Fred Coulter—April 9, 2011

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Today we are going to cover the situation concerning children, especially in light of the fact that the Catholics baptize children. Let's look and see what the Bible teaches concerning repentance and baptism, so that we can understand what are the requirements of it and who should be baptized. There are a couple places where in the book of Acts we find that a whole household was baptized. Did that include all the little children? So, let's come to Acts 2 first, please. One of the definitions given for remission of sins is freedom from sin. That does not express it quite correctly. The only sins you are free from when you are baptized, are past sins. So we need to understand how justification comes.

Acts 2:38: "Then Peter said to them, 'Repent and be baptized each one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins... [plural] ...and you yourselves shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Jesus also told us that we need to repent.

Let's go to Luke 13 and let's see what He says there, because this is important, too. Lest those who have been called and chosen and have repented and been baptized and received the Holy Spirit of God, and also lest other people judge others because of misfortunes happening to them and to say that they have been judged because of what they have done, that may or may not be so. This happened in the first year of Jesus life, this incident right here

Luke 13:1: "Now at the same time, there were present some who were telling Him about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices." That's a pretty treacherous thing to do. People were discussing, 'I wonder what their sin was. I wonder what they did.'

Just like we covered concerning the sin of Job. Job's sin was not that he transgressed the law. He kept the law. He kept it better than anyone else, but his sin was he did not give God the credit. That's the sin of lawlessness when you take to yourself something that belongs to God and then say, 'I'm righteous, I need an umpire between me and God.' Then you are sinning, not by breaking the law, but by raising yourself to God's level.

So likewise, when you look at people that have different things happen to them. That's why it was surprising over there with the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the governor of Tokyo said, 'This is punishment from heaven for our excessive greed.' All the other politicians got together and they beat on him and on the next day he had to say, 'So sorry.' Had to apologize. But he was probably right.

Now furthermore, in Japan, just a little follow-up on that, they cannot plant where the tsunami went with the salt water, because it has brought so much salt into the soil it'll grow nothing. They can't plant rice in certain areas because of the radiation. So here now, you have not only that, everything that has happened, now you've got a follow-up on it where you can't plant, you can't grow, you can't harvest and in one of the most fertile areas of Japan.

I think we need to take as a nation and learn a lesson from Japan and don't say, 'Oh, yeah, look at those people. God punished them.' Hold on! We're going to get it here, too! We have been getting it, but I've said many times, we say, 'Okay, now we've got all the corn for all the ethanol and we've solved our gas problem.' Bang! You have a fungus and kill all the corn.

Verse 2: "And Jesus answered and said to them, 'Do you suppose that these Galileans were sinners above all Galileans, because they suffered such things? No, I tell you; but if you do not repent, you shall all likewise perish'" (vs 2-3). So He's talking about sin and repentance. Now sin is a transgression of the law. Yes, we have the law of sin and death in us from birth. That is true. But baptism does not take that away. It gives control over it, so it doesn't rule you.

So He said again here: "'Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell, and killed them, do you suppose that these were debtors above all men who dwelt in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but if you do not repent, you shall all likewise perish'" (vs 4-5). What are the wages of sin? Death! The ultimate death is the Lake of Fire. So there are sins which can be repented of.

Let's see a very unusual way that the Apostle John wrote this, 1-John 5:16: "If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin that is not unto death.…" What kind of sin is that if the wages of sin is death? This is a sin that is not the unpardonable sin! The unpardonable sin is a sin unto death and that means the second death, because in Adam we're all going to die anyway. "If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin that is not unto death, he shall ask, and He will give him life for those who do not sin unto death…. [Look at the next statement because this becomes very important]: ...There is a sin unto death; concerning that sin, I do not say that he should make any supplication to God…. [Notice how he phrases this]: …All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not unto death…. [So we have that distinction. Then we will see in a little bit what sins are forgiven. They have to be repented of.] …We know that anyone who is begotten by God does not practice sin... [The King James says 'does not sin,' and that is not a correct translation.] ...for the one who has been begotten by God keeps himself by the power of God... [That's how he keeps himself.] ...and the wicked one does not touch him" (vs 16-18).

