Green: on hand out
Ink: to be filled in on hand out
Blue: term from the text to be defined or discussed
Gray: comment made by class member
Pragmatists & Puritans
"We Americans are pragmatists to the max. We want results. And we want them yesterday. We want them simply. We want them without too much pondering and too much pain. And in the church, we have developed all kinds of Christ-coated remedies that are shallow and short-lived. We are not, by and large, the deeply grounded saints that some of our forefathers were.
"J. I. Packer compares the old English Puritans who lived and suffered from 1550 to 1700 with the Redwoods of California. They were giants whose roots were incredibly deep in the Bible, and whose branches reached to the heavens, and whose trunks were so strong and durable they could endure forest fires that scar them but don't kill them. But then Packer looks out over the pragmatic American landscape of our quick fixes for life's problems and our impatience with depth and complexity and pain, and says, 'Affluence seems for the past generation to have been making dwarfs and deadheads of us all.'1
"Here's the difference between the pragmatists and the Puritans: pragmatists do not have the patience to sink the roots of hospitality and brotherly kindness and authentic love in the deep rock of Romans 6-8. We want to jump straight from justification to the practical application of chapter 12. Just give us a list. Tell us what to do. Fix the problem at the immediate surface level, so it goes away. But the Puritans were different. They looked at the book of Romans and saw that life is built another way. Being a sage, being a Redwood, being unshakable in storm and useful in times of indescribable suffering – that does not come quickly or easily. Romans is not two chapters long. It is 16 chapters long. It does not skip from chapter 5 to 12. It leads us down deep into the roots of godliness, so that when we come up, we are not people with lists, but people with unshakable life and strength and holiness and wisdom and love."
v. 3 - Baptized into Christ
The word for baptize is used in a variety of ways, both literal and figurative. The most literal meaning is immersed, placed all the way into. It was used of dying cloth, and of purification rites involving bathing or hand washing. We have been immersed into Christ, including His death (and resurrection).
v. 4 - United to Christ in His burial
"...Union with Christ is not only the key to understanding justification – getting right with God by faith alone. Union with Christ is also the key to understanding sanctification – becoming a new kind of people, who don't continue in sin, who are no longer enslaved to sin, but who walk in newness of life." - John Piper3.Paul is not done talking about justification yet, but he's introducing the topic of sanctification.
v.5 - United to Christ in His Death
We are united to Christ in His life, death, and resurrection. Paul often uses the shorter phrase in Christ to mean the same thing.
"1 Corinthians 1:30 says, 'But by [God's] doing you are in Christ Jesus.' God establishes a union between believers and Christ, in a way that makes it fitting for him to count Christ's death to be our death... This death is something historic and once for all. It is applied to us now through our faith, but since Christ died in history only once, and verse 5 says we were united to that, our death happened, in God's way of seeing things, on the day Christ died." - John Piper4.
"You might think at first that 'likeness of his death' refers to baptism. Our going under the water is 'like' his being buried. But that idea won't work in the second half of the verse which refers to 'the likeness of his resurrection.' That would have to refer to baptism as well – as we come up out the water – but notice that this is future tense in verse 5. It hasn't happened yet. 'If we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.' This is a reference to some future resurrection that is certain because of our union with Christ." - John Piper6.
If I was united with Christ in the likeness of his death, I will also certainly be united with Him in the likeness of His resurrection (Rom 8:11). You are in Him, in His death and resurrection. That's baptism. It's a permanent state; the future resurrection is certain.
v. 6-7 - Dead to Sin: completely and finally
Destroyed, done away with: Greek katargejw, katargeo [Strongs G2673], literally, deactivated, made idle, put to rest, made to cease, taken out of service, put out of commission. Used of farmland that was left to lie fallow for a time.8 A modern example would be unplugging an electric powered machine.
He breaks the power of cancelled sin
He sets the prisoner free
His blood can make the foulest clean
His blood availed for me
"In our truest position and our truest identity we are completely and finally dead to sin – both its guilt and its power. This is decisive, unrepeatable, and unchangeable. This is the foundation for all our warfare against sin, and all our progress in holiness." - John Piper10.
vv. 8-11 - United to Christ in His Resurrection
"Baptism is an ordinance performed only once in the Christian's life and signifies our dying and rising with Christ by faith. The Lord's Supper is an ordinance performed over and over in the Christian life to signify that we never stop living by the spiritual nourishment that comes from the death of Jesus for our sins." - John Piper11