Everything in the Christian life depends upon what Christ has done for us on the cross, and what He continues to do in and through us as He lives His life in us. Not only has He died for us, but also through a mystical union of the believer with Him we are “in Christ,” and He is “in you.”
The most important principle of sanctification is counting as true what God Himself has already done for us. We are to count as true what is, according to God’s Word, true.
The key to our progressive sanctification is in knowing that God has taken us out of Adam and has joined us to Jesus Christ. We are no longer subject to the reign of sin and death, but are now transferred to the kingdom of God.
The apostle Paul says our responsibility is to “consider [reckon] yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11). He uses an accounting term in the imperative tense. Be constantly counting upon the fact that you are dead to sin, but also alive to God in Christ Jesus.
The word translated "reckon" or "consider" is a key word in the apostle Paul's teaching on sanctification. He calls upon us to "count, reckon, impute" on certain facts. It is an accounting word that means to take into account, to calculate, to estimate. We are to impute or "to put to one's account" certain facts. The idea "to reckon" means "to put to one’s account." It simply means to believe that what God says in His Word is really true in your life.
Paul is admonishing the believer in Christ to recognize something that is already an accomplished fact. Consider, and keep constantly before you, this truth about who you are in Christ. We are commanded to reckon as facts who we are in our relationship with Christ.
How tragic that most Christians do not know who they are in Christ. They have no idea about their vital union in Christ.
They are to "count themselves "dead in reference to "sin but alive to God." When did you die? When you put your faith in Christ and were born again. Since they are dead to its power (Rom. 6:2), they ought to recognize that fact and not continue in sin. Instead they are to realize they have new "life in Christ," and they share His resurrection life (Eph. 2:5-6; Col. 2:12-13).
Our sins have been reckoned to Christ and punished in His death on the cross. This is a fact that cannot be changed. His righteousness has been credited to our account. This happened the moment we put our faith in Christ as our Savior. Jesus actually died for our sins as our substitute. He suffered our transgressions (Isa. 53:5-6). “The wages of sin is death,” and Christ paid that debt in full. That is a fact to be reckoned upon ever day of our lives. It is our responsibility to count upon this fact and apply it to our daily lives.
Moreover, He not only died for our sins, but God has credited the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ to our accounting ledger. His right standing in the Father’s sight has been transferred to our account, and God now accounts us righteous in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).
The critical point is that the born again Christian count as true this great fact as God sees it. It is a completed transaction. God has acquitted us forever. We must reckon as true what God has already done for us.
We are no longer subject to the reign of sin and death. We are now under the power of the kingdom of God and His rule by grace.
The apostle Paul did not tell us to feel a certain way, but to act on God's Word and claim these truths for ourselves. When we count on these facts they result in actions and changes in our behaviors. We act by faith on what we know to be the truth. The result is a behavioral change.
Remember, Paul is using an accounting term. If I give my employees a check and say there is money in the bank to cover your check I expect them to go to the bank and cash their checks and collect their money. If they do not they are not reckoning or counting on the money being theirs in the bank. Reckoning is acting on the fact that the money is there.
In these Scriptures God does not command us to become dead to sin. He tells us that we are already dead to sin and alive unto God. He commands us to act on this great truth. These facts are still true even if we do not act on them. That is the tragedy in many believer's lives. They do not act on the truths about their relationship with Christ.
“We are dead to sin” does not mean we are immune to sin. It does not mean that sin as a force in me is dead. Sin is a force in me, even though its effective power over the believer has been broken. We no longer have to be slaves of sin (Romans 6:6). Sin does not have to dominate our bodies. We do not have to yield to it. We now have a new power within and available to us at all times. We are to learn to think of ourselves as individuals who have been delivered from the power of sin. It does not have to rule over us. There is a sense in which we can be as holy as we want to be.
Sin has not been eradicated from the believer, but we are freed from the bondage of sin. We were slaves whose bondage has been broken. We were slaves to our sinful nature, who have now become new creatures in Christ. We are to count upon the fact that we are dead to sin, and alive to God in Jesus Christ.
Sin is not dead in Christians. It is something that we have to deal with daily because we are sinners. We do face temptation daily, but we do not have to yield to it. Its power has been broken.
Sin has its hold on the believer through our bodies. Sin dwells within. The new man in Christ is dead to sin meaning that the hold is on my body. I now have a choice as to whether I will use my body to serve sin or God. Sin cannot dominate or destroy what I have become in Christ. I can yield to sin, but the new person will abhor sin and long for righteousness. This is why Paul admonishes the Christian, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts” (Rom. 6:12).
We often do sin; therefore, Paul exhorts us to not yield our bodies to sin because we do not have to. We have other options. We are pressing forward to new goals because we no longer are satisfied by what the body of sin offers (Phil. 3:12-14; 2 Cor. 5:17-18). The sharing in this resurrection life of Christ begins at the moment of regeneration, but it will continue as a believer shares eternity with the Lord. Resurrection life is eternal in quality and everlasting in duration.
“Do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Rom. 6:13). Sin does not have to be master over the true Christian. “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (v. 14).
A life of holiness begins with a change in the way we think about what Christ did for us. “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Then we must always act on what we know to be the truth.
Link To Devotional
Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.
Unless otherwise noted "Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE" © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (http://www.Lockman.org)
Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/ All rights reserved.
Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries from 1972-2005. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Ecuador.
Bible word studies for sermon preparation, messages, devotions and personal Bible studies with abiding principles and practical applications.
If you need help in becoming a Christian here is A Free Gift for You