So this shows some of the situations where we find ourselves sinning. Let's understand something important: You do not have sins forgiven in the future! When you have sins forgiven, and even when you're baptized and receive the Holy Spirit, you do not have the law of sin or death removed from your body. We still have to fight and overcome sin.

The proposition of the Catholics for baptizing children is this: Since all people have the stain of Adam's sin on their soul, you baptize children to take away the stain of that sin on their soul, because if they died without baptism, they would not go to heaven. That's the basic way that it is. Do we find any place in the Bible where children are baptized? Before we can answer that question, what we need to do is find out how sins are forgiven. Because this is what Jesus was talking about. Sins are forgiven upon repentance!

Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Everyone has sinned—children, old people, and I think Washington, D.C., has a big pile of it there, too. Here's how sin is forgiven upon repentance: When you first come to repentance and answer the call of God, then you repent unto baptism. Your sins are forgiven at that point. You are clean. Now you come up out of the water and you walk in newness of life and you are to grow and overcome. We find in Rom. 7 that we have this law of sin and death that we are fighting against. But God has justified us from it.

The Protestants say that if you've been forgiven sin, you have no more sins the rest of your life imputed to you. That's incorrect! At least the Catholics charge for future indulgence. No one is forgiven in advance. The truth is a sin is not a sin till you've transgressed. Then it is a sin.

We've got the sermon, Seven Steps of Sin. Temptation in the mind is not a sin, but you can have sins in your mind when you take the temptation and roll it over and think about it and practice it out in your mind before you go sin. Now that could be robbery. That could be adultery. That could be lying. That could be idolatry—any of those things. Those then are counted sins within. God knows those. All the other things that we do are sins that are noticeable; you can see them. But sin is not a sin until you have sinned.

Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; but are being justified... [How are we justified and what does that do?] ...freely by His grace through the redemption... [The redemption is a buy-back. Redemption is not freedom. Redemption is a buy-back. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ pays for your sin, so God has bought you back.] ...that is in Christ Jesus; Whom God has openly manifested to be a propitiation through faith in His blood... [the perfect sacrifice] order to demonstrate His righteousness... [Or we're talking about justification and the word in the Greek is spelled almost the same.] demonstrate His righteousness, in respect to the remission of sins that are past" (vs 23-25).

Does a baby have sins? No, it's innocent! Does a baby understand right and wrong? No, it doesn't! So therefore, you can't baptize them and forgive their sins in advance and you cannot baptize them and have the law of sin and death removed from them.

Now, let's understand about sins. All sins are past sins. Why? Because it's not a sin until you commit it and the instant you commit it it is a past sin. In time, it's already past. If you're unaware of sin, you're leading a life of sin, you'll just go on and repeat and repeat it. Now you've got a whole bunch of sins to repent of. But they're all past sins. There's no such thing as future sin.

Let me show that to you. Let's use the Apostle Paul as an example. He's talking about growing and overcoming. He's talking about how he disciplined himself, but notice he's talking about running a race. That's the life of living righteously and overcoming.

1-Corinthians 9:24: "Don't you know that those who run a race all run, but only one receives the prize? That is the way you are to run in order that you may obtain the prize." Showing how we need to work, we need to be zealous, we need to overcome, put our full effort in it. If you're running a race, you're putting your full effort into it—right?

You ever watch them run? I like to watch them run the 100-meter race. Some of them can really fly. Then I like to watch the endurance race, the mile race. Then they have the marathon race. In every instance you must press, you must pace yourself. In every instance, you must be alert and know what you're doing. So, that's just a good analogy on how we're to grow and overcome.

Verse 26: "I, therefore, so run, not as one who is uncertain; so also I fight, not as beating the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, after preaching to others, I myself might be rejected" (vs 26-27). He was showing here that if he didn't continually do what was right, human nature is such that you can come to a point that you can commit the unpardonable sin and be rejected. This shows very clearly that if there were forgiveness of future sin, like the Protestants say from the bad translation of 1-John 3, that anyone who has been saved cannot sin. That's an impossibility! We've got the appendices in the back of the Bible, What Does it Mean to be "Born Again"? and What is Meant by "Works of Law"? They are there for the very reason of explaining about the forgiveness of sin.

