It was around 4am, I am dressed in the darkest clothes I own, and I’m following behind my friend to our target. We have replaced the spray cap from the can of shaving cream with a cap from a can of bug spray in order to stay quiet and keep the mist light so that it gently settles onto the face of our fellow camp counsellor without him waking up. We leave the cabin as quietly as we enter, hardly able to contain ourselves from laughing at the snow angel look-a-like we leave behind us. Man, that’s an awesome memory I like to play over and over again. It’s awesome because I’m still friends with that guy (not the snow angel, my fellow miscreant). He’s about a foot taller than me, we don’t look alike at all, but we sure value the same kind of fun! Our shared values have kept us friends through our teens into our forties.
Shared values are important for all of our longterm friendships. Shared values are particularly important for our friendship with Jesus.
In Romans 6:1-7 Paul reveals Why Alignment With Jesus’ Values Is Essential
I’ll highlight three of the reasons for it…
1. Because complacent friendships have a short lifespan
6:1, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” NIV
Do you see what I’m seeing in 6:1? In this passage it looks to me like Paul is addressing complacency. It sounds like he’s frustrated and confused by his original readers who have clearly received an incredible gift of forgiveness and life, but they’re treating it as though it’s a re-gifted toy from a Dollar Store.
Paul is arguing that Believers need to (and are now able to) live a new kind of life. Believers have been brought into a friendship with Jesus, and now their lifestyle and mindset needs to reflect that friendship.
I suppose a sobering question to ask is, “Would I like Jesus to treat the friendship as complacently as I am?”
You have been given an awesome gift – a life of friendship with Jesus anticipating eternal bliss as opposed to a life separated from Jesus anticipating eternal separation. Complacency doesn’t keep a friendship.
2. Because conditional friendships have a long lifespan
6:2, “By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” NIV
Do you see what I see in 6:2? In this verse I’m seeing the seeds of an abusive relationship. All healthy relationships have conditions. An unconditional relationship is an abusive relationship.
The argument that continued sin highlights the magnificence of grace is absurd. It’s as absurd as thinking that slapping your friend in the face each day just highlights the greatness of their loyalty. Isn’t the general condition within a friendship simply to be nice to each other?!
A continued life of sin (intentionally and consistently choosing to say “no” to Jesus) is an indication of a person who has not chosen a friendship with Jesus.
You have an awesome friend in Jesus – be nice to Him.
3. Because continued friendship with Jesus lasts forever
6:5, “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.” NIV
We know why Jesus died and rose again. John 3:16 tells us it’s because of love. You are so highly valued that Jesus died, rose again, and has a plan keep you with Him (enjoying infinite benefits) forever.
Paul highlights some good news in 6:5. When you became a Believer you were given a new destination. You are no longer trapped by sin, compelled to follow every whim that leads you away from God, and condemned to be judged by a moral Law that is impossible to keep. You now have the ability to grow a friendship with God because of your faith in Jesus. That friendship is so important to Jesus that He wants to keep it forever.
Why Alignment With Jesus’ Values Is Essential
I have heard, many times, that my lifestyle needs to look like Jesus’ lifestyle. Well, frankly, that is impossible. I don’t wear sandals or robes. I don’t live in desert-like conditions. I have a mortgage. I’m not a single guy without kids. And, honestly, I don’t want to have 12 guys move into my house to share space with my wife and kids. Now, that is absurd.
Your life can’t look like Jesus’ life did. But, that’s really not the point of Romans 6:1-7. The point is to adopt Jesus’ values (love God first, love others second – as much as you love yourself), and to bring yourself into alignment with Jesus. To contextualize the instruction to live the New Life, you need to be intentional about knowing and aligning yourself with Jesus’ values.
Join the Conversation
Did you receive some insight from today’s post? If so, please join the conversation by leaving a comment below. Please consider sharing what you heard, what it means to you, and what you’ll do about it.