Romans 6 – Believers Dead to Sin & Technology

How did the ancient Romans deal with plumbing?
They built huge and extensive aqueducts, which is Latin for waterway.

These under- and aboveground channels, typically made of stone, brick, and volcanic cement, brought fresh water for drinking and bathing as much as 50 to 60 miles from springs or rivers.

How did aqueducts work?
The engineers who designed them used gravity to keep the water moving. If the channel was too steep, water would run too quickly and wear out the surface. Too shallow, and water would stagnate and become undrinkable.

The Romans built tunnels to get water through ridges, and bridges to cross valleys. Once it reached a city, the water flowed into a main tank called a castellum. Smaller pipes took the water to the secondary castella, and from those the water flowed through lead pipes to public fountains and baths, and even to some private homes.

It took 500 years to build Rome’s massive system, which was fed by 11 separate aqueducts. To this day, Rome’s public fountains run constantly, as do smaller faucets that provide fresh water to anyone who stops for a drink.

Tomorrow we will look at…

Romans 6
Believers Dead to Sin

1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

“Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” – The question arose out of what Paul had just said in 5:20:

“Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”  Such a question expresses antinomian (against law) viewpoints.

Apparently some objected to Paul’s teaching of justification by faith alone because they thought it would lead to moral irresponsibility.

2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

6:3-4 – the when and how of the Christian’s death to sin.  In New Testament times baptism so closely followed conversion that the two were considered part of one even (see Acts 2:38).

So although baptism is not a means by which we enter into a vital faith relationship with Jesus Christ, it is closely associated with faith. 

The multiple arches of the Pont du Gard in Roman Gaul (modern-day southern France). The upper tier encloses an aqueduct that carried water to Nimes in Roman times; its lower tier was expanded in the 1740s to carry a wide road across the river.

Baptism depicts graphically what happens as a result of the Christian’s union with Christ, which comes with faith – through faith we are united with Christ, just as through our natural birth we are united with Adam.

As we fell into sin and became subjects to death in father Adam, so we now have died and been raised again with Christ – which baptism symbolizes.

4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

6 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.

“Our old man” – our un-regenerated self; what we once were.

“Body of sin” – the self in its pre-Christian state, dominated by sin.  This is a figurative expression in which the old self is personified. 

The heyday of the crane in ancient times came during the Roman Empire, when construction activity soared and buildings reached enormous dimensions.
The Romans adopted the Greek crane and developed it further.
We are relatively well informed about their lifting techniques, thanks to rather lengthy accounts by the engineers Vitruvius (De Architectura 10.2, 1-10) and Heron of Alexandria (Mechanica 3.2-5).
There are also two surviving reliefs of Roman treadwheel cranes, with the Haterii tombstone from the late first century A.D. being particularly detailed.
The simplest Roman crane, the trispastos, consisted of a single-beam jib, a winch, a rope, and a block containing three pulleys.
Having thus a mechanical advantage of 3:1, it has been calculated that a single man working the winch could raise 150 kg (3 pulleys x 50 kg = 150), assuming that 50 kg represent the maximum effort a man can exert over a longer time period.

It is a “body” that can be put to death. For the believer, this old self has been rendered powerless so that it can no longer enslave us to sin.

Yet, this does not mean we will not sin, it means that we no longer have the desire to sin.  We are sinful people at nature.

7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.

“Freed from sin” – set free from its shackles and power.

A Christian, someone that truly loves Jesus Christ, does not live by the law, but by faith (2 Cor 5:7; Gal 3) and therefore will not be condemned to hell even though they sin.

8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:

9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

“Reckon…yourselves” – the first step toward victory over sin.  We are dead to sin and alive in God and by faith we are to live in the light of this truth.

The second step is refusal to let sin reign in your life.  The third step is to offer yourself, your services to God.

12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

6:15-23 – the question raised here seems to come from those who are afraid that the doctrine of justification by faith alone will remove all moral restraint. 

A Roman street in Pompeii.
Roman roads were vital to the maintenance and development of the Roman state, and were built from about 500 B.C. through the expansion and consolidation of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire.
They provided efficient means for the overland movement of armies, officials and civilians, and the inland carriage of official communications and trade goods.

Paul rejects such a suggestion and shows that a Christian does not throw morality to the winds.  To the contrary, he exchanges sin for righteousness as his master.

16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

“Obeyed from the heart” – Christian obedience is not forced or legalistic, but willing.

This does not mean that if you sin you are not willing to stop, it means that if you sin your heart will ache in sorrow that you sinned against God. 

If you sin and you are not sorry about it then there is no obedience within you.

18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Technology

How did Romans heat their homes?

Rich Romans liked to be warm and cosy. They had central heating at home, in villas and in public baths.

Some remains of the Baths of Trajan

The heating system was kept going by slaves, who kept a fire blazing in a furnace to heat warm air.

The warm air moved around the building through spaces under the floors and between the walls.

The underfloor space was made by raising the floor on top of piles of tile or stone. The Roman heating system was called a hypocaust.

What are aqueducts?

Although they did not invent the arch, the Romans were the first people to build arches into big buildings and aqueducts.

An aqueduct was built to carry water. It was like a bridge, built on arches. On top was a stone channel to carry water.

The Romans used aqueducts to supply towns with water from springs, rivers or lakes. The aqueduct sloped downhill towards the town, because water will only flow downhill.

The Romans also used arches in buildings. They made very big buildings with arched roofs.

Baths of Caracalla, in 2003

These roofs did not need rows of pillars, or columns, to hold them up – like in a Greek temple.

A famous Roman building, the Pantheon in Rome, was the first big building with a dome.

Why didn’t the Romans need many machines?

The Romans were good at building roads and bridges, but not so keen on machines. They had slaves to do nasty jobs and heavy work.

The Roman crane, for example, didn’t have an engine. It was powered by slaves or animals.

The Romans invented war machines, like catapults, worked by twisted ropes and springs, and a reaping machine, for cutting corn.

But the Romans never needed machines to take the place of slaves.

Did Romans have smelly drains?

The Romans were keen on keeping clean. Towns and forts had underground drains to take away dirty water and sewage.

The drain pipes were flushed through with water from the baths, so they didn’t get too smelly.

Roman baths in Bath, England

From remains and writings found at Pompeii, in Italy, we know that most towns had plumbers, and also laundries where workers washed and ironed people’s clothes.

Fresh clean water and sewers are important. Without them, people risk catching diseases from drinking dirty water or from sewage left around streets and houses.

Fun Facts:

The Romans used cranes to lift heavy stones on building sites. Cranes were powered by men turning a treadmill or hauling on ropes

Roman builders discovered how to make cement that went hard under water – useful for building docks and harbours.

…Roman remains.