So repentance means you must have consciousness of your sins. A baby cannot. Maybe at two or three they might know some right and wrong and they might learn to say, 'I'm sorry.' They might not like the discipline that they're given, but nevertheless, God does not count them responsible. God shows that age twenty is the age of accountability. And He talks about children who did not sin. In God's sight, even though they do things that are not right, He doesn't impute sin to them until they have a knowledge and consciousness of sin. The Proverb says, 'Even a child is known by his doing whether it be good or not.' So that shows that children grow in the knowledge of what to do and what not to do, but they don't reach the point for baptism, because baptism is for eternal life and for the remission of sins that are past. No such thing as forgiveness of future sin.

Romans 3:26: "Through the forbearance of God; yes, to publicly declare His righteousness... [or justification] the present time, that He might be just, and the one Who justifies the one who is of the faith of Jesus." Now we find another element here that's important in repentance. You must believe in Jesus Christ! Meaning:

  • you must believe that He is the Son of God
  • you must believe that He has died for your sins
  • you must believe that God will forgive you your sins through Christ and His shed blood

A child cannot comprehend that. I mean, even the verses we're reading here are difficult for adults. "...justifies the one who is of the faith of Jesus" (v 26). We'll look at what the Bible says here in a little bit about children. We'll look at the instances where it talks about the whole household was baptized and does that include children? First of all, we need to find the requirement of what is necessary. They have to believe

  • believe in Christ
  • believe in the forgiveness of sin

And that's what Paul was preaching.

Verse 27: "Therefore, where is boasting? It is excluded...." You can't say, 'Oh, how good I am. I was baptized,' because God is One Who has forgiven. You must repent by choice and believe. It's not like getting a speeding ticket and paying the fine and nowadays they really get you. The least little speeding ticket is $300-plus. Because they need more money, they've doubled the fine if you speed in a construction area. And they have up here, 'Warning, fines will be double.' Oooo, $600! Put on the brake.

"...It is excluded. Through what law?…." (v 27). The Jews thought that if they offered the sacrifice everything was forgiven forever. Well, it wasn't. They thought with their works of law that if they did an act of compensation, then they were fine.

"…Through what law? The law of works? By no means! Rather, it is through a law of faith" (v 27). What is the law of faith?

  • believing that Christ is the Savior
  • believing that His sacrifice and shed blood pays for our sins
  • believing that He will forgive your sins upon repentance

And all of that is the work of Christ. We do this by faith. That's why it's called a law of faith, because there are certain steps to it that are required.

Verse 28: "Consequently, we reckon that a man is justified by faith, separate from works of law."

Verse 31: "Are we, then abolishing law through faith? MAY IT NEVER BE! Rather, we are establishing law." We've covered that in the series: God's Grace and Commandment-Keeping, so I'm not going to get into that, but just to show how sins are forgiven.

Do children have that consciousness? When would they have a consciousness to be ready for baptism? Some at 12 and 13 are very zealous, but their minds are not mature enough. As a matter of fact, here is one of the reasons why God does not hold them accountable as adults is because the cerebral frontal cortex is not fully developed until after age twenty, and as a matter of fact, until right around 25, some people even age 30. For big heads, it just keeps growing.

Let's see what Jesus did with the little children; it is called the blessing of children. Mark 10:13: "Then they brought little children to Him so that He might touch them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. And after seeing it, Jesus was indignant, and said to them, 'Allow the little children to come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the Kingdom of God'" (vs 13-14). Jesus was recognizing

  • their innocence
  • their willingness
  • their open-eyedness
  • their believableness

That's what we need to have. He did not say, 'Bring them here so my disciples can baptize them.'

Let's see what happened, v 15: "Truly I say to you, whoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child shall in no way enter into it.' And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them and blessed them" (vs 15-16). That's the Bible example of what should be for children.

Can this happen more than once? Probably can! It's just not being blessed when you're an infant or a little child, perhaps that's something that would be more helpful if they were blessed more than just once. I've blessed some children several times, like say at the Feast of Tabernacles one year. Then the next year at the Feast of Tabernacles again, and so forth. That's what the Bible shows should be with children.

Let's come to the book of Acts and let's see what happened here in one case. Here Paul and Silas were preaching and people didn't like it, so they got the authorities to put them in jail. Here's what happened to them.

