Summary: Believing it possible that through Christ we may live in the required manner, that we may avoid sin--desist from sinning--give it up and abandon it altogether, and put it forever away.
Death to sin through Christ
Romans 6: 10-23
Pastor Wayne Tindale
The connection of this passage will help us to understand its meaning. Near the close of the previous chapter Paul had said," The law entered that the offence might abound; but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound, that sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord." He speaks of sin as a reigning principle and grace also. In chapter 6, He said, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive unto God through Jesus.
See here that Paul is speaking of the old man, as being crucified with Christ, so destroyed by the moral power of the Cross that he who was once a sinner shall no longer serve sin. When he speaks of being buried with Christ ,he is only implying that the soul is being separated from sin. As Christ died for sin, so by a general analogy we die to sin: while on the other hand, as He rose to a new and glorious life, so the convert rises to a new and blessed life of purity and holiness.
Lets pay attention to our text and allow me to say. The language of our translation would seem to announce that our death to sin is precisely the same as Christ’s death for sin; but this is not the case. We are dead to sin in the sense that is no longer to be our master, implying that it has been in power over us. But sin never was in power over Jesus--never was his Master. Christ died to abolish its power over us--not to abolish any power of sin over Himself, for it had none. The analogy between Christ’s death in relation to sin and our dying to sin, goes to this extent and no father; He died for the sake of making an atonement for sin and of creating a moral power that should be effective to kill the love of sin in all hearts; but the Christian dies unto sin in the same sense of being divorced from all sympathy with sin and emancipated from its control.
Looking at the text itself, lets us proceed. What it is to be dead unto sin in the sense of the text.
Being dead to sin must obviously be the opposite of being dead in sin. The latter must undeniably be a state of entire sinfulness--a state in which the soul is dead to all good through the power of sin over it. But right over against this, to be dead to sin, must be to be indifferent to its attractions--beyond the reach of its influence--as fully removed from its influences as the dead are from the objects of sense in this world. As he who is dead to sin has nothing to do any more with sin’s attraction or with sinning itself.
What is it to be alive unto God?
To be full of life for Him--to be altogether active and on the alert to do his will; to make our whole lives a perpetual offering to Him constantly delivering up ourselves to Him and His service that we may glorify His name and sub serve His interests.
What is it to reckon ourselves dead indeed unto Him?
The word rendered reckon is sometimes rendered account. Abraham’s faith was accounted unto him for righteousness. So in this passage, reckon must mean believe, esteem yourselves dead indeed unto sin. Account this to be the case. Regard this as truly your relation to sin; you are entirely dead to it; it shall have no more dominion over you.
A careful examination of the passage where this original word is used will show that this is its usual and natural sense. And this gives us the true idea of Gospel faith--embracing personally the salvation which is by faith in Jesus Christ.
What is meant by reckoning yourselves alive indeed unto God through Jesus Christ?
Plainly this: that you are to be saved by Jesus Christ and to calculate on this salvation as your own. You are to esteem yourself as wholly dead to sin and as consequently brought into life and peace in Christ Jesus.
What is implied in the exhortation of our text?
That there is an adequate provision for this expectation, and for realizing these blessings in fact. For if there were no ground for realization, the injunction would be most absurd. A precept requiring us to count ourselves dead indeed unto sin and alive unto God, would be utterly untenable if there were no probability of the thing-- if no provision were made for our coming into such relations to sin on the one hand and to God through Christ on the other. For if these blessings could not be reasonably expected, there could be no rational ground for the expectation. If it were not reasonable to expect it, then to enjoin us to expect it would be perceptibly unreasonable. Who does not see that the very injunction implies that there is a foundation laid and adequate provision made for the state required.