Newness of Life: Romans 6:4-9
“4) Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5) For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 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. 8) Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9) knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.” Romans‬ ‭6‬:‭4‬-‭9‬
The gospel is about the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Paul makes the bold statement that our old self was crucified with Christ. Likewise also, he taught that we have been joined into the likeness of His resurrection.
Slow down and read this paragraph very carefully; by faith, we can enter into the likeness of His resurrection. This is called “resurrection life”, “newness of life”, or “Zoe life.” Entering into this life is “putting on the new self.” (Ephesians 4:24) It can and should happen to every born-again believer.
By this point, you may be getting tired of hearing about this new life. Life in the spirit/Spirit is actually the theme of Romans 6-8. The more time you spend reading these chapters the more you come to the realization that the Bible teaches that we can live and walk in the spirit/Spirit. Walking in this life was the standard for the early church.
I’m not sure where the deception crept into the western church, but today the concept of living and walking in the spirit/Spirit is almost wishful thinking. It is elusive. It is a goal we believe can happen for a little while until we slip back into the flesh or soul being in control, but we certainly do not believe we can attain sustained living on that level.
Living defeated lives in the flesh has become the new normal for modern western Christianity. We are taught to accept our frail plight in life until one day we die and go to heaven and finally overcome our flesh. Therefore, we excuse and accept the sin nature being in control of our lives. Western Christianity is turning out carnal Christians by the millions.
This concept would have been viewed as odd, deceptive and dysfunctional to the early church. They had no room in their theology for carnality being in control of Christian living. It was a foreign concept to them. They understood the old self was crucified with Christ and they could therefore enter into new life based on the resurrection and the indwelling Holy Spirit.
The result was that they lived victorious lives, walked and lived in the spirit/Spirit and enjoyed all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ. By faith they lived and walked in newness of life and enjoyed all the benefits that comes with Zoe life. (The benefits are many and unfathomable to western Christians.)
Here is the raw truth, every blessing of the Christian life is based on truth and embraced by faith. You can never experience what you do not believe. Or as Jesus often said; “it will be done to you as you have believed.” If you believe your old life will govern until you die and go to heaven, then you are destined to live at that level.
So why am I laboring the this theme about Zoe Life so long and hard? Because this biblical truth is not being taught in the western church today. It is a foreign concept! It is totally ignored! But “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) Most western Christians are blind to the concept of walking and living in the spirit/Spirit. They are ignorant about the volume of New Testament teaching about “new life in Christ” or “Zoe life.”
When you start hearing this theme long enough, soon your eyes will be opened and you will see it throughout the whole New Testament. It will feed and build your faith. Shortly the concept will move from “being impossible” to “being normal” in your thinking. When that happens, your Christian experience will radically change. Your understanding of the Christian life will be transformed. Zoe life will become your new normal.
But I need to warn you, living on the level of resurrection life ushers you into a realm of Christian living not experienced by most of the western church. Talking about signs and wonders, healings, miracles, gifts of the Holy Spirit for today, living out the fruit of the Spirit, God speaking to you through His Spirit and walking in the spirit/Spirit will brand you as being odd, fanatical and even heretical. Christians will be intrigued by you, but will most likely keep a distance from you.
So how did Paul deal with this dilemma? He gave milk to the carnal and immature, but meat to the mature and spiritually minded. (See 1 Corinthians 3:1-3) He nurtured them along one step at a time. I personally believe that 1 Corinthians is the milk book and 2 Corinthians is the meat book.
So let me ask and answer a question that perplexes the western church; “Why do we hear about God doing miraculous things in the body of Christ in other countries around the world but not in the Western Church?” Simple answer: “We are living on the level of the flesh and soul being in control, but they have stepped into Zoe life! Naturalism is our world view, but supernaturalism is their world view. We live by human reason, but they live by faith and the power of the Holy Spirit. We explain away the miracles in the Bible or teach they don’t happen today, but they believe Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. We do not believe the Bible or take it literally, but they do!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global