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Spiritual Reverse Engineering

“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”  – Romans 6:14 (NKJV)

Years before a product comes off patent, generic companies are taking that product apart to see what it is made of and how it works. This process is referred to as reverse engineering.

Romans 6:14 is the finished product of Paul’s instruction of Romans 6:1-13. Paul’s summary statement is that sin does not have control over the believer. But this freedom is not a result of keeping the law and religion, but rather an outworking of God’s grace! To understand this freedom let’s do some spiritual reverse engineering.

In Romans 6:1, Paul raises the objection to the gospel of grace, “If God’s grace is greater than sin should we keep on sinning to get more grace?” Paul’s immediate response is “May it never be,” followed by his theological answer, “how shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” Paul’s response is explained with three facts that we must know.

Fact #1: Verses 3-5 – Every believer should know that they have been baptized into Jesus’ death. This is not water baptism. Rather, these verses remind the believer that he or she, at the time of belief, was put into a real spiritual union with Jesus. Living free of sin and law begins when you believe that you are in union with Jesus.

Fact #2: Verses 6-7 give us a second critical fact. Our old man was crucified with Jesus. Because you are in this real and present spiritual union with Jesus (Romans 6:3-5), his death became your death. All that you were before in Adam –guilty, condemned, and alienated from God– was put to death and judged when Jesus died on the cross. That old you – the unregenerate you – died with Christ!

Fact #3: Verses 8-10 – Jesus arose from the dead. He is alive! As a result of your union with Jesus (Romans 5:5), you have risen to new life. This very moment, God views you as a resurrected person!

These three facts are the objective basis of Paul’s conclusion in Romans 6:14. By grace we are united with Jesus in His death and resurrection. The old you is gone, and you are now free.

Let’s pause right now and meditate on the three facts of Romans 6:1-10. Thank the Lord that you are no longer a prisoner neither to sin nor the law, for you are under grace!

Jeff Barbieri

About the Author

Jeff Barbieri recently joined Lifetime as a conference/retreat speaker and Bible teacher. Jeff has been in pastoral ministry for 30 years and is a gifted expository preacher and dynamic conference presenter. In 1992 Jeff was exposed to the message of Christ as life, the truth of the believer’s identity and his identification with Jesus. As a result, Jeff’s life and ministry focus was radically transformed! His passion is to see believers, pastors and churches encouraged and energized as they come to a personal and experiential understanding of Jesus Christ as their functional source for life and ministry. Jeff possesses his Master of Divinity (M.Div.) from Northwest Baptist Seminary. He and his wife of 25 years, Lorie, reside in Howell, New Jersey with their two sons, Mike and Tim, and their Boxer, Bella.