Summary: In order to live as ones “Dead to Sin and Alive to God” we must: 1) Know, 2) Consider, and 3) Yield to the truth of God.
This week, Prince Philip, 96, the longest-serving royal consort in history, undertook his final solo public engagement. It was 70 years since he became Duke of Edinburgh upon his marriage to Princess Elizabeth in November 1947. His stepping down from duties continues to raise the question as to who will succeed his wife, Queen Elizabeth, and rule as monarch.
As believers are we are commanded to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus, and therefore let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body. At conversion, a believer becomes fully alive spiritually when they trust in Christ as Savior and Lord. But they are still bound, as it were, in some of the grave clothes of their old sinful life. The difference, of course, is that all of a believer’s sinful old clothes do not come off immediately. Not only that, but believers are continually tempted to put the old clothes back on. It is that continuing battle with sin and Satan that Paul recognizes in Romans 6:11–14. After reminding his readers that they have died to sin and been raised to new life with Christ, the apostle now turns their attention to taking off the old grave clothes and living the new life to the fullness of Christ’s righteousness and to His glory. To become a Christian, Paul asserts, means to be released from the old regime, dominated by Adam (5:12–21), sin (ch. 6), the law (ch. 7) and death (ch. 8) and to be introduced into the new regime, dominated by Christ (5:12–21; 7:1–6), righteousness (ch. 6), the Spirit (7:6; 8), grace (6:14–15) and life (5:12–21; 6:4; 8:1–13) (Moo, D. J. (1994). Romans. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 1135). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.).
In Romans 6:11-14, Paul again answers questions he knew his readers would wonder about: “If we have really been freed from sin by Christ (v. 7), why does it still give us so much trouble? If we are now holy before God, why are our lives so often unholy? If we are righteous, how can our lives better manifest that righteousness?” Three key words summarize the answers to these questions: 1) Know, 2) Consider, and 3) Yield.
In order to live as ones “Dead to Sin and Alive to God” we must:
1) Know (Romans 6:11a) and fully believe the truth of God
Romans 6:11a 11 So you also must (consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.) (ESV)
The first key word (know) has to do with the mind and is implied in the transitional phrase “So”. It refers back to the truths the Apostle Paul has just given in Romans 6:1-10. You also, the hearers and readers, must know and fully believe what I have just said, or else what I am about to say will make no sense. The truth is that you, as the redeemed, are spiritually dead to sin, and the reality that you are spiritually alive to Christ. This are divinely-revealed, foundational axioms behind Christian living, apart from which you can never hope to live the holy lives your new Lord demands.” Scriptural exhortation is always built on spiritual knowledge. Although God would have been perfectly justified simply to have given people a list of unexplained do’s and don’ts, in His grace and compassion He did not choose to be autocratic. The basic reason He reveals as to why people are to live according to His standards was summarized in His declaration to ancient Israel: “Be holy; for I am holy” (Lev. 11:44. Cf. 1 Pt. 1:15-16). Scripture is replete with specific commands and standards for conduct, and behind all of them are divine truths, explicit or implicit, upon which those commands and standards are founded.
Please turn to Colossians 3 (p.983)
For a Christian to live out the fullness of his new life in Christ, for them to truly live as the new creation that they are, the believer must know and believe that they are not what they used to be. They must must understand that they are not a remodeled sinner but a remade saint. They must understand that, despite our present conflict with sin, we are no longer under sin’s tyranny and will never be again. The link for greater knowledge, purer thought and action is not optional, but “must” occur. It is commanded and necessary. Putting away those sins that plague us will be no automatic process, something that will happen without our cooperation. No, Paul insists, a determination of our own will is called for to turn what has happened in principle into actuality (Moo, D. J. (2000). Romans (p. 200). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.).