“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.” —Romans 6:5-7
Although these three verses are connected to many other things, I’d like us to see three basic and very practical truths for our Christian lives within this text: first, union with Christ that rests in hope (v5); second, knowledge of truth that moves with power (v6); and third, the reality of the cross that makes free (v7). In this article we will look at verse 5 particularly.
“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection” (Romans 6:5). The NASB renders “planted together” as “become united.” It’s a Greek word that means “grow along with” or “closely united to.” It comes from the idea of planting a group of seeds together in the ground that produces one crop of plants. Most people that I know that plant corn, beans, or grain, place several seeds in the same hole. That’s the idea of the closeness in its union. It does not mean that it is exactly the same thing because each individual seed dies its own death when planted; likewise, our spiritual death is not the same as the death that Christ suffered upon the cross— for certainly we understand that you and I didn’t physically die upon the cross with Christ, neither do we have to. That would be in with conflict the graces of justification and imputation. Yet, our union with Christ in His death and burial is truth and reality.
Apart from that definition of closeness, it also presents three meanings as it relates to being planted in the same manner of death, burial and resurrection: first, it means real spiritual growth; second, it means there will be real spiritual maturity; and third, there will ultimately be real spiritual results.
Jesus taught, “So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear” (Mark 4:26-28). Through the reality of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, a supernatural miracle takes place. A seed that is dead, planted in the ground, and then sprouts through the ground is no longer a seed: it is a plant. The grace of God through the cross of Christ changes us because of the real union that comes through saving faith that justifies. Saving faith identifies the truth of Christ’s atoning sacrifice with the reality of Christ’s atoning work in His sacrifice. It is very real and not a mere idea or concept.
Real Spiritual Maturity
Jesus also taught, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12:24). Just as the death, burial and resurrection of Christ brought forth abundant fruit unto salvation of souls for the glory of God, likewise the regenerated soul, saved by God’s grace, will be fruitful in gospel good works that are pleasing to Father for His own glory. Just as it was the very power of God that demonstrated the blessedness of the attributes of God in Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary, that same power of God also produces fruit and reflects the attributes in God’s redeemed saints.
Real Spiritual Results
“…we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection” (v5). There is still pain, struggle and death in the lives we lead, though we are saved. Yet, we have the hope of a resurrection to come: “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53).
Further, these results are not only found in the saint’s resurrection in that great Day, but there is the spiritual reality of a resurrection from the particular pains and predicaments, the struggles and situations, the trials and tribulations, of our lives; therefore, there is a real sense of hopeful risings that are coupled with our spiritual growth and maturity. As we die daily with Christ, taking up the cross daily (1 Corinthians 15:31; Luke 9;23), are we not also risen with Him daily? Each day we crucify the deeds of the flesh (Colossians 3:5), that old man (v6), we are also risen with Him, seeking “those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1).
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Read the previous article in this series, “Newness of Life” (Romans 6:3, 4).