In Romans 5 and 6 the word death/die/died/dead appears 27 times. That could make quite a depressing read without the context. In those two chapters we read over and over of death’s relationship to sin, but also to life and hope. For example:
Sin brought death – 5:12
For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many – 5:15
Sin ruled over all people and brought them to death – 5:21
The wages of sin is death – 6:23
Our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son – 5:10
God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners – 5:8
When we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death – 6:3
When we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin – 6:7
How can death have such two different outcomes? Only because of Christ. His death actually brought life. Christ was raised from the dead and he will never die again (Rom 6:9b). When we believe in Christ, sin and death no longer have power over us (Rom 6:6-8). But people on their own are powerless over sin. Sin rules over all people and brings them to death (Rom 5:21). When Adam sinned, sin entered the world and spread death to everyone (Rom 5:12). It’s now the default system we live in, every culture in every country.
But Christ redeemed death from hopelessness and renamed it Hope. He breathed life and victory into the world when sin held all the power. Before Christ came death was only bad news. When Christ rose from the dead, it became Good News. We too were asked to die to ourselves, trusting him to make Good News out of our lives. Here’s the picture:
“For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.” (Rom 6:4)
This promise of new life is my Hope for you this season. Christ is Hope. Christ is Life. Christ came as a baby on purpose. His life only paused on the cross, then his resurrection gave death a whole new definition. It meant Life, for those who believe. As you remember the birth of Christ at Christmas, remember also His life and the new eternal life you have through him (Rom 5:21, Rom 6:23).