The first response might be something like, “If I died to sin, why do I still have trouble with it?” Bridges says there is a different between “putting sin to death (Romans 8:13),” which he will discuss in chapter 11, and having died to sin.
This chapter studies Romans 6:1-14, but to fully understand that, we have to back up to Romans 5, where we learn that “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” In Adam as our representative head, we all sinned, but “our old man is crucified with [Jesus], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:6). It doesn’t say we won’t sin any more, because the next few verses instruct us not to yield to sin. But sin’s dominion over us has been broken. We’re able to resist it, through Christ. In Erwin Lutzer’s book How To Say No to a Stubborn Habit, he likened it to moving from one house to another, and having the old landlord come knocking on the door asking for our rent payment: we don’t owe him any more, and we don’t have to pay him.
Some have the reaction that, if we died to sin in Christ, if He paid for all of it, then we can relax and do whatever we want. Paul’s response in Romans 6:1-2: “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Because in Him we died to sin, and now we’re united to Christ, such a thing is impossible.
Another resulting thought might be “‘Why…if we died to the reign of sin, do we need to be exhorted not to let sin reign in our bodies?’ Basically Paul was saying…’Live out your lives in the reality of the gospel. Take advantage of and put to use all the provisions of grace God has given to you in Christ’” (p. 75). A former pastor used to say of Philippians 2:12b, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” that that meant not to work for salvation (numerous other verses tell us it is by grace through faith, not out own efforts), but to work it out, like a math problem, to its logical conclusions: take those high and lofty principles and ideals and truths and work them out into your everyday life.
“The gospel is far more than ‘fire insurance’ from eternal punishment in hell. We will learn that through Christ’s death on the cross, we are given the ability to live lives that are both pleasing to God and fulfilling for ourselves” (p. 62).
In many ways, this is the most difficult chapter in the book so far, and these chapters and concepts in Scripture are difficult as well. I’m just scratching the surface here. They are not really hard to follow, exactly, but they do take concentration. But it is definitely worth the effort.
More discussion on this chapter is here.