The Roman Resurrection Road – Part 4- Resurrection, Sanctification, Identification

This blog is part of a series of blogs concerning the Resurrection realities found in the book of Romans. To read the intro to this series, go here.

For me, the greatest explanation of sanctification resides in Romans 6. The latter chunk of the chapter, in verses 19 and 22, talks about how to enter into the reality of sanctification now that you are freed from the grip of sin.

So what is sanctification? In the simplest terms, sanctification is the process we enter into when we are saved, wherein God refines us to look more like His Son. It is the process by which the reality of being freed from sin takes root and we are gradually transformed day by day. It is the manifestation of your new Holy identity.

It is clear to me, through reading the scripture, that a large part of sanctification is proper identification.

You will behave or act in accordance with who you believe you are. Here in Romans 6, the word clearly states that I am no longer a slave to sin (v.6) but a slave of righteousness (v.18). I don’t wait for evidence in my life to believe that it’s true – I believe it’s true first, then the evidence begins to show. Just as verse 11 says, “consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God.”

By receiving and believing this new identity, I begin to see the fruit of a new reality. This is not to say you’ll never sin, (sanctification is a process after all) but I don’t wait until I’ve arrived at a certain sin percentage to believe that this new identity is true. I accept the Identity and let it work on me from the inside out. 

Resurrection and Identification

What does this have to do with the resurrection, you ask? After all, that is the point of this entire series. My simple answer to you is: everything. 

Look at verses 4-5: “4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become [a]united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be [b]in the likeness of His resurrection,”

As certain as our identification with Christ’s death, so certain shall our identification with His resurrection be! What does it mean to be in the likeness of His resurrection?!

We know that Jesus took on the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom 8:3), as truly God, yet truly man, He was subject to the weakness of man. He never stopped being God, yet He fully experienced the weakness of mankind. He was tempted in every way, yet without sin. Though He never sinned, He lived in a fallen world. He felt the entire weight of it all the way through His death.

The good news is, He didn’t stay dead. He actually rose with the keys to death and hades (Rev 1:18). Death could not hold Him, and the death that He died, He died to sin once for all. Not that He finally beat His own sin, rather that He defeated sin itself. He rose with complete mastery over sin and death, His resurrection was the proof.

So if you are certainly to be in the likeness of His resurrection, your master has been mastered by THE Master. Sin was your master when you were a slave to sin, and death was your reward. Now, as slaves of righteousness, the King of Righteousness you belong to holds the power over sin and death! So while you may sin at times, you are no longer to be mastered by sin. You now have a choice! When you were a slave of sin, you had no choice!

That’s why verse 12 says, “do not LET sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its lusts.” In other words, sin needs your permission to reign! And not only that, but sin “Shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace!” (v.14)

The law focused on the “you shall not.” Here, in grace, the command is “sin shall not.”

Please hear me clearly: I am not saying you will never sin again. Don’t be dull. What I am saying is that, because of the resurrection, you have been freed from sin and given a new identity. You no longer identify with that sinful, fallen nature! The change in identification will produce different fruit within you. The provision is available for us never to be mastered by sin again. Not only that, I no longer accept fallen sinner as my identity. I identify with the risen Christ.

Many may say, hold on brother, “all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God,” (Rom 3:23). To them, I would first say, Amen, then: “finish the verse please.” Secondly, I would ask this question, “What was Christ raised through?”

The answer is the glory: “Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father.” (v.4)

Yes, we did fall horribly short of the Glory of God. But He doesn’t leave us there. Just as Christ was raised from the dead, through the very glory we fell short of, so we too are now to walk in newness of life. We, through the brilliance of the cross and resurrection, somehow become partakers of this very glory we fell short of, and are transformed into the same image, from glory to glory (2 Cor 3:18). This is the sanctification process. Beholding who He is, in His resurrected, glorified form, and becoming like Him in the process.

Identify with the Risen Lord

I no longer Identify as a fallen sinner. Though that was true of me, and I am still capable of sin. I now identify with the risen Lord, and I am a slave to righteousness. 

The resurrection is good news for us in regards to sin. It invites us into an entirely new likeness, a new identity. 

This means I can no longer place a sin modifier before the name “Christian.” There’s no such thing as a “__insert popular sin here__ Christian.” I hope you caught what I just wrote. The world keeps pumping out a message of “I identify as…so therefore I am.” The enemy makes it his mission to convince people to make their sin their identity. Why? He knows the truth of this message all too well. You will act in accordance with who you believe you are.

In a world like that, Identify with the risen Lord. Embracing anything other than that is a lesser identity. You are a slave of righteousness. Holy and Blameless. Saints and children of the Most High God. You are certainly to be in the likeness of His resurrection. Don’t trade in that ID card for anything less.

Regardless of my sins and particular struggles, I identify with the Risen Christ. You cannot find a higher identity.

Your identity is not your “pronouns.” It’s not your job title. You are a resurrection people. Now, go act like it!