Acts 16:22: "Then a multitude rose up against them, and the captains tore off their garments, and commanded that they be beaten with rods." That's pretty painful. Wonder what the Apostle Paul's back looked like. He was beaten three times, 39 stripes by the Jews. He was beaten with rods in addition to it. He was stoned. His body probably had scars all over it.

Verse 23: "And after laying many stripes on them, they cast them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them safely. After receiving this command, he threw them into the inner prison and secured their feet with stocks. But about midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing praises to God... [Here's a way out of a great difficulty: pray and sing praises to God.] ...and the prisoners were listening to them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so great that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors opened, and the bonds of all were loosed" (vs 23-26). This had to be the act of an angel to do it. Earthquake take place, all the bonds come off, they come out of their stocks.

"When the jailer awoke from his sleep and saw the doors of the prison open, he drew a sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul called out with a loud voice, saying, 'Do not harm yourself; for we are all here.' And after asking for lights, he rushed in and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And when he had brought them out, he said, 'Sirs, what must I do, that I may be saved?'…. [Remember, this is an abbreviated writing of it. We don't know everything else that was done.] …Then they said, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, you and your household.'…. [Are children counted as part of the household?] …And they spoke the Word of the Lord to him, and to all those in his house" (vs 27-32).

Remember, it was midnight. So, here was a discussion early in the morning and he was teaching them what they need to do—correct? 'They spoke the Word of the Lord to him and to all those in his house.' So he told them about repentance, told them about baptism, told them about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. That took probably about an hour.

Verse 33: "And he took them in that hour of the night, and washed their wounds; and he and all his household were immediately baptized." Did that mean children or were the children in bed? We don't know! We're not told, but knowing what the requirement for baptism is that we just read about the forgiveness of sin (Rom. 3), we know that Paul was talking to them about repentance of sin and that it was at night. So I doubt if the children were up. His household—now we can't say absolutely dogmatically for sure that none of the children were up. We cannot absolutely say dogmatically for sure that the children understood even if they heard. His household had to be those who were accountable for sin.

Verse 34: "Then he brought them into his house and laid out a table for them; and he rejoiced with all his household, who had believed in God." This doesn't tell us, did everyone in the house believe or was this for those of his household all who had believed? We're not told! We don't know how old the jailer was. We don't know whether all of his household was grown up. That's possible, but it definitely does not say children, so we have to go by that and then analyze where we go from there.

Dolores just reminded me of a time when I was on Religion-on-the-Line in Southern California. It was actually KABC in Los Angeles and I was on there four Sunday nights in a row from nine until midnight with a Catholic priest and a Jewish rabbi and I represented the Protestant minister. A caller called in and said there was a five or six-year-old girl who was kidnapped and raped and killed. The caller asked what would happen to the little girl, she wasn't baptized, she'll suffer in hell. The narrator said, 'That doesn't sound too loving to me.' I said, 'Let me tell you what'll happen and I told them about the second resurrection.' There is hope for them.

Let's look at another baptism in v 14: "And a certain woman who worshipped God was listening... [to Paul] ...she was named Lydia and was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira; whose heart the Lord opened to receive the things spoken by Paul." That becomes a very important statement. God has to open the heart! Now we're involved with a calling—correct? You must be called. You must answer the call. And if you answer the call, the Lord opens your heart or your mind to receive the things of God.

Can a little child comprehend those things? No! Can an adolescent understand those things? Might understand some things, but their minds are not mature for final judgment. Now the youngest one I've ever baptized was 16-1/2; that young man grew up in the Church so he was taught the right way, he knew what it was. And the thing with children, it gets down to childrearing, asking God's blessing continuously upon them, asking God's angels to be around them. But there's no operation known even for adults to remove that law of sin and death from within you. That won't take place until the resurrection.

Verse 15: "And after she and her household were baptized..." So again, here we're talking about a household. We're not told about any children—nowhere—and I think the absence of children in these situations becomes important to understand. Because if children were to be baptized, it would mention 'and the children.' Go back in the Old Testament and it talks about 'and there were 600,000 men besides women and children.' When there are children, they are mentioned. Here they're not mentioned. They're not mentioned in the other one there.

"And after she and her household were baptized, she besought us, saying, 'If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and lodge there.' And she constrained us" (v 15). She was apparently a rich woman and had a big house and so she constrained them.

