Being that this is Holy Week, it seems like I should be writing something about Jesus and not Paul, after all this is the week that we, as Christians, celebrate what Jesus has done for us not only on the cross, but also in his resurrection. One we need to understand Christ's dying and rising as a dual event, where we cannot separate the two. Obviously Jesus could not have risen, without dying, but his death is validated by his resurrection. In other words, Jesus' death would have no implications for us if God did not then raise him from the dead.
For my class on Romans, this week, we arrived at Romans 6. In this chapter Paul explains that we as believers have died and risen with Christ. He then steps through what it means that we have taken part in this dual event of the cross and the resurrection. Paul carries this motif through much of his writings and is foundational not only in understanding Paul, but also in understanding our lives as Christians.
Robert Tannehill, in his book Dying and Rising with Christ, where he explains more fully what Paul's intent is, writes the following:
If the believer dies and rises with Christ, as Paul claims, Christ's death and resurrection are not merely events which produce benefits for the believer, but also are events in which the believer himself partakes. The believer's new life is based upon his personal participation in these saving events. Furthermore, these events continue to give their stamp to the life of the believer, for he continues to participate in Christ's death and resurrection in his daily life, especially through suffering.
What Tannehill goes on to explain in the next 134 pages-- which read as if they were 800-- is that Paul finds it essential that we, as believers, understand that we have participated in the act of dying on the cross with Christ. And not only have did we die with Christ, we were also raised. We then are to live our new life with this as our structure. We daily have to reckon ourselves dead to sin-- it now has no power over us-- and live, as Paul writes, presenting our "members to God as weapons for righteousness" (Romans 6:13).