Hollywood VS Romans 6
Why action flicks have a lot in common with the Bible's message
I saw a spy-action-flick a while back. Near the end of the movie; the good guy tracked the bad guy down; the bad guy caught the good guy; the good guy turned the tables on the bad guy. Our hero looked like he had won, but the bad guy had one final trick. You see, the baddies had implanted something in the main character that would kill him if they pressed the trigger. Our hero was so close to winning; but now, if he didn’t do what the evil head-honcho says, it could be the end. But, in one final, final trick, the good guy electrocuted himself, stopping the detonator but killing himself with it. But, in typical Hollywood fashion, the main character gets electrocuted again and comes back to life. Everyone’s happy (except the bad guy), credits roll, the end.
Well, this little scene from the film is surprisingly similar to Romans 6:1-14. Paul begins with a question that’s been rattling around Christian circles for centuries: seeing as God is gracious (kind to us, even though we don’t deserve it) and will forgive us if we sin but turn back and ask for forgiveness – if God is gracious, what’s stopping us from sinning? After all, as we sin and God forgives us, this shows just how loving God is. Why not sin more, so everyone can see even more how gracious God is? (6:1).
“No!” Paul says. Our rejection of God – our sin – deserved death. But Jesus died in the place of those who trust him. Jesus symbolically called his own death his “baptism” (Luke 12:50, Mark 10:38). Paul says that, as we trusted in him, Jesus’ death took the place of the death we deserved – we were “baptised … into his death” (Romans 6:3). His death counted as our death (6:6a); his burial counted as our burial (6:4a), so we no longer need to face God’s anger, judgement and condemnation. On top of that, because we’ve been united with Christ, his resurrection (6:9) means we also will be raised from the dead (6:5, 8) to live forever, enjoying a perfect relationship with our creator and each other.
But what does this mean for us now, in the present? Well, Jesus death set us free from our sin (6:7) – it no longer controls our eternal lives– so we shouldn’t let it control our present lives either (6:2, 6:6b). Just like in the film I saw, where the hero of my action movie died and came back , therefore escaping the bad guy’s control, so we’ve been united in Christ’s death and resurrection, escaping the control of sin in our lives (6:14).
Not one part of us should be used to serve sin (6:12-13a). Instead, just as Jesus died for sin and lives for God (6:10), we too should be “dead to sin and alive to God” (6:11). This means we should resist temptation and use all that we have to serve Jesus our King (6:13b).
Now you’ve got to decide: will you continue to reject God and live for sin, knowing his judgement is coming, or will you trust Jesus, share in his death and resurrection, and live for him?