In this message we shall consider some of the basic points in Romans 5 through 8.
The last part of chapter five deals with the fact that we have been in Adam. It is a fact that we once were in Adam; no one can deny this. Every human being either is in Adam or was in him. Chapter six deals with the fact that we are now in Christ. Thus, we may entitle Romans 5, “In Adam,” and Romans 6, “In Christ.” Remember, these two things are facts, one past and the other present. We were in Adam, but now we are in Christ. How much better is this present fact!
Chapter seven deals with the experience in the flesh. This is not merely a fact, but an experience. Hence, over chapter seven we may write, “In the flesh.”
Chapter eight deals with our experience in the spirit. It is difficult to determine whether this is the Holy Spirit or our human spirit because it refers to the mingled spirit. Therefore, over chapter eight we may write, “In the spirit.”
In chapters five and six we have two facts, the facts of being in Adam and in Christ. In chapters seven and eight we have two kinds of experiences, the experience in the flesh and the experience in the spirit. The experience in the flesh is the experience of the fact of being in Adam. The fact of being in Adam revealed in chapter five is experienced in the flesh as described in chapter seven. If we had only chapter five without chapter seven, we would have the fact that we were so dead, but not the experience. Likewise, the experience in the spirit in chapter eight is the experience of the fact of being in Christ revealed in chapter six. In other words, the fact of being in Christ can be experienced only in the spirit.
In Adam there are three main things: sin, death, and being constituted sinners (5:19). In Adam, we inherited sin, were under the reign of death (5:12, 14), and were constituted sinners. Of course, we were also under God’s condemnation. Whether we were good or evil means nothing. Even if we were the best person, in Adam we were still sinners under God’s condemnation. In Adam we inherited sin, were under the reign of death, and were constituted sinners under God’s condemnation. These are facts. We all were condemned even before we were born. This was our case.
Praise the Lord that we have the second fact, the fact of being in Christ! As a result of being in Christ, we have grace with righteousness (5:17). In Adam we had sin; in Christ we have grace with righteousness. What we have is not righteousness alone or grace alone but grace with righteousness. Grace with righteousness is versus sin. In Adam, we inherited sin. In Christ we have received grace with the gift of righteousness. Grace and righteousness work together because grace works through righteousness. Furthermore, in Christ we have eternal life instead of death. We can even reign in this eternal life (5:17). Although death once reigned over us (5:14), now we can reign in life. Moreover, in Christ we are not under God’s condemnation; we are under His justification. In Christ we all have been justified.
Perhaps you are asking how you can be in Christ. We have no doubt about our being in Adam. But how can we be in Christ? It is by being baptized into Him (6:3), and by believing into Him (John 3:15). Being baptized into Christ includes believing into Him. Hence, we are in Christ by believing and by being baptized. When you believe in Christ, you actually believe yourself into Him. Likewise being baptized into the water is a sign indicating that we are being baptized into Christ. God has put us into Christ (1 Cor. 1:30), and we all must believe this fact and reckon on it. Hallelujah, we are in Christ! We have been transferred out of Adam into Christ. Today I can testify boldly that I am no longer in Adam—I am in Christ. Because I am in Christ, His death, His resurrection, and all that He is have become mine. Whatever He has done is mine because I am in Him.
Consider the example of Noah’s ark. The ark with the eight persons aboard passed through many things. Whatever the ark passed through was also the experience of those eight persons, because they were in the ark. This is a clear type of our being in Christ. Christ is our ark, and we, the resurrected people, are in Him. (The number eight signifies resurrection.) Whatever Christ has obtained and attained and whatever He is now is ours. His death is ours, His resurrection is ours, and His life is ours. Christ’s death has terminated every negative thing in the universe, and His death is ours. Nothing terminates a person like death. If someone asks whether or not you are dead, you should strongly reply, “Yes, I died two thousand years ago (6:6). Christ’s death on the cross cleared up everything for me and terminated me absolutely. I am dead.” Praise the Lord that we all are dead! Having died with Christ on the one hand, on the other hand we are resurrected with Him (6:8, 11). We are resurrected, we are living, and we are growing together with Christ in the likeness of His resurrection (6:5). We all must believe these facts, recognize them, and reckon ourselves according to them.
If we stand on these facts, we may present ourselves to God as slaves and present our members as weapons of righteousness unto sanctification (6:13, 19). When we reckon upon the fact that our old man has been crucified and that we are alive to God in Christ Jesus and when we present ourselves with all of our members as weapons of righteousness to God, the way is open for the divine life to work within our being in a free way. This divine life will transfuse all that God is into our being. This is sanctification. This is not the objective redemption on the cross; it is God’s subjective, sanctifying work in our very being.
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