Romans 6:11. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Yesterday we began our look at what we are calling one of the most important statements concerning our union with Christ in the scripture – Romans 6:11. We said that before we can consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God, we must first know that we are dead to sin. That our old self was crucified with Christ. That Christ died once to sin and so did we. There is no considering without first knowing.
Truly knowing (believing) that you are dead to sin can take years for many if not all Christians. Often it is a part of our faith that is “on again, off again.” We are going to forge ahead in our discussion of considering today, but I must emphasize that if you do not believe that you died to sin, then any attempt to consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God will just lead to frustration and doubts. Knowing and considering truly are steps in a process.
What does it mean to consider?
This is not a new word for Paul. He has already used it several times in this letter. Legizomai. To count. To reckon. To count one thing as another.
This word was used 11 times in Romans 4. We called it imputation. God does not legizomai (count) our sins against us, and instead he legizomai (counts) Christ’s righteousness for us. It is both a legal word and an accounting word. Paul uses it in a legal way in Romans. The judge has not counted us as guilty, and instead counts us as not guilty.
Now, here in Romans 6:11, we are the ones doing the legizomai. We count or consider ourselves dead and alive. Crucified and raised. On what basis? In Christ.
How is considering different from knowing?
Considering is the outflow of knowing. If I truly believe and am trusting in my death to sin, I will live each day in a state of considering, counting, and reckoning myself as a new thing. Considering takes our new identity from the spirit to the soul. From trusting in the reality of my union with Christ’s death to applying that reality to the actual thinking, feeling, and choosing that I do each day. It is belief turned into attitude.
Considering is the next part of faith. Knowing is the first part, but without considering faith will die. It will be meaningless. Because considering is faith, it will always go against “sight.” It will be in contrast to your feelings and your actual experiences. What I mean is you will spend the day sinning and yet you are called to consider yourself dead to the power of sin. Only faith can do this.
Remember considering is imputation. Imputation is God calling you something that you really aren’t. He imputes righteousness to you. He calls you righteous even though you still sin. But it is in the imputation that you truly are righteous. It is not a fiction. Not a lie told by God to make you feel better about yourself. You are not righteous, yet he calls you righteous (imputation), and this makes you righteous. How? Because God’s word creates a new spirit inside of you. Now your spirit is truly as righteous as Christ. But your body and brain remain unrighteous – a corrupted tent. The result is that your soul, as the by-product of your spirit and body, becomes the battleground between the flesh and Spirit (Gal. 5).
How is this battle fought? By considering. Legizomai. Counting yourself as something that God says you are, even when your experience says you’re not. “To live is Christ” is to consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God.
Is this idea of considering yourself dead to sin and alive to God a new concept for you? Would you say you spend your day considering your identity in Christ? How does your union with Christ allow you to see yourself differently?