Jesus’ resurrection matters for our choices

1. What do you think Jesus’ resurrection has to do with the choices you make in everyday life: what you choose to think about, what you choose to say, and what you choose to do?

Imagine you’re a softball or baseball player who is struggling to hit: you tend to strike out or hit weak grounders, and you can’t seem to get your average above .200.  Then your eye doctor prescribes a new pair of contact lenses.  When you put these in, you realize you’re now able to see the ball way better.  This has the potential to completely transform you as a hitter.  In fact, in practice you’re now spraying line drives all over the field.  But when the next game comes, you decide, “I’m not going to wear these new contact lenses.  Since I’ve always played games without them, I’ll just keep doing what I’m used to doing.”

We’d all probably say, “I wouldn’t make a choice like that!  Why would I choose something that undermines the opportunity for me to be transformed as a hitter?”  Yet we may be making these types of choices in what matters far more: how we live each day, undermining the opportunity to experience the fruit of a transformed life.  But because of the resurrection of Jesus, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Read Romans 6:1-14

Romans 6 reminds us of this incredible truth that is symbolized in baptism: when we place our faith in Jesus Christ, we’re united with him in what his death on the cross accomplished.  The penalty for our sin has been paid in full, and we’ve been set free from enslavement to sin.  We’re also united with Christ in what his resurrection accomplished: we’re given new and eternal life.  We share in the resurrection life of Jesus!

2. What does Romans 6:1-14 teach about how being united or joined with Christ in his death and resurrection impacts the way we live day by day?

Here’s the implication: we now live out this new life, reflecting the life of Jesus in and through us.  This gets played out in our daily choices.  As Romans 6 puts it, why would we keep making the same sin choices we used to make?  That’s no longer who we are.  We died to sin, meaning not only that we no longer face the eternal penalty for our sin (Jesus took that penalty for us on the cross), but also that we no longer have to be subject to sin’s dominating power in our life (Jesus conquered the power of sin through his resurrection).

Because we’re united by faith to the resurrected Christ, by his power and grace we can choose to follow Jesus and his ways day by day.  How does this happen?  It starts with how we choose to think – getting our mind right: “So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus” (v. 11).

Jesus’ resurrection transforms our thinking: our understanding of our identity, our vision of “the good life,” our ability to see the destructiveness of our former sin choices and the beauty of life in Jesus.

Jesus’ resurrection also changes how we choose to speak and act: “Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires.  Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin.  Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life.  So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God” (vv. 12-13).

We’re still tempted to sin, but we no longer have to choose sin.  Because we share in Jesus’ resurrection life, we have the power to choose to do what is right for the glory of God.  We can daily choose words and actions that honor Jesus in every arena: our sport, our relationships, our interactions with those with whom we disagree, our pursuit of entertainment, etc.  And as we no longer choose our former sinful ways and instead choose what aligns with our new life in Jesus, we’ll find that Jesus delivers on his promise to give us life to the full (John 10:10)!

3. Ask God’s Spirit to help you reflect honestly on the choices you’ve been making.  In what ways have you continued to choose sin?  Confess these to the Lord, receiving his forgiveness and grace.  In what specific areas do you sense God’s Spirit prompting you to choose to live for Christ more consistently?  Commit this to the Lord, trusting his power and grace to enable you.

Romans 6:4 –
For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism.  And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.