“How can we who have died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:2)
Ask just about any believer if it is possible NOT to sin… and you will get a lot of blank, confused looks… or some evasive stammering.
That’s because we are just not quite certain that it IS possible to live our lives without sinning. It’s one of those things that seems too good to be true – that seems too other-worldly to have any earthly application.
So we concede: “Yes. Someday we will live without sinning… It’s called heaven.”
But this is not what the Bible teaches. I know that sounds strange. But really look at what the apostle is teaching us in Romans 6 (and 7 and 8)… He is inspired (by our God) to tell us something (in rhetorical form) that seems impossible to us.
He begins Romans 6 by asking… “Are we to continue in sin that grace may increase?” And he answers his own question with an exclamation point… “May it never be!” (i.e. “No way!.. Not on your life!.. etc.”) The apostle is clearly teaching us of our complete victory over the power of sin in our lives – for every day of our lives. And He continues through the next three chapters to explain how and why.
It is the miracle of God’s provision. It is the all-inclusive handiwork of our Redeemer. It stretches not just to the point of making it possible to be completely reunited with our Creator – but it takes us into every day of our lives afterwards.
It is grace to cover our sins. Grace to forgive us. But also grace to enable us and empower us to be something we never considered possible… JUST LIKE Jesus.
We normally think of Christlikeness as being kind or considerate or loving (as Jesus was) – but we seldom think of Christilikeness in terms of His life lived wholly in the will and purposes of God… free from the power and debilitating chains of sin.
We need to understand that being Christlike is being CHRISTLIKE in every aspect of what that means. Not just in the ways we find easier… or less demanding.
“Just like Jesus” means… just like Jesus “who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
The whole purpose of why Jesus came was to enable every person who receives what He did (and turns their lives over to Him) to be just as He is – in every respect. It is why Christians are called… Christians (i.e. carbon copies of Christ!).
The message of the gospel is that what you were (in all your weakness, frailty, and failure) has died “with Christ” – and a new you has emerged from the grave.
That person is fully God’s. Fully forgiven. Fully empowered. Fully enabled to be just like Jesus in every aspect… from moment one.
That’s not my opinion or my interpretation… that is what the apostle is telling us.
Which is why he gives us the key to walking in the fullness of what Jesus has done for us… “you must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:11)
IF we are dead to sin how is it possible to keep on sinning (see Romans 6:2)?
The answer is… it isn’t. Dead men don’t sin. (Dead women don’t sin either!)
But the key is not to amp up our efforts at not sinning – the answer is to get our mindset right. Really think about what Jesus has done. Really think about what occurred to US because of what Jesus has done (Rom. 6:3-11). And stop thinking according to our old patterns (i.e. MY efforts at being “good”)… and “settle the matter forever” based on the work of Jesus – to enable us to BE just like Jesus.
True faith is accepting no more and no less than what God has done for us.
And in Christ, we have died to sin so that we might live for God every moment of every day of our lives…