Full text of renowned Bible teacher Derek Prince’s teaching on the book of Romans (Romans 6:1 – 6:23): Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ.
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Derek Prince – Bible Teacher
We are now commencing stage 8 of our pilgrimage which will deal with the first part of Romans chapter 6.
In the previous session we dealt with the second half of Romans chapter 5 and a very elaborate complicated comparison between Adam and Jesus. I won’t try to summarize that, it’s too complicated.
But we’ll go on now to something that is a little more simple but very drastic, and that is Romans 6. This is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. I’ve lived in this chapter for so long but there’s still so much new. Every time I read it I find something fresh that I didn’t know before.
Now the title for this stage of our journey is “God’s Solution for the Old Man: Execution.” God has no plan B for our old man. He doesn’t send him to church or Sunday School. He doesn’t teach him to memorize Scripture. He has sentenced him to death and there’s no reprieve, there’s no alternative.
You see, we’ve already dealt with the forgiveness of our past sins, that was in Romans 3. That’s very wonderful but it’s not all that we need.
Again, I will go back for a few moments to my own boyhood in the Anglican church to whom I owe many debts of gratitude but in the Anglican church in those days — it may be different today in the Episcopal church — but every Sunday morning ‘round about 11:00 o’clock we said the general confession. I can remember these words, they’ll never depart from me. “Pardon us miserable offenders,” etc.
Well, every time we said that I certainly acknowledged that I was an offender — I wasn’t always too miserable about it — and my attitude was if religion can’t do more than make me a miserable offender, I can be an offender without religion and not nearly so miserable.
But I always had this feeling, maybe I got my sins forgiven. I mean I was never quite sure. In fact, my attitude about religion at that time was its function was to make you feel guilty. And I thought I’d achieved something tremendous if I could walk out of church feeling slightly guilty.
I didn’t know that there was anything beyond that. But I just wondered did God really forgive my sins?
But the embarrassing thing was I walked out of that church knowing full well that next week I was going to go on committing the same sins.
And the question was: Do I please God by confessing sins that I’m going to go on committing or do I provoke Him? I really never came to a clear answer to that question.
But you see, here’s the answer in Romans 6. It’s one thing to have your past sins forgiven, that’s tremendous. But it’s not all, because inside every one of us, without exception, every one of us descended from Adam, there dwells a rebel.
And even if our past sins have been forgiven, that old rebel inside us is going to go on committing the same kind of sins unless he’s dealt with. It’s a significant fact of history that Adam never begot any children until he was a rebel.
And so every descendant of Adam is born out of rebellion. Every one of us has a rebel. Sometimes he’s very conspicuous, he can be seen in all our attitudes and actions. Sometimes he’s very concealed, he can be very religious, very polite, very nice. But he’s still at heart a total rebel. God will make no peace with that rebel, he has sentenced him to death.
The good news is here’s the mercy of God. The execution took place more than 19 centuries ago when Jesus died on the cross. That’s the way out, that’s the solution.
But for a little while I want to look at what the Bible says about this Adamic nature in each one of us. It’s called the old man or the modern translation says the old self. But I prefer to keep the word man because it traces us directly back to Adam, the first man. It’s called a carnal nature, it’s called the flesh, it’s called the body, it’s called the body of sin and it’s called the body of the flesh.
Now the Bible uses certain words in special technical ways. Almost any system of communication has certain technical words it uses like electronics has certain technical words. If you want to understand electronics—which I don’t—you’ve got to learn the correct use of those technical words.
Well there are a few technical words in the Bible. Perhaps the most important one is the one we’re talking about: The flesh, the body, the body of sin, the body of the flesh. It does not mean our physical body.
Now in other places the flesh means the actual physical body. But in many places it doesn’t mean that, it means the nature that we inherited with our body by descent from Adam. And only the context can show you which way to translate it.
Now again, this is true of countless words that we use in daily life. They have more than one meaning. For instance, with my British background, for me a bag is something made of paper or plastic that you carry in your hand.
But my wife Ruth says when we arrive at an airport, “Did you collect the bags from the carousel?”
Well, I had to learn what she meant, you see, because we never used the word bag of a suitcase. Why should we? So, that’s just a simple example but when my wife says bag, I say, “Does she mean the thing that’s made out of paper or plastic or does she mean the suitcase.” Only the context tells me. Well that’s a very simple example and there are countless cases in the English language. We get used to thinking in terms of the context.
So let me just quickly run over some of these places with you. For instance, the flesh. You’ll find that used many times in Romans chapter 7.
Romans 7:5: “For while we were in the flesh…” That doesn’t mean while we’re alive in this body, it means before we came to know the Lord and had an experience to change.
Romans 7:18: “I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh…”
Romans 7:25: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.”