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There's another aspect that is necessary to cover here, which is Acts 2:38: "Then Peter said to them, 'Repent and be baptized each one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you yourselves shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children... [The only children this could apply to would be those would could repent.] ...and to all those who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God may call'" (vs 38-39).

You also have this in the Old Testament. What is it said of Israel? The children of Israel, not meaning just the children in Israel, but all of Israel called the children of Israel. So, this may have more of that meaning rather than your little children. This may have more of a meaning with that.

Even when your children are grown, you refer to them as your children. I have sitting right here a 44-year-old son, my child, Jonathan. If my mother were here, she died at 93, she would say, 'Fred, you're my child.' In Spanish they distinguish children, it would be kind of like German, 'kinder.' Small little kids. That's where we get the word kindergarten, the children's garden. Then when they reach a certain age, they're called 'mon'—means human. When they get about 16, the boys are now called 'son,' instead of child. I can see where this would cause a problem in reading it in Spanish from that point of view.

Let's cover the meaning of baptism. Romans is the most central thing to understand, especially from chapters 3-7, and the first half of 8 up to about verse 28. Those are some of the most difficult Scriptures in the Bible. Here it's talking about baptism. What the meaning of baptism is, and this is to be comprehended by those who are old enough to understand. I've seen the way the orthodox baptize and it's really a crying session. If you think in the Catholic christening and things like that, made a lot of noise, I tell you the orthodox, they take the little child and they dunk it in water, full immersion, three times. The Catholics have the godfather or the godmother hold the child and then they go through various things they go through. I remember seeing that in Godfather II where they were doing that and the baby cried and it was something.

This tells us about baptism and baptism is a life-long commitment of a baptismal pledge that cannot be reversed. You cannot go back on it, because that would then be the sin unto death. Romans 6:1: "What then shall we say? Shall we continue in sin, so that grace may abound?" I don't know how the Protestants read this, but when they say that you have no sin imputed to you, they're telling you, you don't have any more sin the rest of your life.

It's very emphatic in the Greek in v 2. There are in chapters 3-7, seven 'MAY IT NEVER BE', which I put in capital letters. The Greek here is 'mei genoito.' 'Genoito' means don't let it come into existence. 'Genoito' actually is close 'gennao,' which then is to beget. 'Mei genoito' means may it never be from the point of view of don't even let this thought come into your mind, if you wanted to paraphrase it and expand it out.

Verse 2: "MAY IT NEVER BE! We who died to sin..." It is a symbolic burial in baptismal water for the death of the old self. So there's a lot of symbolism to it and there's a lot of real meaning to it. Christ died literally! That was His covenant pledge for the forgiveness of sin. That's why only His blood, because He was the Creator God before He came to the earth, only the Creator God's sacrifice can forgive the sins of all mankind. He's made them all. An ox couldn't do it; a goat couldn't do it. Even the sacrifice of another human being could not do it.

Romans 5:6: "For even when we were without strength, at the appointed time Christ died for the ungodly…. [That appointed time was the Passover in 30A.D. No other time. It was determined when? From the foundation of the world!] …For rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, although perhaps someone might have the courage even to die for a good man" (vs 6-7). We've heard of these—haven't we? Soldiers falling on grenades and blowing themselves up to save their buddies! We've heard of those things. But even though they were saved, did those people later die? Yes!

Verse 8: "But God commends His own love to us because, when we were still sinners, Christ died for us." So baptism then becomes a very meaningful and legal covenantal act of the burial of the self to be conjoined to the death of Christ. So it embodies all of this. If we didn't raise you out of the water, you would die. It's as close as to death you can get.

Verse 9: "Much more, therefore, having been justified now by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His own Son, much more then, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life" (vs 9-10). So this is the whole operation that we need to understand when we come to Rom. 6.

Verse 11: "And not only this, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom we have now received the reconciliation." Reconciled back to God the Father through the operation of the death of Jesus Christ. Now we will see our participation in it through baptism.

Romans 6:2: "MAY IT NEVER BE! We who died to sin... [because that's what it is. So you must understand that when you're baptized. A child cannot understand that.] shall we live any longer therein?.... [That is, live in sin as a way of life.] ...Or are you ignorant that we, as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus, were baptized into His death?" (vs 2-3).

