Have youever doubted yourself? I mean looked at yourself and asked, “Am I really deadto sin?” I was meditating on Romans 6 last week and began to realize a coupleof things. The first was a pattern that I saw in the chapter, and the secondwas that for a Christian this pattern all boils down to submission.
As far as the pattern goes, I wasstruggling with it until Watchman Nee helped me to clarify what I was seeing.The pattern is this: recognize that you are dead to sin in Christ, establish itas fact, and submit to God.
Our problem is that we don’t seethe reality of being dead to sin in our lives. We tell ourselves things like “Ijust need to crucify the old man” or “If I could just lay down the old man, Iwould get victory.” Is this truth?
6 For weknow that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might bedone away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone whohas died has been freed from sin. NIV
In the above verse, Paul tells usthat the “old man” was laid down at salvation. 2 Cor 5:17
17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, thenew has come! NIV
Here also wesee that what was before is gone. There is another verse that speaks to thisvery clearly: Gal 5:24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified thesinful nature with its passions and desires. NIV
Thetruth is we died to sin the moment we came to faith in Jesus Christ. That iswhat the Bible says. For us, it is not a matter of conquering our old life- wecan’t do it! No, for us it a question of faith in the finished work of JesusChrist! If we believe that he has saved us, then we must believe that this istrue. Why? Because the testimony of God’s Word is more true than our emotionsor experiences!
It’smore than that though. We must establish it as fact in our lives. Our Christianlife should rest in the fact that Jesus is our victory over sin! We don’t needvictory, we have it in Jesus! What we need is a greater revelation of Him inour lives!
The word“consider” or “reckon” used in Romans 6 is an accounting word in the Greek. Itmeans to put it down on record. We don’t do this by an act of the will, or featof the mind. No, it is done by faith. We must believe that we are dead to sin,not because our emotions tell us we are but because God’s Word has told us weare. Once we settle this fact, then we get to where the real struggle is.
For aChristian, sin is a choice. I know the crushing weight of temptation. You knowthe struggle of “I know I shouldn’t, but I feel like I have to”- the pull thatseems irresistible. It is resistible though. Resistance is found first in ourfaith in God’s Word. Rom 6:11 says, “In the same way, count yourselves dead tosin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
Ourbattle with temptation should begin in our faith not in our feelings. Feelingslie, manipulate, and fluctuate. God’s word stands firm and that is why we mustsettle this truth in our hearts by faith. We are dead to sin! You may not feeldead but you are.
Sinningfor a Christian is dangerous because it is a matter of submission. Before wecame to salvation we were captive to sin. Paul tells us we were sin’s slave.This means we sinned and never gave it a thought. We were bound to do itbecause we had no power to resist it.
However,now as a Christian this can no longer be the case. We must now choose whetherwe will obey sin and its passions or to obey God and His word! Again, it reallycomes down to submission, doesn’t it? Are you going to submit to sin or to God? That’sthe heart of it. God hasn’t failed us, nor has his Word failed us. We fail whenwe refuse to submit to God and His Word.
There isno doubt that sin and temptation does exist in the life of a Christian. However,as to the hopelessly bound person I was, he is dead. Now I live with a choice.Do I submit to God or the sinful passions at work within?
This isreally the heart of it for a Christian. We know that God always provides awayout so that we can stand up under temptation. We need to take our eyes off thetemptation and look for the door! Submission to God is the only way for aChristian to live. You can say you are saved all you want, but if you live alife in gross, habitual sin you’re not. A Christian should live to please His Savior,and not be bound in sin.