Already: Decisively and Irrevocably Free, Not Yet: Finally and Perfectly Free
What we have learned from Romans 6 and 7 is that when we trusted in Christ as our Savior and Lord (as our Treasure!), we were united to Christ (Romans 6:5; 7:4). In this union with Christ we died (Romans 6:8; Colossians 2:20; 3:3) and rose again (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12; Ephesians 2:6). Therefore a decisive and irrevocable new creation came into being (2 Corinthians 5:17), and a decisive and irrevocable liberation happened (Romans 6:14, 18). We passed from death to (eternal!) life. Our decisive judgment is behind us - at Golgotha (John 5:24). We have moved from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of God's Son (Colossians 1:13).
But we also learned that our liberation from sin is not yet final and perfect. Decisive and irrevocable, Yes! But final and perfect, No! Sin still dwells within us (Romans 7:17, 20). Evil is present in us (Romans 7:21). The "flesh" is a daily troubler of our souls (Romans 7:25). We are not yet perfect nor have we already obtained our crown and prize (Philippians 3:12). We are liars if we say we have no sin (1 John 1:8, 10).
How then does the apostle Paul teach us to live? Will he say: "You are decisively and irrevocably new, so you can coast through life with no fight to become new"? Or will he say: "You are not decisively and irrevocably new and must fight to get to that place in Christ"? No, neither of these. He will say: "By faith, embrace all that God is for your good in Christ and all you are for his glory in Christ. Believe that. And now, with that confidence, fight to take possession of the territory that Christ has conquered for you. Fight to become in practice what you are in Christ." Eight illustrations of this truth:
1. Statement of newness: Romans 6:14, "Sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace." Command to become new: Romans 6:12, "Do not let sin reign in your mortal body."
2. Statement of newness: Romans 6:18, "Having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness." Command to become new: Romans 6:19, "Present your members as slaves to righteousness."
3. Statement of newness: Romans 6:6, "Our old self was crucified with Him." Command to become new: Romans 6:11, "Consider yourselves to be dead to sin."
4. Statement of newness: Colossians 3:9, "You laid aside the old self with its evil practices." Command to become new: Ephesians 4:22, "Lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit."
5. Statement of newness: Colossians 3:10, "You have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him." Command to become new: Ephesians 4:24, "Put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth."
6. Statement of newness: Galatians 3:27, "All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." Command to become new: Romans 13:14, "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ."
7. Statement of newness: Galatians 5:24, "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." Command to become new: Romans 13:14b, "Make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts."
8. Command to become new: 1 Corinthians 5:7a, "Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump [of dough]." Statement of newness: 1 Corinthians 5:7b, ". . . just as you are in fact unleavened."
Fixed in newness and fighting to become new - with you,
© Desiring God Foundation. Distribution Guidelines
Share the Joy! You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in physical form, in its entirety or in unaltered excerpts, as long as you do not charge a fee. For posting online, please use only unaltered excerpts (not the content in its entirety) and provide a hyperlink to this page. For videos, please embed from the original source. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org