Romans 6:11. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
There is no progress in the Christian life without considering. That is, without faith in our union with Christ. We’ve already looked closely at the first step in the process of Christian transformation: Knowing. And we have looked at what the word consider means – to count, to reckon, to impute.
Remember the question that launched this whole discussion by Paul: “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” The answer is an emphatic NO. So how do we fight sin in our lives? First we KNOW then we CONSIDER. What exactly are we considering? What are we applying to our account by faith? Romans 6:11 tells us two things: our death to sin, and our life to God. Today, let’s look at our considering our death to sin.
As we’ve already said, we are considering a fact. Not a feeling. Not a promise of something in the future. Your death to sin is as real as Jesus’ death on the cross. It’s a fact that already happened. Considering doesn’t make us dead to sin, we already are dead to sin.
Also, as we’ve already said, the work of the cross of Christ on our part is not to be confused with the work of the blood of Christ on our part. The cross of Christ dealt with you as a sinner. It killed the sinner not the sin. The sin remains in your life. You know this because you still sin every day. The blood of Christ is what deals with the every day sins. The blood of Christ cleanses us from all those sins. The cross of Christ releases us from the sin nature, not from sin itself. IN THIS LIFE YOU EXPERIENCE COMPLETE DELIVERANCE FROM SIN, BUT NOT COMPLETE VICTORY OVER SIN. And that leaves us living by faith. It leaves us to consider ourselves dead to sin.
This means allowing the cross to do its work in our daily lives. 2 Corinthians is an actual case study in the principle of considering our death to sin. Here in Romans we get the theology behind it.
Considering yourself dead to sin is allowing the Holy Spirit to apply the cross to your life. Before we can experience the resurrection of alive to God, we must experience the crucifixion of dead to sin. This is the ministry of suffering and death. The Spirit can only crucify sin. He can’t change it, or correct it, or overlook it. Only death will do. This is his work in you.
I know you don’t want to hear this, but you NEED to hear it. We must resist jumping over the work of the cross to the work of the empty tomb. We must allow the cross to do its deathly work.
And this work is accomplished through suffering. The Spirit is not crucifying the old self, that has already happened. But it is upon that reality that he is crucifying the flesh and its deeds. How is this happening? Primarily through the ministry of suffering. WE CANNOT EXPERIENCE THE WORK OF THE CROSS WITHOUT THE SUFFERING THAT PRECEDES IT.
Think about all the ways you are suffering today. Suffering from sin and selfishness. Suffering from trials. Suffering for righteousness. Is this all meaningless? Of course not! It’s purpose is to transform you into the likeness of Christ (Rom. 8:28-29). Your suffering is working the death of the cross in your life. How? By exposing the areas of doubt, lust, greed, selfishness, self-righteousness, and moralism. Suffering exposes the places in your heart where your life force is ruled by something other than Christ’s love. It exposes the places where we rely on others or situations or stuff to bring the love and acceptance that only Jesus can offer. Christ saved you so that he might be your life, not just your savior. Once suffering exposes these heart sins, you can consider your death to sin. You can count those sins as worthy of death. You can hang them up next to the old self. You can put your sins into the past tense where they belong, on the cross.
“To live is Christ” is not a sinless existence. It is not freedom from suffering. Quite the opposite. It is suffering unto glory. But glory by way of the crucifixion of the flesh on the cross. Considering yourself dead to sin is the agency of this crucifixion.
What part of your self life needs to be put on a cross today? How can considering (imputing) your death to sin allow you to put sin to death today?