Romans 6:11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
I have no idea how Romans 6 got so out of sequence in the readings, but perhaps God allowed it to focus special attention on it. The last verse in the chapter is justly famous, and is used as part of the “Roman Road” technique of evangelism, but the chapter as a whole is ignored by a huge percentage of Christians today. The devil would like to blot it out of the Bible! The last thing the devil wants is for us to be free from sin, and that is the whole focus of the chapter. Today we set aside whole categories of sin as “non-sinful,” saying we’re “born that way.” Yes, we’re born rebellious, but God has an answer: death. The heart of the Gospel is that Jesus took that death on Himself so that we could live in Him. It is vitally important, which is why the devil tries so hard to twist it, mask it, or do anything at all to keep us from living in it. It has been said that our salvation has three tenses, past, present, and future. Those who believe in Jesus and make Him their Lord have been saved from the penalty for their sin (past), they are being saved from the power of sin (present), and they will be saved from the presence of sin (future). Because we are material beings we are in the flow of time, but we are also spiritual, which is outside of time. The key to victory in the flow of time is to live in the Spirit, as Paul discusses in Romans 8:1-17. All of that brings us back to this verse. When sin raises its head, we need to say, “I’m dead to that,” and just walk away. We aren’t very good at that. However, tripping up, even falling flat on your face, doesn’t mean you’ve lost your salvation. We’ve got to remember 1 John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” When we sin, we not only need to repent, we need to recognize that we have acted unnaturally, and seek to walk in our new nature in Christ.
As I was writing that an interesting analogy came to mind. Horror movies love the theme of zombies, and “zombie apocalypse” is a popular topic in some circles. I am dead to sin, but “Zombie Jack” makes trouble now and then. I am to pay him no mind, but remember that zombies are first of all unnatural, and second, they move slowly and tend to fall apart! Of course, that doesn’t mean that I am to take sin lightly, and am certainly never to excuse it. It seems I am forever teaching on the difference between forgiveness and permission. Sin is never OK, but God’s got it covered by the blood of Jesus. I know from my own experience that when I really get it through my head and heart that I am truly forgiven for and cleansed from something, that sin loses its power over me. That’s what it is to count myself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ, and I have the privilege of sharing that truth with others.
Father, thank You for this powerful reminder. I pray that I would indeed be effective in sharing this truth with others, so that the works of the devil may be destroyed (1 John 3:8, 2 Corinthians 10:4) and people be set free to walk in all that You have provided for us in Christ, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!