This is very important translation, because the Greek here for into is 'eis.' That is meaning into, to be joined with. For 'within,' the Greek is 'en,' within. On is 'epi,' or upon. 'Huperano' is above and 'hupo' is beneath. So you have in, you have through, you have upon. Those are all the different adjectives which we're talking about. But this is very important—'eis,' into His death.

Verse 4: "Therefore, we were buried with Him through the baptism into the death..." That's a literal translation, right from the Greek, because it is 'the baptism.' There's no other. A lot of people are dunked in different churches, but they're not baptized. Some may think they are. It is 'the baptism,' understood the way it is in the Bible.

Into—'eis'—the death, that is Christ's death. We receive remission of sins from His blood, through His death. Verse 4: " that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, in the same way, we also should walk in newness of life." Showing we're going to change

  • the way we live
  • the way we think
  • the way we act
  • the way we behave

It is going to be a new life—how?

  • keeping the commandments of God
  • led by the Spirit of God
  • doing all of this through
  • the Truth of God
  • the Spirit of God
  • the spiritual application of the commandments of God

Notice how Paul expresses it here, v 5: "For if we have been conjoined... [There's a prefix here that in the Greek is 'syn.' Have you heard of synergize? Synergize means to bring together. The Greek here means the same thing—'syn'—meaning brought together and joined. So it's translated:] ...for if we have been conjoined together in the likeness of His death, so also shall we be in the likeness of His resurrection." But you have to go to other Scriptures to know when that happens. When does that happen? At our resurrection! When does that take place? When Christ returns!

Verse 6: "Knowing this, that our old man was co-crucified... [There again, the Greek is 'syn'—brought together.] with Him in order that the body of sin might be destroyed... [We have the work of overcoming sin, because we still have human nature that's going to pull us down.] ...that the body of sin might be destroyed... [Showing it's a process. And in the process, there will be better times, there will be worse times.] that we might no longer be enslaved to sin"—in bondage to sin.

If you want to see people who are in bondage to sin, watch some of the specials on CNBC and National Geographic and History Channel about hardened criminals in prison. One man said, 'I'm a murderer. I know if you let me out, I'll do it again.' Totally enslaved to sin. You can also add into that the problems of demons and demon possession, because that's also a part of it. Being enslaved to sin so much that you are possessed. You are owned body and soul by Satan. And remember, Jesus cast out many, many demons. We're not to be enslaved to sin.

Verse 7: "Because the one who has died to sin... [so baptism is a death, a death to sin.] ...has been justified from sin…. [That's where we began—right? So everything from where we began, chapters 3-6, all comes up here.] …justified from sin.... [those are past sins] ...Now if we died together with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has any dominion over Him. For when He died, He died unto sin once for all..." (vs 7-10)—every human being. But that is not applied until God works out His plan. Right now we are called the firstfruits.

  • we have to have our minds open
  • God has to call us, draw us
  • we have to be led to repentance
  • we repent
  • we're baptized
  • we receive the Holy Spirit

All of that's necessary.

Verse 9: "Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has any dominion over Him. For when He died, He died unto sin once for all; but in that He lives, He lives unto God" (vs 9-10). Now we understand that whole pattern. Even this is hard for adults to grasp. So we need to understand children need the blessing of God. They need the parenting of their parents. They need the discipline.

Let me just tell you this in today's world—that is a terrible struggle in this world. They're raised on television. What's the first thing they learn on television? They learn how to fight, hit, steal, take, and those cartoons that children watch, you watch them for a little bit and you'll see everything is—fast, fast, fast—like this. I think a lot of that causes the Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), in addition to other things added into it, because their minds are taken from one thing to another so quickly, they do not concentrate on anything.

Here's the transition point, v 11—this is important for us: "In the same way also, you should indeed reckon yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God through Christ Jesus our Lord." Now that's what baptism is to do. Doesn't take away the law of sin and death, because we'll cover that during Unleavened Bread how we have to fight and overcome that. But we are dead to sin.

Another thing happens, which is this, which does not happen with people that don't have the Holy Spirit of God. When you have the Holy Spirit of God in you and there is a temptation or sinful thought come along, you recognize it—don't you? People in the world don't have God's Spirit; they don't recognize it. A lot of people tend to get discouraged if they don't understand it, because they're wondering, 'I don't want to sin, but why am I doing this?'

