Romans Part Three: Dive
DEAD TO SIN, ALIVE IN CHRIST: INSTRUMENTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
There is an elephant in the room in the book of Romans, so rather than ignoring it we are going to tackle it head on. It’s not a topic that people like talking about, but you know us here at TYB we like to tackle the hard topics so that we can walk in freedom. The topic I am talking about is sin.
Romans 6 addresses the concept of being “Dead to Sin, Alive to Christ”. When we look at Romans in my NT Survey class after reading Romans 6 in full, I ask the students “Do you feel dead to sin?” Most answer the same way, “No I really don’t, sometimes I feel like sin is alive and thriving in me.” One student said “Only when I’m asleep!” When we are all honest, we all battle with sin on a daily basis. I love the Tweety Bird cartoon, that says “Dear Lord, So far today I am doing alright, I haven’t gossipped, lost my temper, been greedy, cursed, been nasty or selfish.. But I will be getting out of bed in a minute and I think that I will really need your help then!
There are no levels in sin, sin is sin, lying and gossip are the same as adultery and murder. The problem today is that we live in a world that condones behaviour that our Bible says is sin. I heard someone say once, that pornography isn’t a sin as it is part of our society today, it is a normal and accepted part of our society. Here are some quotes on sin I pulled from the web:
Sinning is the best part of repentance
There is no sin except stupidity
Sin is whatever obscures the soul
As Christians we have to remember that culture does not determine what is sin, the Bible and the holiness of God determine in our lives what is sin. So, as you read Romans Paul addresses this concept of being Dead to sin and Alive to Christ.
The trick with my question to my class was this, at times in our lives we don’t feel like we are dead to sin, but we can’t live by feelings we live by the declarations and truth of what Jesus did on the cross for us. We live by the truths declared over us in the Word of God.
R 6:6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
The Bible says that in Jesus Christ I have died to sin and I am raised in the power of the Holy Spirit to live a life in victory, that is my reality. My feelings do not determine my reality, my feelings need to come into alignment with the truth of the Word. So, if I don’t feel dead to sin, I need to remind myself that I am dead to sin. It’s about believing the truth over our emotions, circumstances, desires and feelings. I have been transferred from one master to another, sin is not master over me, I am mastered by righteousness leading to holiness (Romans 6:19). Let’s check out Chapter 6 in the Message version.
R 6:1-3 So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope not! If we’ve left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn’t yourealize we packed up and left there for good? That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land.
The best part about this truth is it keeps going, this is a journey! So firstly we need to understand that we are dead to sin - no longer slaves to sin, but wait there is more, then we need to understand that we are now alive in Christ.
R 6:8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we also live with him.
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Paul tells us in Romans that we are no longer slaves to sin because sin was done away with, we are now alive to God in Christ Jesus. Notice here what we are dead to and what we are alive to…
You are dead to sin and its mastery over your life, that is the truth. Some of you today need to stand on the truth of the Word and know that sin does not have mastery over you, when you were saved you transferred to a different master and now you are alive to Christ. Know that you are dead to sin, remind Satan when he tries to convince you that you are never going to overcome that addiction or that anger issue or that habit you just can’t break, you need to remind him right back that you are not a slave to sin but you are alive to Christ.
Some of us are so focused on overcoming sin in our lives that we have all our attention on the sin, the issue, the problem rather than the answer. What you focus on will fill your heart. When I was young I was really aggressive, I had a very bad temper. Actually, I was so bad tempered I would bite other children – my poor parents had to teach me to bite my hand to overcome my want to bite people that were annoying me. How bad is that! It is a joke in our family, that little Katie was known for saying “I bite” and biting my hand to stop me from biting people. My parents must have hated taking me to parties!
As a teenager, I was aware that this was something I had to overcome, biting people at parties is no longer acceptable. But seriously, this anger problem was going to destroy my life if I allowed it to control me, so I used to count to 10 and breath when I got angry. Then I got saved, water baptised and filled with the Holy Spirit and I desperately wanted to be set free from my anger, I tried my hardest to overcome it but the more I focused on it, the more I failed at trying to beat it, I was like that student I felt like the only time my anger didn’t have mastery over me was when I was asleep! Then I realised that I was focusing on the problem rather than the answer and the victory that I had. I realised that this did not have mastery over me, I was dead to sin, all I had to do was focus on being alive in Christ, to live in Him, focus on Him, living life in His righteousness and God would set me free. I had to focus on Him not on my issue. So I spent time in prayer, living my life for Him, and when the anger would rise up I would worship, literally, praise God until it subsided. Dead to sin, alive in Christ. God doesn’t send you into this fight alone, remember we do nothing without the power of the Holy Spirit, greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4), and the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead lives you (Romans 6:10-11).
Now Paul keeps going with this in Romans, it’s a journey with one more instalment. We are dead to sin, alive in Christ to be an instrument of righteousness.
He doesn’t just declare that you are dead to sin, he doesn’t just declare that you are alive in Christ, God wants to use you as an instrument of his righteousness.
R 6:12-13 Therefore (what is that therefore – this is reminding you that because you are dead tosin, because your old self wascrucified in him, because you are no longer a slave to sin) do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.
Did you see how many times Paul says offer - offer yourselves to God, offer every part to him! Offer means to let go, to submit, to give up, to present your whole life to God.
I love this, the Christian life is a journey, we get saved, have areas of our lives that God calls us to die to the slavery of sin in, when we activate the power of God in our lives and crucify that desire we are raised in the power of the Holy Spirit to be alive in Christ, and then we in turn offer ourselves to him as an instrument of righteousness.
What does an Instrument of righteousness mean? It means we are called to be Gods utensil, his vessel that takes his righteousness to this world, used by God for his glory. As we overcome sin in our lives God uses us for his glory. God’s righteousness, is his holiness, his justice, his mercy, his integrity, his uprightness, his faithfulness to his covenant agreement. We get to be a vessel filled with the holiness, justice, integrity, uprightness of God and take that into our workplaces, our families, our businesses and our worlds.
So today, if you are battling with anything in your life that you feel has mastery over you, submit it to God, repent, allow the power of the Holy Spirit in your life to set you free and let God resurrect you in the power of the Holy Spirit, let him change and mould you so that you will be an instrument of righteousness that brings glory to God in every area of your life.
The first step is let the light of God into that dark area of your life and let him flood your life with hope and holiness. Don’t hide it from God, offer every part of yourself to him, God is faithful and he will help you overcome everything. You are more than a conqueror through him who loved us.
As you read Romans remember nothing can separate you from the love of God. Nothing! Your sin does not separate you from his love, nothing does, so don’t run from Him or hide from Him, he adores you and wants to walk you through every area of your life. Walk with him into victory so that you can live in freedom and grace in Him and be a vessel that is filled with his righteousness and holiness. Live a life dead to sin, alive in Christ as an instrument of His righteousness!