Summary: A problem for a lot of people who name the name of Jesus as Christians is there hasn’t been a lot of growth in their Christian life. A lot of Christians don’t grow much beyond that point of conversion. There is no growth in grace, as the Bible calls it.
I’m too young to remember this, but I am told there used to be a television show in black and white entitled, “Wanted, Dead or Alive,” starring Steve McQueen. My wife says she remembers that show, but I don’t. It refers back to an old tradition among bounty hunters in the wild west that when a criminal was “wanted,” sometimes the same reward was paid whether they were dead or alive. The truth is that God wants you, and he wants you dead, and he wants you alive. I’m not talking about waiting until you go to a cemetery. The passage of scripture we are going to be examining today talks about how we must experience a death to self, and be alive in Christ Jesus.
Please look with me in Romans 6:8. This is the continuation of the discussion Paul started talking about our death to self, baptism as burial, and resurrection. In verse 8, he writes,
“Now, if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again. Death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all, but the life that he lived” and this is a constant idea “he lives to God. In the same way,” verse 11 says, “count yourselves dead to sin” if you have a King James Bible, it says, “reckon yourselves dead to sin” “but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Now, there you have it. dead and alive you are dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ. Look at verse 12. “Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you may obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”
A problem for a lot of people who name the name of Jesus as Christians is there hasn’t been a lot of growth in their Christian life. If I could have a timeline up here, there would be a point in time when you were B.C. (Before Christ) but then there was a point of conversion where you passed from death unto life. The problem a lot of Christians have is they don’t grow much beyond that point. There is no growth in grace, as the Bible calls it. They stay to close to the point of conversion. It’s like the little boy I heard about who went to bed. After he had only been asleep a few moments, he fell out of bed. His mother heard him crying, and she came in and picked him up and put him back in bed. She said, “Honey, why did you fall out of bed?” He said, “Well, I guess I stayed to close to where I got in.” The problem with a lot of Christians is you are staying too close to where you first got into the Christian life, and you are not moving on and growing. Now, all of this material here in Romans, 6, is about how you can live a victorious Christian life.
1. A healthy Christian must constantly confess, “I am dead to sin (and self)!”
Today, I’d like to extract from this passage of scripture six confessions. There are six things you must understand and acknowledge constantly in the Christian life if you are going to grow; if you want to get beyond the place where you entered the Christian life. Here is affirmation confession number one: A healthy Christian must constantly confess, “I am dead. I am dead to sin; that means also that I am dead to self.” That’s something you must acknowledge. I like what it says in verse 11, “Count yourselves dead.” The King James version says, “reckon” isn’t that a good Texan word? You can ask someone if they’re doing okay, and they’ll say, “Reckon so.” In Texan that means “maybe,” “perhaps,” “possibly.” That’s not what that word means here. It doesn’t mean “possibly” or “perhaps.” It is an accounting word, logizomai where we get our word, “logic.”. It means to compute, to calculate, to consider, to estimate, to esteem something to be true. What that means is day after day, moment after moment you must keep acknowledging, “I’m dead to sin.” “I’m dead to sin.”
Somebody says, “Well if sin is dead in my life, I wish it would just lie down because it sure is giving me a lot of trouble.” As I have discussed before, some people say, “once a Christian is sanctified, they will never sin again” I don’t think it teaches that. For a Christian, as John Stott has said, “Sin is inevitable, but it is never necessary.” It is never something you say, “I have to do it.” Let me remind you again between sin in the life of a person who is an unbeliever and sin in the life of a Christian: A person who is an unbeliever can run towards sin, and sin all they want to and really enjoy it. But, a true born again, redeemed Christian does not run after sin. They run from sin, and they can never, never enjoy it. Why? Because they have a new nature within them, the nature of Jesus Christ. So, the first thing you have to admit is you are dead!