Verse 11: "...dead to sin, but alive to God through Christ Jesus our Lord.... [v 12 also shows us that we have to fight against sin] ...Therefore, do not let sin rule in your mortal body by obeying it in the lusts thereof…. [This is all part of overcoming; here's what we are to do]: …Likewise, do not yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin..." (vs 11-13). Don't give in to it!

  • Fight it!
  • Overcome it!
  • Repent of it!

"...rather, yield yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead..." (v 13). What does he mean by that? Remember what Jesus said when a man said, 'Let me go bury my father.' What did He say? 'Let the dead bury their dead.' So really, we are as good as dead until we're baptized. So when we come up out of the watery grave we are to be the same as if we are alive from the dead.

"...and your members as instruments of righteousness to God…. [Here's a promise and here's a verse that the Protestants just do not comprehend]: …For sin shall not rule over you because you are not under law, but under grace…. [So they say, 'Hallelujah, we don't have to keep the law!' This means this: What are we talking about all the way through here? Justification—right?] (Do not let sin) ...rule over you because you are not under law... [for justification.] (You are): ...under grace"... (vs 13-14) for justification through Jesus Christ. That's what that means. Doesn't do away with the law whatsoever.

Verse 1: "What then shall we say? Shall we continue in sin, so that grace may abound?" Verse 1 is not divorced from v 14.

So, he repeats it again here, v 15: 'mei ginoito' "...MAY IT NEVER BE!"

What does this show? You're still capable of sin—right? Yes! What do you do when you sin? You repent! If something comes along, you repent right then. That's what it means 'pray without ceasing.' You don't have to wait and say, 'Oh, I sinned, excuse me, boss, I need to take a five minute break and run down here to the closet and repent.'

Now Paul brings this to reality here. Notice how all of this ties together and all fits in with the meaning of baptism. This is why children, who are not of age—I'll rephrase that—children who are not of age cannot be baptized until they're accountable. Some may be at age 16, some may not be at age 50.

Verse 16: "Don't you realize that to whom you yield yourselves as servants to obey..." So this shows

  • choice
  • determination
  • recognition

" are servants of the one you obey, whether it is of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness…. [Either way! You're either a servant of sin and that comes from Satan, or you're a servant of righteousness and that comes from God.] …But thanks be to God, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered to you; and having been delivered from sin..." (vs 16-18).

  • through baptism and the Holy Spirit
  • through the ability to recognize sin and overcome
  • through the ability to take those thoughts and grab a hold of them, cast them down and bring every thought in obedience to Christ

"...thanks be to God, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered to you; And having been delivered from sin, you became the servants of righteousness. I speak from a human point of view because of the weakness of your flesh; for just as you once yielded your members in bondage to uncleanness, and to lawlessness unto lawlessness, so now yield your members in bondage to righteousness unto sanctification" (vs 17-19). Which means being prepared for the resurrection. That is being faithful unto death.

Verse 20: "For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness. Therefore, what fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end result of those things is death. But now that you have been delivered from sin and have become servants of God, you have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end result is eternal life" (vs 20-22).

Then he finishes it with this summary and you hear this one verse quoted how many times separated from the rest of it, over and over again—right?

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord" (v 23).
Scriptural References:

  • Acts 2:38
  • Luke 13:1-5
  • 1-John 5:16-18
  • Romans 3:23-25
  • 1-Corinthians 9:24, 26-27
  • Romans 3:26-28, 31
  • Mark 10:13-16
  • Acts 16:22-34, 14-15
  • Acts 2:38-39
  • Romans 6:1-2
  • Romans 5:6-11
  • Romans 6:2-14, 1, 15-23

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Romans 7
  • 1-John 3

Also referenced:

Sermon/Sermon Series:

  • Seven Steps of Sin
  • God's Grace and Commandment-Keeping

Appendices (from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order by Fred R. Coulter)

  • What Does it Mean to Be "Born Again"? (Appendix P)
  • What is Meant by "Works of Law"? (Appendix R)

Transcribed: 4-18-11
Formatted: bo—4-20-11