I John 4:4)
Colossians 1:13. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14. in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
You feel that you have no strength; Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21. to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
You feel that there is nothing special about you: Think Biblically and consider what God says, 3. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4. just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. 5. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6. to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. (Ephesians 1:3ff)
By the way, considering or reckoning is not acting as if it is true; it is acting because it is true!
Ralph Laurin, Romans: Where Life Begins (Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids MI) 1988, p. 203
Listen, when Paul tells us to consider something as true, he isn’t asking us to play some sort of word game – some exercise in positive thinking. No, this is a matter of conforming our minds and renewing our minds to the truth of God’s perspective!
Paul says, “You know the truth, now think it – let it rewrite the tapes in your mind that were fashioned by the enemy while you were in bondage”
The secret to a holy life is not how you feel, but what you believe!
11. Believe/consider/reckon yourself to be dead to [the tyranny of] sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
There’s a third word I want to address:
- The first word related to theological information.
- The second word had to do with theological calculation.
- This last word has to do with theological application – present.
12. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13. and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of
righteousness to God.
The key word in this text is the word “present.” Your translation might read, “yield.”
When you’re driving along and you come to an intersection or a fork in the road and you have a yield sign, it means you are to yield to the other driver because that driver has the right of way.
When you yield your body to God it is because you realize He has the right of way. He has the right to your body, your life, your heart!
The Greek word translated “present” or “yield” is the word paristemi. The Lord used it when He said that, if needed, the Father could put at His disposal (paristemi) 12 legions of angels.” (Matthew 26:53)
In other words, we are to put our bodies and our lives at the disposal, not to sin, but to God.
You know what our problem is? We get as close as we can to the transaction of sin, and then hope that God will bail us out!
A few months ago I was in Clarke Summit Pennsylvania at the campus of Baptist Bible College. I was told that a brand new Krispy Crème shop had been built a mile or two away. It was actually a fully operational miniature doughnut factory where you could actually watch the doughnuts being made. I felt compelled to go and see for myself. I drove up the next morning, stepped inside and stood in front of a wall of glass and watched with amazement. At first, little balls of dough are dropped onto trays and flattened . . . they are shot through with a piercing blast of air to create the doughnut hole. Then they spend time in the “proof box” where they ride a series of vertical elevators up and down in an atmosphere of heat and humidity which allows the flat dough to rise. Then they are dropped into hot oil as they continue their journey – you have to walk along to follow it – they are cooked throughout, then as they glide on rollers to their final destination, the piping hot doughnuts glide underneath a cascading waterfall, getting drenched with a sweet coating of icing.
Oh man. It wasn’t a sin to stand there and watch . . . was it? It was stupidity . . . which led to temporary insanity . . . I can’t remember how many I ate.
Most of our problem with sin is like that. We drive in, get out and go into the doughnut shop, press our noses against the glass and watch . . . then we follow it for a while, then step up to the counter with our wallets out and our mouths watering and then we say, “Lord, I’m counting on you to keep me from buying anything.”
I think the Lord says, “You’re on your own.”
The truth is, we should have never driven into the parking lot in the first place.
The presentation of our body to God begins before we ever step up to that glass window . . . the principle of sanctification involves the principle of cooperation between us and Christ.
We need to stop here for now and spend our entire next session on this text and this principle.
In the meantime, we are to Know . . . we are to Consider . . . and we are to Present.
Three words, that move us from belief to behavior.
Lord transform my mind so that I think Biblically.
Lord take control of my body so that I behave Biblically.
Stand and sing . . . Lord please make me a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true; with thanksgiving, I’ll be a living, sanctuary for You. . . again.
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