“Can We Breathe Its Air Again?” ( Romans 6: 1-11, KNOX ) by Carley Evans


Paul the Apostle reminds us – quite strongly here – that we are no longer underneath a weight of guilt; we are free from its power to hold us back, to keep us downtrodden, to make us ashamed. Not only are we free from guilt and its power; we are free not to sin. For even as sin gives occasion for grace, God forbid – says Paul – that we would continue in it. For how “can we breathe its air again?” he asks.

I love this image – breathing the dead air of sin. With our fascination with zombies ( in the USA, at any rate ), we likely have a visceral reaction to imagining walking among dead people, breathing the air around them. Don’t we hope to be as far away from that corrupted flesh as possible? I would think so!

“Does it follow that we ought to go on sinning, to give still more occasion for grace? God forbid. We have died, once for all, to sin; can we breathe its air again? You know well enough that we who were taken up into Christ by baptism have been taken up, all of us, into his death.In our baptism, we have been buried with him, died like him, that so, just as Christ was raised up by his Father’s power from the dead, we too might live and move in a new kind of existence.We have to be closely fitted into the pattern of his resurrection, as we have been into the pattern of his death;[a]we have to be sure of this, that our former nature has been crucified with him, and the living power of our guilt annihilated, so that we are the slaves of guilt no longer.[b]Guilt makes no more claim on a man who is dead.[c]And if we have died with Christ, we have faith to believe that we shall share his life. We know that Christ, now he has risen from the dead, cannot die any more; death has no more power over him; 10 the death he died was a death, once for all, to sin; the life he now lives is a life that looks towards God.[d]11 And you, too, must think of yourselves as dead to sin, and alive with a life that looks towards God, through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

“Alive To God” (Romans 6: 21, HCSB) by Carley Evans


What fruit? asks Paul. What sort of fruit did you produce “when you were slaves of sin?” (Romans 6: 20) You produced the fruit of death is his answer. “For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6: 23) This fruit of sin and death is fruit of which you are now ashamed. And, “just as you offered the parts of yourselves as slaves to moral impurity, and to greater and greater lawlessness, so now offer them as slaves to righteousness, which results in sanctification.” (Romans 6: 19) After all, says Paul, “you have been liberated from sin and have become enslaved to God” so that now “your fruit…results in sanctification — and the end is eternal life.” (Romans 6: 22)

So what fruit are you producing? Jesus says a tree is known by its fruit — a bad tree is incapable of producing good fruit.

I may misunderstand fruit trees, but I believe a good tree is capable of producing fruit which goes bad — fruit on a good tree does occasionally rot and fall to the ground unfit for eating. But as a good tree grows stronger and more rooted in its soil, its fruit is more and more often good for eating.

As Paul exhorts, give your “allegiance to righteousness.” (Romans 6: 20) “Walk in a new way of life. For if we are joined with [Christ] in the likeness of His death, we are certainly also in the likeness of His resurrection.” (Romans 6: 4 – 5) Therefore “consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6: 11)

“Saved By His Life” (Titus 2: 11 – 12, ESV) by Carley Evans


God’s grace appears in Jesus, bringing salvation to all. His grace teaches us “to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.”

Jesus says, “Do you see this woman? I enter your house; you give Me no water for My feet, but she wets My feet with her tears and wipes them with her hair. You give Me no kiss, but from the time I come in she does not cease to kiss My feet. You do not anoint My head with oil, but she anoints My feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many are forgiven — for she loves much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7: 44 – 47)

He tells this woman, “Your faith saves you; go in peace.” (Luke 7: 50)

“Where sin increases, grace abounds all the more, so that, as sin reigns in death, grace also may reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means!” (Romans 5: 20, 21 – 6: 1)

Instead, through faith, we put off the “body of sin” which is “brought to nothing, so that we are no longer enslaved to sin.” (Romans 6: 6)

Jesus’ gift of grace leads us to live in this freedom from sin. “Since, therefore, we are now justified by His blood, how much more are we saved by Him from the wrath of God. For if while we are enemies we are reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, are we saved by His life.” (Romans 5: 9 – 10)

Saved by His life — to God be the glory.

“Heaven On Earth” (Luke 20: 38, ESV) by Carley Evans


Jesus tells us, “Now He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to Him.”

Paul writes, “Do you not know that all of us who are baptized into Christ Jesus are baptized into His death? We are buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ is raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too may walk in the newness of life. For if we are united with Him in a death like His, we are certainly united with Him in a resurrection like His.” (Romans 6: 3 – 5)

So, we live to God.

Jesus says, “I Am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live.” (John 11: 25)

He also declares many times, “The kingdom of Heaven has come near to you.” (Luke 10: 9, 11)

If Jesus is the resurrection and the life, then He is also the kingdom of Heaven. He walks among us, the full embodiment of Heaven on earth.

“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today, if your hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put Me to the test and saw My works for forty years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known My ways.’ As I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ” (Hebrews 3: 7 – 11)

Jesus is our High Priest, so we are able “to hold fast our confession” of faith. He is able to “sympathize with our weaknesses.” We are as such able to approach God “with confidence,” knowing that He Himself provides us with mercy and “grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4: 14 – 16, selected)

Jesus is our life. He is the kingdom of Heaven. We walk in this kingdom here on the earth with softened hearts, leaning on Him for mercy and grace and help in time of need. Let us lean on the Lord.