Rom 6:5-7 “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.”
The phrase “planted together” indicates that we are closely united; closely untied to Jesus and to each other. If we are closely united in the likeness of His death, then we are also closely untied in the likeness of His resurrection. This is known as a conditional statement, but the use of the word conditional does not mean that the issue is in question. It simply means that if the first part is true (closely united in His death) then the last part must be true (closely united in His resurrection).
It is interesting to note that Paul did not say we are planted in His death, but in the likeness of His death. Similarly, we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection. Why are we only in the likeness of His death and resurrection? We know that the likeness of a thing is not the same as the thing itself.
In Jesus’ death, He took upon Himself all the sins of all His people from the beginning of time to the end of time. When He died, He destroyed those sins for all eternity and delivered us from them. We only die in the likeness of His death in that these bodies cease to function and the spirit goes back to God. We do not have the strength to redeem ourselves from even one of our own sins, much less all the sins of a multitude as innumerable as the stars of the heavens or the sands of the sea.
On the morning of Jesus’ resurrection, He tells us He took up His life. He is the only man that could ever truthfully say that He had the power to lay down His life and He (being verily man and verily God) had the power to take it up again. Not one of us will ever have the power within ourselves to take up our life after we die. Our resurrection is in the likeness of His in that we will rise from the dead, but that will happen by His power and not our own.
Paul has already established that we are dead with Christ and buried with Him in baptism (Romans 6:3-4). Therefore, being in the likeness of His resurrection is assured. What we often refer to as the final resurrection is still somewhere in the future. However, we are partakers in the power of His resurrection here in His kingdom today.
When God reveals His Son in us, there is a sweet knowledge that comes with that. We know that our old Adam nature was crucified with Christ. We know that the body of sin was destroyed in Him even though we still have to contend with that nature until our own physical death. However, from the moment it is revealed to us that our old man is crucified with Him, we are no longer in bondage to sin.
We know that as long as we live in this world we will have to battle the effects of sin. However, the fact that we desire to battle the effects of sin instead of simply giving in to them is evidence that we are freed from sin. We are still sinners, but we do not love that sin any more. This is not in our strength, but His!
May we rejoice in the Lord every day that even though sin still affects our lives here, we know that in Christ we are already freed from its grasp; it cannot follow us into our eternal life!